Jean Boutier
History, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
The Grand Tour of European Nobilities: New Questions for a History of Material Culture, 1680–1780


Thursday, October 31, 2013


12:00 pm – 1:30 pm


38 West 86th Street

Open to BGC faculty, staff, and students only.


Jean Boutier will be giving a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Thursday, October 31, 2013, from 12:00 to 1:30pm. His talk is entitled “The Grand Tour of European Nobilities: New Questions for a History of Material Culture, 1680–1780.” 

Jean Boutier is Directeur d’Études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Marseille. From 2002–2011, he was Director of the Norbert Elias Centre in Social Sciences. Boutier received his PhD from the École des Hautes Études and is a renowned scholar of comparative social history of early modern Europe. His published works span a wide range of subjects, dealing with the main social, political, and cultural dynamics of European society. Boutier’s recent publications have focused on the transformations of the Italian society and state (Florence et la Toscane: XIVe-XIXe siècles: les dynamiques d'un État italien, Rennes, 2004) and the growth of Italian urban elite into European aristocrats and the development of new political practices and culture (La politique par correspondence: Les usages politiques de la lettre en Italie (XIVe-XVIIIe siècle), Rennes, 2009). He is currently working on a comparative study of the European nobilities through the Grand Tour in the 16th through18th centuries.

Boutier’s talk will present an iconographical examination of two paintings by Giovanni Paolo Panini, a famous 18th century Roman painter. Both paintings present imaginary landscapes of ancient Rome. The popularity of these paintings with French and British travelers of the Grand Tour cannot be explained only by the use of aesthetic categories like ‘rococo caprice.’ It can be understood rather in relation to new cultural practices of the European aristocracies during the 18th century, closely linked to the Grand Tour. These practices promoted the production of new kinds of artistic objects, which would penetrate the domestic aristocratic space throughout Europe.

Brown Bag Lunch