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The Mediterranean is an invented cultural space, on the frontier between North and South, West and East. Modern Art and the Idea of the Mediterranean examines the representation of this region in the visual arts since the late eighteenth century, placing the 'idea of the Mediterranean' - a cultural construct rather than a physical reality - at the centre of our understanding of modern visual culture.
This collection of essays features an international group of scholars who examine competing visions of the Mediterranean in terms of modernity and cultural identity, questioning and illuminating both European and non-European representations. An introductory essay frames the analysis in terms of a new spatial paradigm of the Mediterranean as a geographic, historical, and cultural region that emerged in the late eighteenth century, as France and Britain colonized the surrounding territories. Essays are grouped around three vital themes: visualization of the space of the new Mediterranean; varied uses of the classical paradigm; and issues of identity and resistance in an age of modernity and colonialism. Drawing on recent geographical, historical, cultural and anthropological studies, contributors address the visual representation of identity in both the European and the 'Oriental,' the colonial and post-colonial Mediterranean.