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Le arti decorative della Sicilia occidentale nei diari dei viaggiatori inglesi tra XVIII e XIX secolo


The essay examines the main citations of decorative works of art found in the journals of British travelers of the Grand Tour between XVIII and XIX century. In the context of these works, the attention devoted to the decorative arts is much less than that devoted to archeology, painting or sculpture, both because the culture of the time did not consider them yet at the level of the so-called major arts, and because the authors often have little competence in the field of the artistic context. The antiquarian authors of travel reports, then, are clearly more interested in classical art than in that of later or contemporary times. Therefore the citations of the works of decorative art in the diaries of the Grand Tour are few in number and the collection of the main ones is the result of a targeted research within a vast literature, which is often attentive to aspects that have very little to do with these particular typologies. It is precisely the literary dimension that makes the diaries so fascinating, together with their intrinsic, undeniable historical value. The prose of the travelers, their style, which is influenced from time to time by their education, their profession and their cultural heritage, offers the reader a narrative space in which uses, customs, works of art, monuments, the entire social and cultural panorama of the period coexist. The end result is a series of descriptions sometimes synthetic and stringent, sometimes vivid and even lyrical, but full of suggestiveness and poetry.