Between ‘gout grec’ and ‘diverse maniere’ : Neoclassical Decorative Arts in Central Europe in the Second Half of the 18th Century

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Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Studi Neoclassici Rivista Internazionale
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Neoclassicism; Decorative Arts; Interior Decorations; Design Work; 18th Century; Central Europe; Habsburg Monarchy; Moravia
Description The study explores the influence the Italian antiquarian tradition (Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Giocondo Albertolli, Carlo Antonini etc.) in the example of a group of artworks created by several artists in one province of the Habsburg Empire. The first part of the study focuses on several designs and works of decorative art that lie on the edge between painting, sculpture, and decorative art. The second part seeks to interpret the findings of the analysis in the wider context of contemporary Enlightenment reforms, the formation of modern institutions, and, generally, the transformation of the Habsburg Monarchy’s cultural policy in the period towards the end of Empress Maria Theresa’s rule (1740-1780) and the beginning of that of Emperor Joseph II (1780-1790). The article concludes by reflecting on the nature of transcultural transfers in the late 18th century, defined, on the one hand, by the Enlightenment ideal of a universal culture and, on the other, by relatively overt efforts to create a local, to some degree ‘nationalised’, interpretation of that ideal.
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