Events And Opportunities

Romanesque Renaissance: Early Medieval Architecture as a Source for New all'antica Architecture in the 15th and 16th Centuries

International conference
Organized by Michael W. Kwakkelstein and Konrad Ottenheym
Florence, 22-23 September 2017

The revival of antique forms in 15th - and 16th -century architecture was, as is well known, above all a European phenomenon. This movement originated in Central Italy, but from the late 15th century onward, it spread to other centres in and outside of Italy. Sources of inspiration were not only the iconic Roman remains, which were catalogued in Serlio’s Book Three (1540) and Palladio’s Book Four (1570), but also local ruins and historic buildings in other parts of Europe. Some of these were of genuine antique origin (or even more ancient) others were in fact of late antique of even medieval date. For early modern humanists and artists it must have been difficult to distinguish Byzantine and Romanesque architecture from that of Roman antiquity. The scholarly concept of ‘Romanesque’ architecture and the stylistic tools enabling one to distinguish it from antique Roman architecture, date from the early 19th -century, not earlier. Traditional 20th -century art history mostly ignored buildings that were inspired by medieval sources. The present conference invites speakers to determine to what extent renaissance architecture inspired by medieval sources reflects an intellectual endeavour to produce all’antica architecture based on local sources. Questions that will be addressed include why patrons and architects preferred references to medieval sources above those antique, what did they know (or think they knew) of the history of these ancient buildings and what determined their choices?
SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
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