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Infiltrating Artifacts: Florence and Tuscany in their Mediterranean and Global Entanglements. Studies in a Transcultural History of Art Before Modernity

Vera-Simone Schulz

Detail of the pavement of the Florentine baptistery San Giovanni, after 1207, Florence, Italy

Luster ceramics, precious silk weavings, inlaid metalwork, incorporated into church façades, evoked on marble pavements, or represented in paintings: medieval and early Renaissance Florence and Tuscany were characterized by highly creative artistic responses to a variety of artifacts imported from afar. This project investigates the impact of imported artifacts on diverse media such as architecture, objects of material culture and painting with a special focus on issues of transmediality and transmateriality, i.e. artistic practices transgressing various media and materials. Seeking to question and to break up categories such as ›high‹ and ›applied arts‹ and going beyond binaries such as ›East‹ and ›West‹, the case studies analyzed in this project bridge diverse art historical sub-disciplines ranging from the Mediterranean to Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Asia; they are studied both from an empirico-historical and a methodological perspective; and they show the awareness of and artistic interaction with a wider world in Tuscany and Florence before the mid-15th century.

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