Micromosaics: Souvenirs, collective memory, and the reception of antiquity on the Grand Tour
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Micromosaics were popular souvenir objects on the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Grand Tour, a didactic trip taken by elite, young men. Created from tiny, intricately arranged tesserae, micromosaics typically depict classically-derived scenes, famous Roman monuments, daily life scenes, or Renaissance and Baroque paintings and were intended to appeal to Grand Tour travelers. My dissertation seeks to analyze ancient monuments, mosaics, paintings, and sculptures on early modern European micromosaics in order to demonstrate how much these objects enhance our understanding of Grand Tourists’ experiences. I examine how micromosaicists memorialized, erased, altered, and added components to these antiquities depicted on micromosaics with the intention to make them marketable to tourists. By examining micromosaics as souvenirs I have been able to suggest a methodology for looking at souvenirs during the Grand Tour that contributes to our understanding of both tourists’ desires and their actual experiences understanding antiquity in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
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