Painting in Italy in the Early Eighteenth Century
Malcolm Bull is Professor of Art and the History of Ideas at Oxford University and a Senior Associate Research Fellow of Christ Church. He works in both art history and the history of political thought and his books include The Mirror of the Gods (OUP/Penguin, 2005; Italian tr. Einaudi, 2015), Inventing Falsehood, Making Truth (Princeton, 2013), On Mercy (Princeton, 2019) and The Concept of the Social (Verso, 2021). He is one of the editors of Oxford Art Journal.
Although visitors from northern Europe were still fixated on Rome, the two most innovative artistic centers in early eighteenth-century Italy were Naples and Venice. This opposition has never been systematically studied, and a particular focus of this research will therefore be the comparison of these two traditions, and an examination of the ways they were exported to other places in Italy including Tuscany. Both close visual analysis and non-artistic sources such as literary and musical theory will be used to develop a cluster of critical terms that together define what is most innovative in the painting of the period.