Art Institutions and Race in the Atlantic World, 1750–1850

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The Courtauld Institute of Art

Vernon Square

Penton Rise, Kings Cross

London

WC1X 9EW

United Kingdom

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The long eighteenth century gave rise to a host of art institutions throughout the Atlantic world, including the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City, and the Academia Imperial de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro. Vibrant markets for paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, and prints developed alongside and beyond these established institutions, creating networks of cross-cultural exchange that mirrored the economic ties among Great Britain, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas during this period. These cultural developments were inextricably linked with the profits and the cultural logics of colonialism and slavery. Building on important recent work on the visual culture of slavery and abolition, this conference examines the reciprocal relationship between the fine arts and racial ideologies during the apogee and decline of the transatlantic slave trade. The talks will consider sites of artistic production from throughout the Atlantic world, including Brazil, Britain, Jamaica, Massachusetts, and Mexico, and cover a wide variety of topics, including museum collections, artists’ models, the hierarchy of genres, print culture, and exhibitions of images and human beings. In sum, this two-day gathering examines how theories of race informed the production, circulation, collection, and display of art, and how those processes in turn solidified and promulgated understandings of race.

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The Courtauld Institute of Art

Vernon Square

Penton Rise, Kings Cross

London

WC1X 9EW

United Kingdom

View Map

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