Renaissance Heritage and European Identity

Long before Europe’s current economic crisis, the idea of Europe as a cultural identity was already weak. Although cultural policies had attempted to stress shared values and shared histories, the vast differences in national experience during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries undermined any attempt to encourage an idea of a single European identity. In this lecture, Samuel Gallacher argues that many of the virtues we associate with modern Europe – shared language, intellectual mobility, integrated economy, artistic achievement – are mirrored in our historical imagination of the European ‘Renaissance’. He will try to outline the historical veracity of the commonalities extant in Renaissance Europe, taken as approximately 1450 to 1600.

In developing his argument, he will show how different countries across Europe have been keen to develop a sense of ‘Renaissance’ identity, and how national cultural heritages rooted in the early modern period convey an inherently Europeaness. By drawing the shared aspects of Renaissance heritage across the continent together, Gallacher will try to convince the audience that Europe does have a strong historical foundation upon which to mould a tangible identity. Thus, the lecture will discuss case studies of the invention of Renaissance heritage, the Europeanization of Renaissance heritage, and the positives and negatives of a cultural policy which prioritized a European Identity drawn from the idea of ‘Renaissance’.

Samuel Morrison Gallacher – is a holder of the scholarship within the Thesaurus Poloniae programme, and represents IMT Institute for Advanced Studies in Lucca and ICOM Europe. He will deliver a lecture on the diplomatic activity of the Jagiellons in modern Europe, illustrated by examples of the diplomatic gifts which have been preserved.
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