Photographs, films and ephemera of sculptures and sculptural sites have much to tell us: about what was known and deemed of interest and when, about how objects have been received at different moments in their history, and how such aspects play into larger, political art historical and cultural narratives. They can also uncover stories purposefully overlooked. Such is the case with the history of the Sacro Bosco at Bomarzo, an idiosyncratic sculpture garden commissioned by Pier Francesco (Vicino) Orsini c.1550-1580, filled with monsters and marvels carved of rough volcanic stone, and seemingly discovered after centuries of obscurity in the early 1950s. This talk takes a close look at twentieth-century visual material relating to the site to put pressure on this narrative and to explore how it relates to wider political cultural histories in Italy – from early twentieth-century fascism to the more outward looking post-war period. It also puts forward the value of non-art historical imagery within scholarship. We will look at newsreels of Salvador Dali, personal photography, postcards, even a magazine fashion shoot.
Dr Thalia Allington-Wood is Lecturer in Art History 1300-1700 and convenor of the Art History programmes at The Warburg Institute, University of London. Her research is currently focused on two main areas of interest. One: the materiality and wider viewing environments of art objects, particularly sculpture, in relation to their making and reception, and the intersections between art, ecology and natural history. Two: the historiography and afterlives of early modern art in early twentieth century film, photography and exhibitions. She completed her PhD at University College London (UCL) in 2019 and her research has been supported to date by awards from the AHRC, the Society of Architectural Historians, the Sixteenth Century Society and fellowships at UCLA and Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard University. Prior to joining the Warburg Institute in September 2021, Thalia held teaching and research positions at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, UCL and Oxford Brookes University.
This session has been rescheduled from 23 February.
e- this seminar is free
to attend but booking is required