Restoration architects

In order to see better Boito's intentions it is useful to examine contemporary work by architects with whom he was in close contact. One was Alfonso Rubbiani (1848-1913), a journalist and artist who became a self-taught restoration architect, and worked for the 'embellishment' of Bologna. Rubbiani was well aware of French restoration theories, and often quoted from them in his writings (Mazzei, 1979). His idealized picture of mediaeval society was akin to William Morris' utopia, and his historical imagination was encouraged by Giosue Carducci (1835-1907), a poet inspired by heroic ideals. In 1913, Rubbiani published a pamphlet, Di Bologna riabbellita, to illustrate his aim to recreate a vision of the ancient Bologna like a dramatic and picturesque work of art. He worked on the basis of often scanty documentation; later additions were removed and replaced with mullioned windows, battlements and other 'typical' mediaeval features; much original was demolished and rebuilt. He worked on a great number of palaces and houses in Bologna: the Town Hall, Palazzo Re

Architectural Restoration Monuments

Enzo, and Palazzo dei Notai, San Francesco and the Loggia di Mercanzia. The critics especially questioned the necessity of this last work, insisting that the building was in perfect condition. In 1900 he was involved in a battle against the demolition of the city walls of Bologna, which were destroyed in order to provide work for unemployed masons. In 1898, he was a founding member of Aemilia Ars, modelled on the English Arts and Crafts, and helped found the Comitato per Bologna Storica ed Artistica, which published guidelines, in 1902, for the treatment of historic buildings with respect to their artistic, picturesque and historic features.

Rubbiani firmly believed in his vocation, and had the official approval for his projects, including that of Corrado Ricci, the Director General of Antiquities, Luca Beltrami and Camillo Boito. But criticism grew, and in 1910 Giuseppe Bacchelli (1849-1914), Member of Parliament, gave the final blow in publishing his pamphlet Giu le mani! dai nostri monumenti antichi ('hands off from our antique monuments'). Bacchelli argued that restoration, just because it must not go beyond the restitution of the antique, must be more science than art, and for the same reason it can never reach the art it pretends to imitate (Bacchelli, 1910). Rubbiani, instead, went beyond the limits of science, using his intuition and analogies in creating what were often fantasies. Bacchelli exclaimed: 'Oh Ruskin, Ruskin, how many times your help would be invoked to master our restorers too!' He concluded with the words of Gladstone: 'Hands off! Yes, hands off from our monuments. Let's conserve them with love, with tenderness, with the respect that we have for our parents: but let us not think of changing them. Above all let us not think of making them look younger. There is nothing worse than something old dyed and made to look younger!'29

Alfredo D'Andrade (1839-1915), an artist and architect of Portuguese origin, became a significant personality in Italian cultural life, director of the office responsible for the conservation of monuments in Piedmont and Liguria from 1886, and member of the Central Commission of Antiquities and Fine Arts in Rome from 1904. He was a member of State commissions for public buildings, planning

Figure 7.13 Fortified village designed by D'Andrade for the 1884 exhibition in Turin, using replicas in reduced scale from traditional buildings in Piedmont

and restorations, e.g., San Marco, Milan Cathedral, Castel Sant'Angelo, Vittorio Emanuele Monument in Rome, and he received many honours in Italy and abroad. In 1906, he chaired a commission to evaluate the first list for the protection of historic buildings in Italy, established in 1902. In his career, D'Andrade came to deal with a great variety of problems in the protection, conservation, restoration, awareness and improvement of historic structures, the type of heritage ranging from archaeological sites to churches, castles and ordinary residences (Cerri, 1981).

When he first arrived in Italy, his main interest was to prepare drawings and paintings of historic buildings, especially in the north of Italy. This gave him a thorough knowledge of the castellated architecture in the region, and, on the occasion of the 1884 Turin Exhibition, he supervised the construction of a little forti

Figure 7.14 Palazzo Madama, Turin, after restoration by D'Andrade who respected the three principal historical phases, i.e., Roman, mediaeval and Juvarra

fied village with copies of threatened historic buildings from the valley of Susa in a reduced scale. This exhibition, a dictionary a la Viollet-le-Duc, became a museum and helped greatly to raise awareness of the built heritage in Italy. He worked hard to protect and conserve such buildings, convincing the State to buy properties when these were threatened by destruction, such as the castles of Verres and Fenis, bought in 1894-1895. Both were subsequently restored by D'Andrade and his office.

D'Andrade was well aware of French restoration policy and practice, as well as of the principles of Boito. In many cases he followed Boito's guidelines to the letter when dealing with ancient Roman monuments, such as the remaining defence tower of Aosta, Torre di Pailleron. In the case of mediaeval or later buildings, instead, he could go more along the lines of Viollet-le-Duc, and simulate the original architecture both in form and in craftsmanship. When there was no trace or document available, lost parts were completed on the basis of the 'most probable' evidence found in other buildings in the region. This was the case, e.g., with castles, such as Castello Pavone which he bought for his own residence, many churches, and the mediaeval town gate of Genova, Porta Soprana. In Sacra di San Michele, which had been seriously damaged in an earthquake, he provided the church with flying buttresses in mediaeval style though these had never existed before, referring to examples in Vezelay, Dijon, Bourges, Amiens. The restoration of Palazzo Madama in Turin (from 1884), an ancient decuman gate, thirteenth-century fortress and a palace by Filippo Juvarra, consisted of careful research and stratigraphic excavation of the Roman period (displayed to the public), and the restoration and consolidation of the rest of the building, including the repair and cleaning of Juvarra's work. The mediaeval part was restored to its earlier appearance, removing some later additions.

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