“The Course of Empires: American-Italian Cultural Relations, 1770–1980” at Smithsonian American Art Museum

October 19 & 20, 2017
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

This international conference examines the persistent fascination of American and Italian artists with the cultural achievements of ancient Rome and the Italian Renaissance. It seeks to update and broaden  understanding of American-Italian cultural relations from the Revolutionary Era through the Cold War by encompassing the diversity of voices and approaches in contemporary transnational scholarship.

Among the topics to explored are:

  • Investigations of the roles of Italy and the newly built American Academy in Rome in keeping alive classical and Renaissance traditions at the turn of the twentieth century;
  • Examinations of the ways in which public commissions of the 1920s and 1930s (including New Deal and Italian Fascist programs) maintained a romance with the Renaissance fresco tradition; and
  • Analyses of the increasing cross-cultural exchange between Italy and the United States in the Cold War era, with the inauguration of the Venice Biennale and the formation of the Peggy Guggenheim gallery.

To view the full program, please visit the conference’s webpage. The embedded video features the conference’s welcoming remarks and the morning session on October 19—please click here to view all of the presentations on the Smithsonian’s YouTube channel.

This event is the companion conference to Hybrid Republicanism: Italy and American Art, 1840–1918, which occurred at the American Academy in Rome in the fall of 2016.