Collections and restoration of antiquities

During the early Renaissance, antique fragments of works of art began to be collected for purposes of study. Petrarch had a collection of medals and was considered a connoisseur. Mantegna displayed his statues in his garden. Important Florentine families, mostly bankers such as the Medici, became interested in patronizing the arts and architecture. Following the example of humanists and artists, they established collections of antique works of art, displaying them in their palaces and villas...

Modern historical consciousness

The period from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century marked a series of fundamental changes that founded the modern world, and together with it the modern concepts of history and cultural heritage. Many of these changes coincided in the second half of the eighteenth century, and had their roots in European cultural, scientific, political, and economic developments. Politically, the period was marked by absolutist rule, only superseded through drastic social and political changes, starting...

Renaissance architectural treatises

Apart from the buildings themselves, the most important source for the study of classical architecture was the treatise De Architectura by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, an architect and engineer who had held a position in the rebuilding of Rome during the reign of Augustus. The treatise was probably written before 27 B.C., and during the first century a.d. it seems already to have been a standard work. The text survived in various manuscripts during the Middle Ages, the oldest of which dates from...

Rediscovery of antiquity

The disintegration of the Roman Empire, and the gradual dissolution of the ancient world gave birth to Europe during the Middle Ages. This development was accompanied by the movement of tribes and populations around the continent. The Huns arrived from Asia, extending their dominion over a large part of eastern and central Europe in the fifth century. Successively, these areas were taken over by various other tribes. Beginning in the fourth century, and over a period of several centuries,...

Notes On Ancient Monument

Ruskin, in his Lamp of Memory, goes far beyond me in his conservatism so far, indeed, as to condemn, without exception, every attempt at restoration, as inevitably destructive to the life and truthfulness of an ancient monument . . . But, alas the damage is already effected the neglect of centuries and the spoiler's hand has already done its work and the building being something more than a monument of memory, being a temple dedicated, so long as the world...

Nordic countries

Sweden had been a forerunner in the inventory and protection of antiquities in the seventeenth century, but this had remained mainly an academic issue. After an attempt to revive protection in 1814, a new National Antiquary was appointed in 1828, J. G. Liljengren (1826-37), who brought the breath of German Romanticism, e.g., the description of Gothic structures by Friedrich von Schlegel and publications on Cologne Cathedral. The 1666 Ordinance was revised in 1828, followed by decrees in 1867,...

The Athens meetings

At the end of the First World War, the 1919 Paris Peace Conference gave birth to the League of Nations, an organization for international cooperation with its offices in Geneva. Within the new organization was established the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation, which met for the first time in Geneva in 1922 under the presidency of Henri Bergson (1859-1941). Considering the needs of cultural heritage, the Committee decided to create the International Museums Office, in 1926,...

Works of art

The History of Ancient Art, published in 1764, was an attempt to provide a textbook for the observation of classical works of art. Some of Winckelmann's earlier essays can be understood as a preparation for this, and include the description of the 'Vestals', who wore their clothes with 'noble freedom and soft harmony of the whole, without hiding the beautiful contour of their nakedness'.29 The Apollo of Belvedere represented to him the highest ideal Figure 3.4 The muscular body of the Torso of...

Trends in practice

Too often there is a gap between theoretical intent and practical execution, and the diverse influences mentioned above certainly add to the difficulty of interpreting conservation policies in practice. Authenticity is a basic concept in modern conservation, but its conventional reference has mainly been the genuine material documenting the different historical phases of a particular structure or place. Using the same word in another context can cause confusion. For example, the expression of...

The Arch of Titus

The Arch of Titus was erected after AD 81 by Emperor Domitian in memory of his deified elder brother, Titus, whose capture of Jerusalem was commemorated in the bas-reliefs of the Arch. The monument was originally built of white marble and had probably had a travertine core. During the Middle Ages, it had lost much of its material the bronze cramps holding the marbles had been removed and a brick structure had been added. Even if the Arch had only partially survived, the artistic Figure 4.6...

James Wyatt

James Wyatt Walpole

James Wyatt 1746-1813 , the most fashionable country-house architect in England after the Adam brothers, had succeeded Henry Keene 1726-76 at Oxford and at Westminster Abbey. He worked on the survey and improvements on the cathedrals of Salisbury in 1787-92, Lichfield in 1787-95 and, in 1788, Hereford where the west tower had collapsed two years earlier. Apart from structural and functional improvements, Wyatt and the Dean and Chapter generally aimed at the unification of the whole internal...

John Carter

John Carter Cathedral

The news of the proposed alterations to Durham Cathedral spread soon after Wyatt had presented his plans in September 1795. Already in October, 'Viator' wrote in the Gentleman's Magazine wondering that after all that had been said about Salisbury, Durham should also now be a target for destruction. On 26 November 1795, John Carter 1748-1817 presented at the Society of Antiquaries a set of still unfinished measured drawings of Durham Cathedral, commissioned by the Society the previous summer. He...

Stylistic restoration in Italy

Ancient Monuments Restoration

Legislation in Italy had mainly concerned classical monuments, but some orders had been established for the protection of mediaeval buildings since the fifteenth century.56 General practice had, however, followed the principle of completing buildings in the current style, as is shown by the many proposals for the west fronts of some major churches, Milan Cathedral, San Petronio of Bologna, Santa Croce and Florence Cathedral Wittkower, 1974 . The tradition of transforming historic buildings in...

Development of Austrian policies

In the few years that Riegl could work for the conservation of historic buildings in Austria-Hungary, his main attention was given to the promotion of due respect to the historic monuments in all their phases of transformation. The influence of French restoration, and of the construction of Cologne Cathedral, were felt also in Austria. Riegl was sufficiently pragmatic to accept compromises, and he considered pure conservation impossible. Even cleaning a painting was a modern intervention, and,...

The impact of Brandis thinking

The theory of Brandi has not lacked critics its focus on aesthetic values has created difficulties in applications on products with little or no aesthetic significance, or, similarly, comparing the requirements of the Italian artistic heritage with what is required in other parts of the world Iamandi, 1993 Scarrocchia, 1995 91 . The theory has been accused of placing major attention on the conservation of the 'image' rather than taking into account the whole structure, in particular concerning...

Past approaches to historic structures

What is today considered the physical cultural heritage of humanity results from long developments and traditional transfer of know-how in particular societies, as well as of influences and 'cross fertilization' between different cultures and civilizations. The oldest urban settlements were founded in Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and China, forming the world's culturally richest region that extended over to the Mediterranean. In this context of early kingdoms and empires there was a...