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Camillo Boito: restoration of monuments and cultural heritage conservation in post-unification Italy

Mezzi, G. (2018) Camillo Boito: restoration of monuments and cultural heritage conservation in post-unification Italy. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

This dissertation considers the contribution of Camillo Boito (1836–1914) to the development of the theory and practice of architectural and monument restoration in Italy after the country’s unification in 1861. It considers the part Boito played in addressing the problems that the new country faced in restoring and maintaining the immense number of historic monuments and buildings that represented the new nation. At the same time this research looks at the challenge of preserving monuments within modernising urban environments tracing the conservation debate that was also emerging in the rest of nineteenth-century Europe. It examines the development of Boito’s ideas about cultural heritage conservation that culminated in what was his greatest achievement: the Charter of Restoration of 1883. It was a charter that provided a set of principles for a scientific approach to monument restoration and conservation. In looking at these principles, the dissertation considers the extent to which he drew on the ideas of other architects such as Pietro Selvatico, Tito Vespasiano Paravicini, Alfredo d´Andrade and Errico Alvino. Likewise, this research project considers the mutual international influences of Boito and other contemporaries of the British and French School of restoration and heritage conservation. In addition to considering Boito´s theoretical contribution to restoration and conservation, the dissertation also investigates his practice as a restorer in order to assess the relationship between theory and practice in his work. It considers his restoration of Porta Ticinese in Milan (1861) and the church of Saint Anthony in Padua (1898), arguing that his interventions stem from careful art historical study, but combined with a methodology of historiographical interpretation that allowed him a degree of architectural and compositional creativity. In contrast to the opinions expressed in the existing literature, which tend to criticise the creative aspect of the architect´s restoration, this dissertation reveals the objective and contextual motives behind the architect´s choices

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Davies, P.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Humanites
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > History
ID Code:84875

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