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Travelling People, travelling objects

Des hommes et des objets en voyage

The reception of Swiss art in the context of the eighteenth-century European Grand Tour

La réception de l’art suisse dans le contexte du Grand Tour européen du XVIIIe siècle

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Published on Wednesday, March 08, 2017


In 2018, a special issue of the Zeitschrift für Schweizerische Archäologie und Kunst (ZAK) will be dedicated to Swiss art in the eighteenth century. Focusing on the context of European travel culture, the issue will address the various ways in which Grand Tourists perceived, purchased, and collected Swiss art objects during and after their travels. This perspective will help to gain new insight into the distribution and reception of Swiss art in eighteenth-century Europe.



It has often been claimed that the so-called Swiss Kleinmeister, printmakers of small genre and landscape scenes between 1750 and 1850, sold their artworks to Grand Tour travellers, thus contributing to the construction and popularization of a new ‘image of Switzerland’ in Europe. However, little is known about the travelling art buyers and the specific ways in which these small Swiss art objects were distributed, collected, and displayed abroad.

Taking this question as a starting point, we welcome contributions which investigate the reception and distribution of these travelling images of Switzerland. Special priority will be given to topics which focus on the materiality of specific objects as well as topics which centre on the role and the meaning of Swiss artworks at their places of destination.

Proposals might address the following issues, among others:

1. Images, media, materialities

It is a widespread opinion that the small format and low price of the graphic art of the Swiss Kleinmeister contributed to the medium’s popularity among European travellers. Does a close view on European collections allow another, more complex perspective on the reception and distribution of Swiss art and the related role of its specific medial and material characteristics? What can be said about the collection-specific relations of graphics, watercolors, paintings, and decorative art objects of Switzerland?

2. Paths and destinations of Swiss graphic art

Kleinmeister graphic art was traded in single sheets, within illustrated books but also in literary works such as travel descriptions. Can individual trade routes be traced within this context of travel culture? Which European collections (libraries, print rooms etc.) owned (Kleinmeister) graphic art works, in which forms were they held and what role did they play within the formation of a specific collection?

3. Swiss landscape images – identities and memories

The graphic images of the Swiss Kleinmeister are often said to have played an important role in shaping the identity of Switzerland by constructing a typical image of the country’s ‘national landscape’. What was the meaning and function of these graphic landscapes in European collections? Which role did Swiss landscapes play in other objects, for example decorative art, that were purchased by travellers?

4. Switzerland – Italy – Europe

Grand Tour travellers often purchased a great number of art objects which can be considered as conventionalized souvenirs of the places of their production along the travel routes. How were these imaginary sites of memory perceived and represented in European collections? What kinds of medial, material, and semantic relations are constructed between these collection objects on a transregional level, and which position did the objects from Switzerland occupy?

This call addresses art historians and researchers from related disciplines.

Submission guidelines

Please send your proposal (max. 300 words, in English, German, French or Italian), a short CV and a short list of keywords (max 6)

no later than May 1st, 2017

to Danijela Bucher (danijela.bucher@uzh.ch) and Miriam Volmert (miriam.volmert@khist.uzh.ch).

Final selection and notification to authors will be announced no later than July 31st, 2017.

Finished articles (ca. 30’000–40’000 characters including spaces, ca. 12–15 illustrations) should be submitted by 31st January 2018.

No royalty will be paid for any article. Authors are responsible for all reproduction right fees.


  • Danijela Bucher, lic phil, Doctorante en géographie et histoire de l’art

Inscrite en cotutelle de thèse entre l’Université d’Angers (UMR ESO) et l’Universität Zürich (Kunsthistorisches Institut)


  • Miriam Volmert, Dr. Historienne de l’art

Wissenschaftliche Assistentin

Universität Zürich (Kunsthistorisches Institut)



  • Monday, May 01, 2017


  • artiste, Grand Tour, voyage


  • danijela bucher
    courriel : danijela [dot] bucher [at] uzh [dot] ch

Information source

  • danijela bucher
    courriel : danijela [dot] bucher [at] uzh [dot] ch


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Travelling People, travelling objects », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, March 08, 2017, https://doi.org/10.58079/x5f

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