product description page

Global City : On the Streets of Renaissance Lisbon (Hardcover)

Global City : On the Streets of Renaissance Lisbon (Hardcover) - image 1 of 1

about this item

Awarded an Honorable Mention by The Eleanor Tufts Award. The Award Committee called the book a "transformative scholarly contribution."

Recently identified b the editors as the Rua Nova dos Mercadores, the principal commercial and financial street in Renaissance Lisbon, two sixteenth-century paintings, acquired by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in 1866, form the starting point for this portrait of a global city in the early modern period. Focusing on unpublished objects, and incorporating newly discovered documents and inventories that allow novel interpretations of the Rua Nova and the goods for sale on it, these essays offer a compelling and original study of a metropolis whose reach once spanned four continents.

The Rua Nova views painted by an anonymous Flemish artist portray an everyday scene on a recognizable street, with a diverse global population. This thoroughfare was the meeting point of all kinds of people, from rich to poor, slave to knight, indigenous Portuguese to Jews and diasporic black Africans.

The volume highlights the unique status of Lisbon as an entrepôt for curiosities, luxury goods and wild animals. As the Portuguese trading empire of the fifteenth and sixteenth century expanded sea-routes and networks from West Africa to India and the Far East, non-European cargoes were brought back to Renaissance Lisbon. Many rarities were earmarked for the Portuguese court, but simultaneously exclusive items were readily available for sale on the Rua Nova, the Lisbon equivalent of Bond Street or Fifth Avenue. Specialized shops offered West African and Ceylonese ivories, raffia and Asian textiles, rock crystals, Ming porcelain, Chinese and Ryukyuan lacquerware, jewelry, precious stones, naturalia and exotic animal byproducts. Lisbon was also a hub of distribution for overseas goods to other courts and cities in Europe. The cross-cultural and artistic influences between Lisbon and Portuguese Africa and Asia at this date will be reassessed.

Lisbon was imagined as the head of empire or caput mundi, while the River Tagus became the aquatic gateway to a globally connected world. Lisbon evolved into a dynamic Atlantic port city, excelling in shipbuilding, cartography and the manufacture of naval instruments. The historian Damião de Góis bragged of the “Tagus reigning over the world”. Lisbon’s fame depended on its river, an aquatic avenue that competed with the Rua Nova, providing a means of interaction, trade and communication along Lisbon’s coastline. Even for the cosmopolitan Góis, who traveled extensively for the Portuguese crown, Lisbon’s chaotic docks were worth describing. Of all the European cities he experienced, only Lisbon and her rival Seville could be “rightfully called Ladies and Queens of the Sea”. Góis contended that they had opened up the early modern world through circumnavigation.

Lisbon was destroyed in a devastating e
Number of Pages: 295.0
Genre: Art
Sub-Genre: History
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Casemate Pub & Book Dist Llc
Language: English
Street Date: December 19, 2015
TCIN: 51261810
UPC: 9781907372889
Item Number (DPCI): 248-18-2783

guest reviews

Prices, promotions, styles and availability may vary by store & online. See our price match guarantee. See how a store is chosen for you.