'Courtly Mediators' by Dr Leah Clark

Dr Leah Clark’s new book Courtly Mediators: Transcultural Objects between Renaissance Italy and the Islamic World, investigates the exchange of a range of materials and objects, including metalware, ceramic drug jars, Chinese porcelain and aromatics, across the early modern Italian, Mamluk and Ottoman courts. Dr Leah Clark is Director of Studies in the History of Art and a Fellow of Kellogg College.

In the book, Leah provides a new narrative that places Aragonese Naples at the centre of an international courtly culture, where cosmopolitanism and the transcultural flourished, and in which artists, ambassadors and luxury goods actively participated. By articulating how and why transcultural objects were exchanged, displayed, copied and framed, she provides a new methodological framework that transforms our understanding of the Italian Renaissance court.

Courtly Mediators provides a multi-sensorial, innovative reading of Italian Renaissance art. It demonstrates that the early modern culture of collecting was more than a humanistic enterprise associated with the European roots of the Renaissance. Rather, it was sustained by interactions with global material cultures from the Islamic world and beyond.

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Published 10 August 2023