Bernard Berenson and the Circulation of Early Renaissance Art
Diana Sorensen is James F. Rothenberg Professor of Romance Languages & Literatures and of Comparative Literature. Before joining the Harvard faculty in 2001, she taught at Columbia and Wesleyan Universities. She is a specialist in nineteenth- and twentieth- centuries Latin American literature, and in comparative literature. Among her varied writings on Latin American Literature are the following books: The Reader and the Text. Interpretative Strategies for Latin American Literatures, Facundo and the Construction of Argentine Culture (winner of the MLA Prize for the best book in the field in 1996), Sarmiento: Annotated Edition of his Works, A Turbulent Decade Remembered: Cultural Scenes from the Latin American Sixties , and Territories and Trajectories: Cultures in Circulation.
During this stay at I Tatti, Diana Sorensen will continue her study of the Berenson archive at I Tatti so as to further work on a project dealing with the material and cultural practices through which Berenson established the criteria of taste and price that ruled the acquisition and collecting protocols of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Berenson's standing and authority are the result of a complex array of factors that enact a micro history of circulation, commercial and cultural exchanges, the production of desire and distinction, and even the most mundane matters pertaining to transportation, customs taxes, as well as the buying and selling of works of art. The conditions of possibility for this history of circulation are rooted in diverse geographic locations --the US, the newly created Italian nation, and the United Kingdom. Studying Bernard Berenson's work as a connoisseur, a dealer, a writer, a taste-maker and a traveling collector will enable reflection on complex intersections between individual agency and historical forces.