Congresso Internacional "Confluências Artísticas na Cultura Ibero-americana (1600-1850). O mundo de Robert C. Smith (1912-1975)" [International Congress "Artistic Confluences in Ibero-American Culture (1600-1850). The world of Robert C. Smith (1912-1975)"]

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Congresso Internacional "Confluências Artísticas na Cultura Ibero-americana (1600-1850). O mundo de Robert C. Smith (1912-1975)" [International Congress "Artistic Confluences in Ibero-American Culture (1600-1850). The world of Robert C. Smith (1912-1975)"]

Robert Chester Smith, an American art historian, dedicated most of his academic life to studying architecture and Decorative Arts from the Baroque and late Baroque in Ibero-America, namely Brazil and Portugal. Smith graduated from Harvard University in 1936 and was part of a pioneering group in academia devoted to Latin American art and culture.

Learned societies devoted to Hispanic studies like the Hispanic Society of America, founded in 1904 by the scholar and collector Archer Milton Huntington (1870-1955), began to thrive in the early 20th century. The Hispanic Society was the first to amass a collection of prints, rare books, maps, photographs, paintings, and decorative art objects. The curiosity embedded in the spirits of these first collectors and scholars stemmed from the re-discovery of a nearby world such as Latin American countries that remained partly alien to their cultural codes.

The role of Robert Smith as vice-director of the Hispanic Division at the Library of Congress in Washington helped to sanction his research and the publishing of his Ibero-American studies in Portugal, Brazil and elsewhere in various media, from local newspapers to scientific journals and books. His studies, dedicated to Baroque art in Portugal and colonial Brazil, were mainly sponsored by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation through scholarships and other fellowships. His gratitude is mirrored in his will by bequeathing all of his professional documents to this Portuguese cultural institution.

This congress aims to consider and re-contextualize the world and the working methods of Robert Smith, anchored in photographic campaigns of objects, archival and bibliographical research, the comparative approach and methodologies in social sciences, the importance of research field trips and the establishment of academic networks. How can we, with new tools at our reach, compare and connect personal research experiences, rethink and reassess his legacy, put in value and think about the challenges that this field of studies still holds today?
Period19 Feb 202215 Nov 2022
Event typeConference
LocationLisbon, Portugal
Degree of RecognitionInternational