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Behind the Curtains of Diplomacy. The Household, Material Culture and Networks of French Ambassadors in Venice (1550-1610)

Dates:
  • Thu 12 Jan 2017 16.00 - 18.30
  Add to Calendar 2017-01-12 16:00 2017-01-12 18:30 Europe/Paris Behind the Curtains of Diplomacy. The Household, Material Culture and Networks of French Ambassadors in Venice (1550-1610)

This dissertation examines the social and material surroundings of the French ambassadors stationed in the Venetian Republic between 1550 and 1610. Centred around the activities and experiences of Ambassador François de Noailles (1557-1561), three important facets of the diplomatic reality abroad are scrutinised. Part I sets out the characteristics of the ambassador’s court through an investigation of the architectural, social and domestic features of the diplomatic house. In so doing, it will shed light on some of the realities behind the political world of diplomacy and reveal social complexities. Part II opens an illuminating window to the ambassador’s possessions and discloses the great importance of material culture for the performance of diplomacy. By exposing the furnishings and clothing purchased and displayed by the ambassador, the use of objects to assert diplomatic identity will be unravelled. Part III again takes material culture as the point of departure, as it studies the movement of goods through the brokerage and patronage networks constructed by ambassadors while on mission. Whereas diplomatic service had benefits, it also had disadvantages, most importantly, the physical absence from the centre of power. Both the delivering of procured goods and the offering of unsolicited gifts were used to sustain ties with influential people at the French court in order to pursue private and family interests. Throughout the entire study, all these diplomatic activities are strongly contextualised and linked with the specificity of Venice as a trading metropolis, situated between West and East and ruled by a republican government. By looking behind the curtains of diplomacy, this dissertation contributes to the field of the new diplomatic history especially by its extensive focus on material culture. Objects had an important communicative power as they conveyed political messages and, this way, were essential for the functioning of early modern diplomacy.

Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle

This dissertation examines the social and material surroundings of the French ambassadors stationed in the Venetian Republic between 1550 and 1610. Centred around the activities and experiences of Ambassador François de Noailles (1557-1561), three important facets of the diplomatic reality abroad are scrutinised. Part I sets out the characteristics of the ambassador’s court through an investigation of the architectural, social and domestic features of the diplomatic house. In so doing, it will shed light on some of the realities behind the political world of diplomacy and reveal social complexities. Part II opens an illuminating window to the ambassador’s possessions and discloses the great importance of material culture for the performance of diplomacy. By exposing the furnishings and clothing purchased and displayed by the ambassador, the use of objects to assert diplomatic identity will be unravelled. Part III again takes material culture as the point of departure, as it studies the movement of goods through the brokerage and patronage networks constructed by ambassadors while on mission. Whereas diplomatic service had benefits, it also had disadvantages, most importantly, the physical absence from the centre of power. Both the delivering of procured goods and the offering of unsolicited gifts were used to sustain ties with influential people at the French court in order to pursue private and family interests. Throughout the entire study, all these diplomatic activities are strongly contextualised and linked with the specificity of Venice as a trading metropolis, situated between West and East and ruled by a republican government. By looking behind the curtains of diplomacy, this dissertation contributes to the field of the new diplomatic history especially by its extensive focus on material culture. Objects had an important communicative power as they conveyed political messages and, this way, were essential for the functioning of early modern diplomacy.


Location:
Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Examiner:
Jorge Flores (European University Institute)
Prof. Evelyn Welch (Kingʼs College London)
Catherine Fletcher (Swansea University)

Supervisor:
Luca Molà (EUI and University of Warwick)

Defendant:
Laura Jenny Antoon Mesotten (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

Contact:
Miriam Felicia Curci - Send a mail

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