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Cross-Cultural Encounters between the Mediterranean and the English-Speaking Worlds

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Edited By Christine Reynier

The Mediterranean world has long had strong cultural links to Great Britain as well as to the United States. Through the analysis of artistic objects and critical writings that crystallise this encounter, the essays in this volume demonstrate the variety and complexity of the connections between two geographical zones and two or more cultures.
Mediterranean cultures are shown to haunt American and British culture and artistic productions. The relation between British and American literature and art on the one hand, and Mediterranean arts on the other goes beyond the mere inscription of British and American culture in a Mediterranean tradition. British and American culture and art come out as unearthing a wide variety of Mediterranean artistic forms, renewing and transforming them.
This collection shows how lively the encounter between the Mediterranean and the English-Speaking worlds still is. It highlights how much English as well as American culture and art owe today to the Mediterranean ones; how, mainly in the fields of literature and art, the two civilisations have never discontinued the dialogue they adumbrated centuries ago.

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MARC SMITH - Importing Masters and Culture: Or Why Create the Art Market? - 13

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MARC SMITH Importing Masters and Culture: Or Why Create the Art Market? During the second half of the nineteenth century, the European art mar- ket fell under the domination of US investors, who massively acquired masterpieces from the Euro-Mediterranean Medieval and Renaissance periods and profoundly transformed market relations. Buyers represent- ing wealthy New York elites quickly supplanted Europeans and the United States became the center of demand in the international art mar- ket. By 1939, US buyers had imported almost half of all Italian Renais- sance art production and had made New York the western capital of art (Cohen-Solal 2000: 176). This development was historically logical. Be- fore the United States, English investors had set the pace in the eight- eenth century, by massively importing Renaissance masterpieces and making London the center for European transactions. The impact of changing economic power relations is clear. What is less evident is how a country’s position in the art market impacted their culture and cultural perception, whether they were acquiring the artistic production of others or exporting a rich artistic heritage. Through this market, England and the United States entered Italian, French, English, Dutch, Flemish and Spanish history and culture. New power relationships bound these coun- tries together in a new commercial network that transformed them all. This study presents partial findings on the various movements of over eight hundred old masters and explains how the art market brought together specific social and cultural groups. Protestant and Anglican buyers collected masterpieces endowed with...

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