Eurasian Exchange and Artistic Change in Italy, c. 1250-1450

Gluttony from the Cocarelli Codex, 1330s, British Library ms. Additional 27695, folio 13r (detail)
‘Gluttony from the Cocarelli Codex’, 1330s, British Library ms. Additional 27695, folio 13r (detail)

This project places the early Italian Renaissance into the larger geopolitical context of Mongol Eurasia, focusing on artistic change in Italy and in China, where Italian and other foreign merchants and missionaries were resident. Despite important evidence of contact and exchange, this is the first project to examine these links in any detail. Drawing on objects, archival documents, and secondary sources, the work will address the question of artistic influence and exchange along three lines: how Italians and Chinese artists represented and imagined the larger Mongol world; how imported materials changed art production; and the adaptation of imported artistic forms in both regions.

Outcomes / activities

The major outcomes will be a scholarly book and two international conferences with proceedings. The completed research will also serve a future group research project on early modern art in a global context (c. 1300-1700).

  • International conference (Villa I Tatti); proceedings to be published by Harvard University Press, projected 2021
  • International conference in Melbourne (projected 2021) on theme of Early modern artistic exchange and the Global South Monograph book by CI


This research will serve as a starting point to shift how European art is talked about in Australia, opening it to a more inclusive narrative that takes our larger region into account. This inclusiveness is crucial to a reframing of our visual and cultural history, particularly as we are international leaders in our region in the study of the European past.

Further, with the participation of the two PhD researchers, two future scholars will be supported and trained. This is particularly important as there are few specialists in the fields of historical East Asian art in Australian universities – and none in the field of Islamic art, despite the fact that the world’s largest Muslim country is our neighbour to the north.


Download The Mongols and Global History conference program cover

Project details

Project partners

Villa I Tatti Center for Renaissance Studies, Harvard University

Project team

Professor Anne Dunlop CI
Liu Shiqui (associated PhD)
Joanne Morice (project RA)


Professor Anne Dunlop

More information

The Mongols and Global History website