Since Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast, all of us at the O’Donnell Institute have been following news from our colleagues and sister institutions in Houston. The Art Newspaper and Glasstire are posting updates on the museums, universities, and other cultural centers weathering the storm. We continue to keep all those affected by the hurricane in our thoughts even as we begin the new academic year in (thankfully) dry Dallas.
Among the many programs and projects that will take shape over the coming year, I am particularly excited about the symposium that we are mounting in October at the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples. The symposium will draw together over 40 distinguished Neapolitanists from the United States, Europe, Italy, and the most important universities in Naples for three days of gallery talks and site visits that will set the Capodimonte’s collections and surrounding bosco in a global context.
Presentations on topics including the exchange of artworks and botanical specimens between Naples and China, the circulation of luxury goods and materials in Naples and throughout the Mediterranean, and the self-definition of painters in Naples in a broader European baroque context will crack open the questions that motivate the new research center that the symposium will launch.
In 2018 the Museo di Capodimonte and the O’Donnell Institute will form the Center for the Art History of Port Cities (Il Centro per la Storia dell’Arte delle Città Portuali). The center will be housed at La Capraia or Goatfarm, an eighteenth-century agricultural building on the grounds of the Capodimonte. Through scholarly programming and research residencies it will foster on-site study of artworks and sites in Naples, with special emphasis on the cultural histories of port cities, the mobilities of people and objects, and processes of encounter and exchange. Our aim is to inform new histories of art on a global scale, always rooted in close engagement with the materials and sites at hand.
At the end of this newsletter you’ll find the program of the symposium. In the next issue of the newsletter we’ll publish a full report. To be completely immersed for three days in the collections of one the world’s great museums alongside fellow scholars in endlessly complex Naples is my idea of heaven! I am particularly grateful to Elizabeth Ranieri, our colleagues at the Capodimonte, the Robert Lehman Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. John Ridings Lee for making the symposium and our fledgling partnership possible.
Dr. Sarah K. Kozlowski
The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History