Nuno Senos will be coming to speak in the Seminar in Cultural History Wednesday, November 10, 2010, on “A Ducal Inventory in Sixteenth-Century Portugal: From the Caribbean to China.”

Nuno Senos is the Resident Director of the Council on International Educational Exchange Study Center in Lisbon and Associate Researcher at the Centro de História de Além-Mar in the Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, where he is Project Manager for the research group dedicated to The Arts and the Portuguese Empire (since 2006). He received his B.A. and M.A. from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, in History and Art History (1996 & 2000) and Ph.D. from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts (2006). He has been the recipient of a number of awards and fellowships including, the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia Post-Doctoral Fellowship in 2007, the American Academy of Franciscan Studies Dissertation Fellowship in 2005 and 2006, and Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Spanish and Latin American Art History, from 2003 to 2005.

Dr. Senos is the author of O Paço da Ribeira. 1501-1581 (2002), a history of the former royal palace of Lisbon, and has contributed to numerous books and exhibition catalogues including, “Buildings at war: Franciscan architecture in colonial Brazil” in The Arts of South America, 1492-1850 (2010); “‘Uma abominável guerra civil’: arquitectura franciscana no Brasil colonial” in Matrizes da Arquitectura Cristã (2009); “A igreja do convento de São Francisco de Portalegre: história de um edifício” in Igreja do convento de São Francisco: arquitectura (2008); “The Arts of Brazil Before the Golden Age” in Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the Sixteenth and Seventeen Centuries (2007); and “The Art of Silver in Colonial Brazil” in The Arts of Colonial Latin America, (2006).

Dr. Senos’s talk is entitled, “A Ducal Inventory in Sixteenth-Century Portugal: From the Caribbean to China.” Following the death of Teodosio, the 5th duke of Braganza, in 1563, an inventory of the contents of his most important palace, in Vila Viçosa was made. In over 600 pages and about 6300 entries, the complete contents of the duke’s and his family’s possessions is listed, from his clothes, furniture and tapestries, to the buttons in his shirts and his pots and pans. A collective research project was put together to analyze various aspects of this incredibly rich document, the largest surviving 16th-century Portuguese inventory and an extraordinary source of information of all kinds. This paper references several theoretical and methodological issues the research group had to face and solve, and presents a statistical and critical summary of the inventory’s contents, focusing especially on the entries that relate to the Portuguese empire. These include objects whose origins span from China to the Caribbean, as well as maps, books and a number of scientific instruments that provide us information about the empire. Finally, this paper analyzes the nature of the duke’s “imperial” belongings and their placement inside his palace in light of the idea of the wünderkammer, which was emerging at the time.

Please RSVP and join us in the Lecture Hall at 38 West 86th Street, between Columbus Ave and Central Park West, at 5:45pm for a reception before the talk.