A Sea of Cultures

Exhibition image

We tend to think of the waters of the Mediterranean as a negative space, around which the sprawling landscapes of North Africa, the historic regions of Byzantium and the Levant, and the Iberian, Italian, and Greek peninsulas with their attendant islands, all cluster. But what medieval ceramics tell us is that the reality is in fact the total opposite. Nowhere are the interconnections between the disparate territories of our ancestors more pronounced and infused into everyday life than in the tradition of pottery, one of mankind's oldest artforms. Vessels in an incredible variety of shapes, sizes and designs were traded right across the Mediterranean basin throughout the Middle Ages, and in the period covered by this exhibition and its accompanying catalogue (the 12th to 16th centuries) they were not only a crucial part of marine trade but also of profound influence both on the cultures who made them, and on those who received and consumed them. As objects that had a presence in some form in each and every civic building, religious space, and private household, they tell the story of the Mediterranean and its connected communities more vividly than any other artform human hands and creativity have produced. The forty-three objects brought together in A Sea of Cultures are, therefore, key players in a web of connecting threads that have bound the lands around the Mediterranean together over the centuries, and reveal a stunningly complex language of human creativity that still has the power to arrest us today.

21 April - 20 May 2022

View more

TEFAF 2023

MECC Maastricht
9 - 19 March 2023

Master Drawings from the Middle Ages

Master Drawings from the Middle Ages brings together a group of vanishingly rare early European drawings all executed in a period spanning the years 1160 to 1520. Th…
Les Enluminures
20 January - 4 February 2023

Frieze Masters

The Regent's Park
12 - 16 October 2022

Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association

Saatchi Gallery
15 - 18 September 2022

Animals & Other Beasts

26 May - 8 July 2022

TEFAF 2022

MECC Maastricht
25 - 30 June 2022

The Medieval Body

Luhring Augustine
21 January - 12 March 2022

Frieze Masters 2021

Regent's Park
13 - 17 October 2021

Get updates about exhibitions, art fairs and events

Shopping Bag

No items found
Sam Fogg
Art of the Middle Ages