Past Events

Art and Travel in the Mediterranean, 1600–1900


  • 26 November 2009
  • 6:00 – 7:30 pm
  • Public Study Room, Paul Mellon Centre

The grand object of travelling is to see the shores of the Mediterranean - Samuel Johnson, 1776

City landscape with river and boats

Caspar van Wittel, The Darsena delle Galere and Castello Nuovo at Naples, 1703, BHC1900

Digital image courtesy of National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

In the history of British travel since the late sixteenth century, the Mediterranean has always played a prime role and inevitably captured the imagination like no other European region. Travel to the Mediterranean was stimulated by its art and architecture and in return inspired new art, collecting and art criticism. Images drawn, painted or photographed on these journeys by very diverse travellers – artists, antiquarians, scientists, ethnographers,diplomats, navy personnel, amateurs and tourists, to name just a few – have fulfilled a whole variety of purposes. This lecture series, organized by the National Maritime Museum’s Centre for Art and Travel and generously hosted by the Paul Mellon Centre, attempts a new overview of the subject from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century.