Born as part of a Europe-building process in the aftermath of WWII, the Council of Europe emerged, during the 1950s, as the leading intergovernmental organisation for cultural cooperation in Europe. This paper examines the Art Exhibitions held under its auspices in different western-European cities between 1954 and 1961. Presenting in chronological order the major artistic movements in Europe from the Renaissance to 1914, the exhibitions were quite successful in terms of public attendance, and became the most important institutional initiative in visualising the idea of European unity based on a shared cultural heritage.



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