'Novas Novidades’: Collecting Luxuria at the Portuguese Court, c. 1450-1521


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Art History


This dissertation concentrates on the court practices of circulation and exchange of objects between Portugal and sub-Saharan Africa and between Portugal and other European courts from about 1450 to 1520. This approach, favoring the reception and ceremonial use of objects across cultures, permits the incorporation of African objects into the history of art of Renaissance Europe. The Portuguese court used visual material from Africa to represent empire in Europe and to convey notions of possession by collecting and bestowing on others the precious material and skilled craftsmanship of African objects as part of their own largesse. The shifting perception of these African objects depends on the ceremonies and propagandistic endeavors that accompanied their presentation at court in Europe.