A Sea of Marble: Traveling Fountains in the Early Modern Mediterranean
Fernando Loffredo is Assistant Professor of Early Modern Mediterranean and Colonial Art at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His primary research interests are trans-Mediterranean artistic relations, sculpture and the urban space, and the dialogues between art and poetry in the early modern world, with a particular focus on the Spanish Empire and the Italian Peninsula. He was the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow 2015-2017 at CASVA, and he has taught Italian and Mediterranean as well as Spanish and Colonial Latin American visual culture at Johns Hopkins University, NYU, and Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. He is co-editor of Pirro Ligorio’s Worlds. Antiquarianism, Classical Erudition and the Visual Arts in the Late Renaissance (Brill, 2019).
This project examines the dynamics of circulation and the iconographical translations of monumental fountains across the Mediterranean dominated by the Spanish Empire. The success of the so-called “all’italiana” fountains spread throughout sixteenth-century Europe, from Portugal to Poland, as fountains turned into fashionable objects of desire. Many fountains were constantly on the move through different channels, such as patronage networks and art diplomacy, creating a sort of diaspora of Italian monumental sculpture. Thus, this study focuses on “traveling” fountains, comparing their original and new (public or private) contexts of display, and the meanings embedded in them. This very mobility ended up generating popular legends, poems and tales about pirates abducting fountains across the sea and vicious Spaniards falling in love with sculptures displayed on fountains. “A Sea of Marble” aims to illuminate in new, interdisciplinary, and complex ways the study of Mediterranean early modernity through the circulation of Italian sculpture.