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Travelling for culture: the Grand Tour
Travelling for culture: the Grand Tour

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2 Portraits of the Grand Tour

This section on Art History was written by Clare Taylor

As you’ve already discovered, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries a classical education was at the core of elite learning, which was rooted in the study of Latin and Greek language and literature as well as ancient history and culture. The Grand Tour became part of this education in the classical world, and many of these tourists would already have been familiar with the ancient sites they were to visit from published accounts and illustrations. At the same time, the Grand Tour brought its tourists into contact with new and exciting ‘foreign’ places, people and objects. These cultural encounters with the unfamiliar – which could be both pleasurable and dangerous – had to be managed, and the art that might be produced in response to the Grand Tour – from paintings to sculptures, landscape gardens to interior decorations – was one way of doing so.