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In the mirror of the past: rediscovering identity and form in antiquity. The graphic corpus of Tito Vespasiano Paravicini between Renaissance and Neo-Renaissance

English title In the mirror of the past: rediscovering identity and form in antiquity. The graphic corpus of Tito Vespasiano Paravicini between Renaissance and Neo-Renaissance
Applicant Martinis Roberta
Number 185344
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Dipartimento Ambiente Construzioni e Design Scuola universitaria professionale della Svizzera
Institution of higher education University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland - SUPSI
Main discipline Architecture and Social urban science
Start/End 01.06.2019 - 31.10.2022
Approved amount 305'790.00
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Keywords (17)

Patronage; Architecture 19th century; Tito Vespasiano Paravicini; Sforza; Lombardy; Architecture 15th century; Ticino; Milan; Renaissance architecture; National identity; Lugano; Neorenaissance architecture; Palaces; Sketchbooks; Visconti; Renaissance revival; Architectural drawings

Lay Summary (Italian)

Lead
Materia e occasione della ricerca è un inedito corpus di disegni risalenti agli ultimi decenni del XIX secolo, ritraenti edifici rinascimentali della Lombardia e del Canton Ticino, opera dell’architetto Tito Vespasiano Paravicini (1830-1899), conservato presso la Biblioteca Ambrosiana di Milano.
Lay summary

Soggetto e obiettivo

La produzione grafica di Paravicini risulta un campione di materiale inedito su cui sperimentare un sistema di studio che si pone contemporaneamente come obiettivi principali:

- riscoprire fonti figurative indispensabili a fare luce su capitoli poco noti o sconosciuti dell’architettura rinascimentale e neo-rinascimentale lombarda e ticinese;

- ricostruire come il clima culturale di fine Ottocento tra il Canton Ticino e Milano si inserisce in un più complesso movimento europeo di rilettura del Rinascimento, non solo ai fini di un revival stilistico, ma come costruzione di una moderna identità;

- evidenziare – in un dialogo interdisciplinare con altre aree culturali (letteratura, storia, storia culturale, storia della musica) – l’importanza di studi comparativi tra un’epoca e la sua ricezione nei secoli seguenti.

Contesto socio-scientifico

Questo studio analitico si inquadra in una problematica e in una prospettiva più ampia, in una fase cruciale della storia e della cultura europea, tra Otto e Novecento, quando il Rinascimento diventa un modello da seguire e imitare, creando nuovi linguaggi architettonici, ma anche un mezzo per definire moderne identità. In questo contesto storico, lo studio e il rilievo degli edifici del XV e XVI secolo, spesso in via di demolizione o di radicale rielaborazione, diventano cruciali. Il risultato della produzione grafica del XIX secolo su questi temi è duplice: da un lato testimonia l’aspetto di edifici rinascimentali che stanno per scomparire, dall’altro è funzionale alla messa a punto di cataloghi di modelli ed elementi decorativi utili alla pratica degli architetti moderni. Questo studio intende affrontare in parallelo entrambe le valenze, in una prospettiva innovativa, per arricchire sia le conoscenze sul Rinascimento, sia quelle sulla visione ottocentesca del passato.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 11.05.2019

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
The object of the research is to study an unpublished corpus of drawings, dating from the last decades of the 19th century, which depicts Renaissance buildings in Lombardy and Canton Ticino, by the architect Tito Vespasiano Paravicini (1830-1899), kept in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan.
Lay summary
Topic and aim

In this context, the graphic production of Paravicini provides a sample of unpublished material on which to experiment a system of study. The project’s major objectives are:

- to rediscover figurative sources indispensable to shedding light on little known or unknown chapters of Renaissance and neo-Renaissance Lombard and Ticinese architecture;

- to reconstruct how the cultural climate of the late 19th century in Canton Ticino and Milan forms part of a more complex European movement of reinterpreting the Renaissance, not only for the purposes of a stylistic revival, but as the construction of a modern identity;

- to bring out – in an interdisciplinary dialogue with other cultural areas (literature, history, cultural history, history of music, etc.) – the importance of comparative studies between an age and its reception in the following centuries.

Social scientific context

This analytical study is embedded within a more complex set of issues and opens up broader prospects, concerning a crucial stage of European history and culture, between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the Renaissance became a model to follow and imitate, creating new architectural languages as well as a means of defining modern identities. In this historical context, it was important to study and survey buildings from the 15th and 16th century, which were often subject to demolition or radical reworking. The result of the 19th-century graphic production on these issues was twofold: on the one hand it recorded the appearance of Renaissance buildings that were then about to disappear and on the other it was functional to the development of catalogues of models and decorative elements useful for the practice of modern architects. This study intends to deal with both values in parallel, adopting an innovative perspective, to enrich both our knowledge of the Renaissance and of the 19th-century vision of the past.


Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 11.05.2019

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Abstract

The object of the research is to study an unpublished corpus of drawings, dating from the last decades of the 19th century, which depicts Renaissance buildings in Lombardy and Canton Ticino. This analytical study is embedded within a more complex set of issues and opens up broader prospects, concerning a crucial stage of European history and culture, between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the Renaissance became a model to follow and imitate, creating new architectural languages as well as a means of defining modern identities. In this historical context, it was important to study and survey buildings from the 15th and 16th century, which were often subject to demolition or radical reworking. The result of the 19th-century graphic production on these issues was twofold: on the one hand it recorded the appearance of Renaissance buildings that were then about to disappear and on the other it was functional to the development of catalogues of models and decorative elements useful for the practice of modern architects. This study intends to deal with both values in parallel, adopting an innovative perspective, to enrich both our knowledge of the Renaissance and of the 19th-century vision of the past. The subject and occasion of the research is the rediscovery of this corpus of unpublished drawings by the architect Tito Vespasiano Paravicini (1830-1899), kept in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, with a thousand items comprising sketches, building surveys and architectural elevations, dating from between 1870 and 1890. The drawings are of the highest quality and the building surveys were conducted with a rigorous scientific method that makes this production highly distinctive. They have not yet been studied and, in addition to revealing a still submerged world, they reveal a further, strongly political dialectic. The research will not be limited to the analysis and publication of this set of drawings, which is in itself a challenging task, since some of the buildings are still unidentified. Studying Paravicini’s work, in a region with very strong and homogeneous geographical coordinates (Lombardy and Ticino), will offer an extremely significant sample of a broader phenomenon, that of the European neo-Renaissance and the systematic practice of building the present through the authoritativeness of the past. Goals of the project are: to explore the historical-cultural context in which the Lombard and Ticino neo-Renaissance was formed and developed by focusing on an important figure and his work; to define the various levels of relations between the study of the past and the formation of new architectural languages; to use Paravicini’s work to increase our knowledge of the Renaissance buildings that were the model of his research. The research will: use unpublished archival documents to identify, study and catalogue 19th-century graphic surveys of Renaissance monuments, many of which are now lost; create a cataloguing system for the architectural material to enable comparison of ancient and Renaissance models, as well as their study or reuse in the 19th century.
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