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Sacred to secular, east to west: the Renaissance study and strategies of display

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Perhaps no other space in the domestic interior embodied and articulated the values of Renaissance culture quite like the study. As a space reserved for the use of just one person, the study and the objects it contained allowed its owner to fashion and display an image of his ideal self. This paper examines how scholarly identity was constructed through the choice and display of objects in private studies. Focusing on Oriental carpets and other rare objects, it demonstrates how the decorative strategies of the study derive from sacred contexts and reveals how the transition from sacred to secular space informed and was in turn informed by conceptions of the scholarly self.

Keywords: carpets; collecting; inspiration; portraits; studiolo

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Masters Program

Publication date: 2006-11-01

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