Christopher Marshall - Vintage Violence: Exhibiting Armour

February 20, 2013

The Power of Luxury: Art and Culture at the Italian Courts in Machiavelli’s Lifetime
The Australian Institute of Art History
The University of Melbourne
19 and 20 February, 2013

Session Three - About Principalities and Courts
Wednesday 20 February 10.30 am

Christopher Marshall
Vintage Violence: Exhibiting Armour, from the power of the prince to the dynamism of the museum

Renaissance exhibitions of arms and armour tended to emphasise their status as manifestations of princely power (with spoils of victory often displayed prominently) as well as genealogical projections of seigneurial identity. This paper will consider the challenges involved in transferring these functions across to the modern setting of the contemporary museum. The nineteenth century witnessed a mania for employing frequently spectacular juxtapositions of arms and armour as a means of creating highly theatrical reimaginings of Renaissance ambiences. Recent exhibitions of arms and armour have tended to reconfigure them according to more contemporary frameworks as either refined objects of decorative art or as indices of social and cultural history. This paper will consider these and other options for redisplaying collections of these kinds with a particular emphasis on the case study of the arms and armour collection of the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan.

Christopher R. Marshall is Senior Lecturer in Art History and Museum Studies at the University of Melbourne, Australia. His publications on museums and curatorship include the edited volume Sculpture and the Museum (Ashgate, 2011) along with chapters for Museum Making: Narratives, Architectures, Exhibitions (Routledge, 2012); Reshaping Museum Space: Architecture, Design, Exhibitions (Routledge: 2005), and Rethinking Art History (Routledge: 2007). Publications in his dual specialization in Neapolitan Baroque art, collecting and the market include chapters in Painting for Profit: The Economic Lives of Seventeenth-century Italian Painters (Yale: 2010), Mapping Markets in Europe and the New World (Brepols: 2006); The Art Market in Italy (Pannini: 2002); as well as articles in The Journal of the History of Collecting, The Burlington Magazine and the Art Bulletin. He has held research fellowships at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Duke University, Durham North Carolina; the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan; and at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds.

Image notes
Head of Medusa Shield. Caravaggio. source Web Gallery of Art link

nb. Entry created May 5 2013. Dated to Feb 20 (date of presentation) for indexing purposes


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