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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

What Burckhardt Saw: Restoration and the Invention of the Renaissance, c.1840-1904
by Hayes, Matthew, Ph.D., New York University, 2017, 465; 10260428
Abstract (Summary)

Nineteenth-century scholars created a version of the Italian Renaissance that still shapes perceptions of the period, an “invention” that has been much studied. This dissertation considers instead the physical artworks of the Renaissance at that moment in historiography, exploring intersections between the writing of art history and the restoration of paintings from c. 1840 - 1904. Its first chapter presents the rediscovery of murals by Giotto in Florence, notably those in the Bardi and Peruzzi chapels of Santa Croce, vis-a-vis changes in textual definitions of the artist, and offers Jacob Burckhardt’s description of the art historical imagination as a contemporary model to describe restoration’s function. The second outlines conservation at the National Gallery in London under its first director, Charles Eastlake, who orchestrated a comprehensive and academic approach to the treatment of the museum’s acquisitions, largely Italian paintings. The third pairs the conservation histories of seven pictures associated with Titian, restored at various moments in the century, with scholarly responses that updated historical tropes for the works’ modern appearances – notably Joseph Crowe and Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle’s groundbreaking monograph on the artist. The fourth chapter discusses the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin as a Renaissance Museum and a collaborative project between its director, the art historian Wilhelm Bode, and the restorer Alois Hauser, Jr. Broadly considered, art history and restoration are found to have been closely and reciprocally related in the period. Scholarship both responded to restored pictures and determined pictures’ restorations.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rubin, Patricia, Marincola, Michele
Commitee: Christiansen, Keith, Ellis, Margaret H., Nagel, Alexander
School: New York University
Department: Fine Arts
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Art history
Keywords: Art historiography, Conservation history, Italian renaissance, Museum history, Nineteenth century
Publication Number: 10260428
ISBN: 978-0-355-12798-0
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