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Letters to Miranda and Canova on the Abduction of Antiquities from Rome and Athens

  • Antoine Quatremère de Quincy 
    Introduction by Dominique Poulot 
    Translation by Chris Miller and David Gilks

    In the 1790s and early 1800s, the art world experienced two big events: First came the military confiscation of masterpieces from Italy and northern Europe in order to build a universal museum in Paris's Louvre. Then famous marble sculptures were prised out of the Parthenon and sent to London. These events provoked reactions ranging from enthusiastic applause to enraged condemnation.

    The French art critic, architectural theoretician, and political conservative Quatremère de Quincy (1755–1849) was at the center of the European debates. In his pamphlet Letters to Miranda, he condemns the revolutionary hubris of putting "Rome in Paris" and urges the return of the works. In the Letters to Canova, however, Quatremère celebrates the British Museum for making the Parthenon sculptures accessible.

    Quatremère's writing was highly controversial in its time. This book offers the first English translation of the two series of letters, as well as a new critical introduction.

    Antoine Quatremère de Quincy was a French archaeologist, architectural theoretician, arts administrator, and influential writer. Dominique Poulot is professor of the history of art at the Université Paris 1 Panthèon-Sorbonne. Chris Miller is a translator specializing in the fine arts. David Gilks is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Queen Mary College, University of London.

    “This is the first English translation of Quatremère’s response to the military confiscation of masterpieces from Italy and Northern Europe by the French, and Britain’s appropriation of the Parthenon marbles.”

    “Thorough notes and indexing make these historically significant essays accessible to a new generation of Anglophone readers. Quatremère’s examinations of shifting definitions of cosmopolitanism and nationalism and their impact on the concept of cultural heritage, universal or particular, remain relevant today.”
    —American Journal of Archaeology

    208 pages
    7 x 10 inches
    17 b/w illustrations
    ISBN 978-1-60606-099-5

    Getty Publications
    Imprint: Getty Research Institute
    Series: Texts & Documents