Book Launch: Courtly Mediators: Transcultural Objects between Renaissance Italy and the Islamic World

In Courtly Mediators, Leah R Clark investigates the exchange of a range of materials and objects, including metalware, ceramic drug jars, Chinese porcelain, and aromatics, across the early modern Italian, Mamluk, and Ottoman courts. She provides a new narrative that places Aragonese Naples at the centre of an international courtly culture, where cosmopolitanism and the transcultural flourished, and in which artists, ambassadors, and luxury goods actively participated. By articulating how and why transcultural objects were exchanged, displayed, copied, and framed, she provides a new methodological framework that transforms our understanding of the Italian Renaissance court. Clark’s volume provides a multi-sensorial, innovative reading of Italian Renaissance art. It demonstrates that the early modern culture of collecting was more than a humanistic enterprise associated with the European roots of the Renaissance. Rather, it was sustained by interactions with global material cultures from the Islamic world and beyond.

Leah Clark is Arts Fellow and Official Fellow at Kellogg. Leah’s research explores the exchange, mobility and collecting of art objects in the early modern world. She is author of Courtly Mediators: Transcultural Objects Between Renaissance Italy and the Islamic World (Cambridge University Press, 2023), Collecting Art in the Italian Renaissance Court: Objects and Exchanges (Cambridge University Press, 2018), co-editor of European Art and the Wider World 1350-1550 (Manchester University Press, 2017) and co-editor of The Mobility of Objects Across Boundaries (Liverpool University Press, 2022).

Join us for a talk followed by a drinks reception. You will also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the sounds and smells of the Renaissance through a multisensorial interactive experience! Books will be available for purchase.

Refreshments will be served from 17:00. The talk will begin at 17:30, followed by a drinks reception at 18:30.

This event may be photographed. If you do not wish to appear in the footage, please let the photographer know on the day.