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3. Transfers, exchanges, movements in European and extra-European areas

Nature morte au perroquet et aux artichauts, Italie, Anonyme, XVII e siècle (Washington D.C., NGA, inv. 1988.23).

The research carried out within the framework of this theme questions the idea and definition of an artistic Europe. As part of a global art history, related to the representation of Europe, artistic production is sometimes thought of as "European", or on the contrary, as "extra-European".

Western conceptual frameworks for the analysis of art are thus examined, as well as artistic or cultural hierarchies.


The members of this theme promote Europe centered research in the broad sense, as an area for the circulation of people, objects and ideas, but also of exchanges with extra-European territories. The phenomena of interactions, acculturation, rejections, borrowings or transfers and their consequences on art constitute privileged research subjects. The overall project is to better outline and define artistic Europe as a geographical territory, with its coherence and its inconsistencies. It is a question of better understanding it, as representation of a mental territory, whose variable and imaginary geography is a source of inspiration for artists and sponsors, by opposition or fusion with a physically surveyed or fantasised extra-european space. Questions of cultural or artistic transfers are at the origin of several projects of this theme; the notions of "space", "territory" and their importance to artistic creation also mobilise several researchers, from the medieval period to the contemporary period.

Research focuses on studying the circulation of people, works and ideas alike. The study of the circulating of people emphasises the phenomena of acculturation through the movements of artists, sponsors, gallery owners, artdealers, collectors or "agents" of art, whatever they are. The objective is to better understand the constitution of an internal artistic identity, and through an extra-European "outer" look. The circulation of objects considers modes of circulation and their impact on the dissemination of models and series. Finally, the circulating of ideas approaches the representation of oneself and of the other in Europe. This division between individuals, artistic objects and life of ideas allows to articulate programs between them, targeted on a cultural area or a specific period, so that the wide territorial amplitude implemented does not hinder the finesse of the results.

The research of this theme extends on the EHNE labex (Writing a new history of Europe, 2012- 2022), within the framework of partnerships and collaborations with other research centres (in particular research laboratories for history or literature). The results are to be published online in the Encyclopedia for a New History of Europe.

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