Printmaking in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1735–1799)
The project focuses on printmaking in eighteenth-century Naples. In 1734, after almost two centuries of Spanish dominion, the two Sicilies (today Southern Italy) became an independent nation and the new French king understood the potential of printmaking for transforming Naples into a modern European capital. He founded a royal publishing house, the Stamperia Reale, and sponsored local artists to study in printing shops on the continent. Despite this importation of technologies and skill, however, prints produced in Naples by locals differed enormously from prints produced in Naples by foreigners, suggesting that the city’s problematic relationship with printmaking had deeper cultural roots.
I will analyse the output of both the Stamperia Reale and independent local publishing houses, such as the Stamperia Raimondiana or the businesses of the Hackert and Terres brothers. To do so I will carry out extensive research in archives and collections in Naples, bringing together the study of material objects with the theory-based approach that characterises UCL.
With this project I will not only complicate and expand dominant narratives of printmaking as a central element in the development of modernity, but also shed light on the little-examined play of cultural relationships between European countries, broadening our understanding of the Enlightenment.