Tobias Locker will be giving a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Wednesday, May 4 at noon. His talk is entitled “Rococo for the Spanish Court: The Interiors of Mattia Gasparini in the European Context.”


Tobias Locker is an Adjunct Lecturer of Art History in the Humanities Department of the Pompeu Fabra University and at CIEE Barcelona, and will be a Visiting Fellow at Bard Graduate Center in May 2016. He received his PhD from the Technical University in Berlin and has taught at numerous institutions, including Liverpool University and Saint Louis University (Madrid campus). His research focuses on the decorative arts of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with a special interest in furniture, as well as on their nineteenth and twentieth century revivals in specific national contexts. His publications include a chapter in the book French Bronzes, entitled “A Prussian Manufactory of Gilt Bronzes à la Française: Johann Melchior Kambly (1718–84) and the Adoption of Parisian Savoir-Faire” (London: Archetype, 2014), and the article “The Baroque in the Construction of a National Culture in Francoist Spain: An Introduction” in Bulletin of Spanish Studies (Vol. 91.5, 2014).

In the second half of the eighteenth century, the Italian painter and decorator Matteo (or Mattia) Gasparini directed the creation of some exceptional Rococo interiors in the new Palacio Real constructed in Madrid for Charles III of Spain. These still relatively unknown ensembles comprise highly decorative marble floors, stucco ceilings, silk wall hangings, upholstery, small cabinets with wall-paneling in exotic woods, and veneered furniture with gilt bronze mounts. Taking the example of furniture, Locker will use archival sources to reconstruct the manufacturing process, identifying various participating foreign players and highlighting connections that link the campaign in Madrid with Italy, the German-speaking territories, and above all with France. Locker will also analyze Gasparini’s creations in the contemporary European context to show the importance of skilled foreign artists and artisans in expanding the production of luxury objects in Madrid. He will argue that Gasparini’s interiors attest to the persistence of the Rococo in Spain, in particular at royal courts, at a time when taste in other parts of Europe had already changed decisively towards Neoclassicism.