Winckelmann and Curiosity in the 18th-century Gentleman's Library, edited by K. Harloe, C. Neagu and A.C. Smith

The latest Christ Church Library publication, this volume accompanies the exhibition, Winckelmann and Curiosity in the 18th-Century Gentleman's Library, open in the Upper Library from 26 June to 26 October 2018.

Like many antiquarians of his day, the German art historian and archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717–1768) first learned about the ancient world through immersion in literature. As a teacher then librarian in his native Germany, Winckelmann encountered the classics primarily through literary texts, as well as the souveni—coins, gems and figurines—that Grand Tourists and other travellers had brought north from their visits to Italy. Once he arrived in Rome, where he rose to prominence at Prefect of Antiquities in the Vatican, Winckelmann studied the remains of Greek, Graeco-Roman and Roman art on a larger scale. Through personal contacts, letters and other writings, Winckelmann influenced his and subsequent generations of scholars, aesthetes, collectors, craftsmen and artists.. Winckelmann and Curiosity in the 18th-Century Gentleman's Library explores the scholar's varied influence on the arts in Britain, through printed media, architecture and decorative arts.


Preface by Katherine Harloe. Part I. Setting the scene: Chapter 1. Greek vases in Naples’ ottocento laboratory of curiosity by Amy C. Smith; Chapter 2. Christ Church gentlemen and their collections-Time for a New Library by Cristina Neagu; Chapter 3. “The beautiful spirit of antiquity”: Pompeii and Herculaneum as inspiration for Neoclassical interior schemes in 18th-century Europe by Nicola Pickering; Chapter 4. Winckelmann, Morrison and the aspirant gentleman by Fiona Gatty. Part II. The catalogue:  Exhibition handlist; An Aphrodite in Christ Church. Some comments on appearance and provenance by Sadie Pickup

About the Editors

Dr Katherine Harloe is Associate Professor and Director of Taught Postgraduate Programmes at the University of Reading. Her areas of interest include history of classical scholarship, history of political thought, reception of Greek and Roman antiquity in European (especially German) culture before 1945, reception theory, Greek literature. Her research focuses on the history of classical scholarship in the context of other humanities disciplines and broader political, cultural and intellectual currents, from the middle of the eighteenth century to the present. Dr Harloe is known for her work on Johann Joachim Winckelmann about whom she published a monograph, Winckelmann and the Invention of Antiquity, in 2013. A present she is working on a study of the Winckelmann's love letters which focuses in particular on their debts to classical literary paradigms and the dominant role they have played in reception of his work.

Dr Cristina Neagu is the Keeper of Special Collections at Christ Church Library and specialises in the literature and arts of the Renaissance. The fields in which most of her work has been conducted include Neo-Latin literature, rhetoric, art history and history of the book. Among her research interests are Central and East European humanism, illuminated manuscripts and Albrecht Dürer as theoretician and reformer of the image. Recent publications include 'East- Central Europe' in The Oxford Handbook of Neo Latin Studies (Oxford University Press, 2015); 'The Lesser Durer:Text and Image in Early Modern Broadsheets' in The Perils of Print Culture: Theory and Practice in Book, Print and Publishing History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014); ‘The Power of the Book and the Kingdom of Hungary during the Fifteenth Century’ in Humanism in Fifteenth-Century Europe (Medium Aevum, 2012);  Servant of the Renaissance: The Poetry and Prose of Nicolaus Olahus (Peter Lang, 2003).
Professor Amy Smith is Curator of the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology. She is a classical archaeologist, with a primary interest in iconography and its many manifestations, especially in politics and religion. Her areas of interest include Greek and Roman art and archaeology, especially iconography and vase painting; gender, religion, and politics in ancient Greece; antiquities museums, online or offline. Professor Smith's recent publications include Winckelmann, Greek masterpieces, and architectural sculpture. Prolegomena to a history of classical archaeology in museums (2017); 'Looking inside on the outside of a pot' in Houses of Ill-Repute: The Archaeology of Houses, Taverns and Brothels (2016); 'Using animation for successful engagement, promotion and learning' in Advancing Engagement: A Handbook for Academic Museums (2014); 'Variation among Attic fine wares: the case of the Pan Painter's pelikai' in Understanding Standardization and Variation in Mediterranean Ceramics: Mid 2nd to Late 1st Millenium BC (2014).

Title: Winckelmann and Curiosity in the 18th-century Gentleman's Library
Editors: Katherine Harloe, Cristina Neagu and Amy C. Smith
Date of Publication: June 2018
Publisher: Christ Church Library
ISBN: 978 1 87233366 3

Bibliographic details:            
Paperback. 134 pages
215 x 150 mm, 49 colour illustrations
Price: £10

For more details and to purchase a copy, please contact Dr Cristina Neagu, Keeper of Special Collections, Christ Church Library, Oxford, OX1 1DP. Telephone: + 44(0) 1865 276 265. Email:

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