While recent scholarship dealt with the economic and political historiographies of road systems, this book focuses on routes as stimuli of cultural transfer and artistic production. Framed in the historiography of longue durée, routes may be addressed as trajectories that cut across cultural geographies and periodizations. With focus on the early modern period, the volume foregrounds an unprecedented expansion and transformation of route-networks. New combinations of transcontinental routes profoundly affected cultural topographies and symbolic paradigms. The rise of Asian and European port cities as nodes of maritime systems and prosperous cultural contact zones is closely linked to these shifts; routes, hubs, and the fabrication of collective imaginations about them therefore constitute the central themes of this book.
Based on the papers presented at an international conference at the Freie Universität Berlin in 2013, the publication focuses on problems and challenges of art history’s epistemic frameworks. Following four guiding themes – narrations, venues, concepts and practice – the contributions address the aspect of mobility of aesthetic objects and their contextualisation from different analytical perspectives.
The essays examine complex processes of transcultural negotiations that are set in motion by »travelling« objects, artists, ideas and institutions in order to trace and analyse historical conditions that generated specific frameworks with their respective art historical narratives and artistic production.