The Open Arts Journal warmly invites you to join us for a research seminar and reception to celebrate the publication of its fourth issue. We are delighted to welcome Professor Helen Hills, University of York, to speak on the topic, Silver & Salvation: Colonial Excess and Baroque Naples.
We look forward to welcoming you on 2 March from 6pm at The Open University in London for this exciting event!
With good wishes
Alice E. Sanger,
Deputy Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Silver & Salvation: Colonial Excess and Baroque Naples
This paper examines the materiality of silver in relation to trauma, transaction and transformation. It focuses on Naples, under Spanish rule, to explore the effects of colonialism within Europe through art and sculpture. Thus the paper considers the presentation of ‘the nature of the Neapolitans’ and their practices as ‘excessive’ through the material of silver. Silver was imported into Naples from Spanish territories in the so-called New World. In Naples silver is naturalized through artifice – both rendered to represent ‘nature’ and made into an apparently intrinsic part of ‘Neapolitan culture’. Indeed, the profligate display of silver in Neapolitan churches is remarked upon by foreign visitors as a mark of the very ‘nature’ of Neapolitans' themselves.
Silver seemed to offer the imperial Spanish what they most desired – a means to substantialize every relation, even with the divine. And it was in Naples above all, emblem and testing ground of Spanish rule in Europe, that silver was beaten into splendid submission. Scholarship has made much of colonialism and its relationship with culture outside of Europe. But what of colonialism within Europe? Silver offers an opening.
Helen Hills is Professor of Art History at the University of York.