Synopsis of the project

The Grand Tour is widely explored and interpreted subject. In the Dalmatian context it was never fully explored, although it has been the subject of several books, exhibitions and papers.

The project will focus equally on the primary motives for travelling around Dalmatia as well as on the not so significant, marginal details in travelogues (and on the sketches), almost random transmitters of the spirit of place (genius loci). The aim is to provide as integral an insight as possible into the influence of Dalmatia on the development of European Neoclassicism and Romanticism and describe the complex culturological portrayal of Dalmatia of that period. Using the interfield approach will enable us to get a comprehensive overview and understanding of the search for the ideal, which marked the period of Neoclassicism.

All known works of travel writers and artists from that period will be collected, and selected works will be analysed and evaluated in terms of literary theory and the theory of architecture. The benefits of collaboration in the fields of literature and architecture here do not arise solely from the fact that travel writers recorded their experience of Dalmatia both in pictures and in words. In terms of theory, writers and architects started thinking very much along the same lines in Neoclassicism, and their quest for truth gave birth to new principles of writing and designing.

The collages of natural environment and ancient ruins interwoven into an inseparable synthesis acted as transmitters of historically correct forms, and at the same time bore witness to the fact that the essence of architecture consisted of things far more important than mere physical existence.

The research team comprises of architects, a literary comparatist, an art historian and a historian. One of the architects in the team is doctoral student. The team will closely collaborate with Flora Turner (The British Croatian Society), Josip Belamarić (Institute of Art History – Cvito Fisković Centre in Split) and Pierre Pinon (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville, Ecole de Chaillot et chercheur associé à l’Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art), as consultants, for the project has identified the need for intercultural and interdisciplinary connections in research.

Central to the successful realisation of the research will be archival research, field research, the organization of international workshops and conferences, and interpretation of the results using methods of imagology, semiotics, geography of art, which will be presented through public lectures, a collection of scholarly papers, books of proceedings, and an interactive project web page.

The structure of research is based upon the collective experience of all its participants.

The first year: July 2014-July 2015

The first research stage consist of research work in the archives, field research, setting up a project web page, team meetings and coordinating with international colleagues and two international scientific conferences.

The research will involve travelling to archives where the major part of the archival records of interest for the research are kept: London (Sir John Soane’s Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum), Vienna (Graphic Cabinet of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Albertina and Belvedere Gallery), Saint Petersburg (State Hermitage Museum). Finally, a study trip to Rome as the origin of the Grand Tour of the period and describing of space inspired by Rome as the cradle of Ancient times.

Diocletian’s Palace, the strongest magnet in Dalmatia in that period, was presented by great names of art and architecture as Robert Adam, Charles-Louis Clerisseau and Louis-François Cassas, but this particular subject – Diocletian’s Palace as a destination of the European Grand Tour – has not been the subject of any interfield or interdisciplinary analysis. This is the reason why the principal investigator together with Josip Belamarić, Pierre Pinon, John A. Pinto (Princeton University) and Milan Pelc (Institute of Art History) have already organized an international scholarly conference entitled: “Diocletian’s Palace in the works of Adam, Clerisseau and Cassas“, which will be held in November 2014, and it is also included in this project. The next international conference on a similar subject will be held in May 2015.

The first research stage will also comprise a student workshop with students of Architecture and Sociology in Split as participants. Furthermore, the first year of research will include the processing of conference results, public lectures related to the topic and the headway made with the project.

All the data collected will be put together and presented on the project web page together with an archival records database which will be regularly updated throughout the whole course of the research. By giving presentations on the project, delivering public lectures and creating a project web page, the research will encourage the popularisation of science, stimulate culturological debates as well as promote the culture of research.