Piemontese Baroque Architecture Studies Fifty Years On, Roundtable at the European Architectural History Network Third International Meeting, Turin, Italy, 19-21 June 2014
The current decade marks the fiftieth anniversary of the great flowering of studies on Piedmontese Baroque architecture during the 1960s. Proceeding from pioneering works of the 1950s such as Rudolf Wittkower’s chapter “Architecture in Piedmont” in his Art and Architecture in Italy 1600-1750 (1958), or Paolo Portoghesi’s series of articles and brief monograph on Guarini (1956), international and local scholars like Henry Millon, Werner Oechslin, Mario Passanti, and Nino Carboneri produced an impressive array of publications on the period. Some of the milestones of this scholarly output include the architecture section of the exhibition Mostra del Barocco Piemontese (1963), Andreina Griseri’s Metamorfosi del Barocco (1967), and Richard Pommer’s Eighteenth-Century Architecture in Piedmont (1967). This scholarship culminated in major international conferences on Guarini (1968) and Vittone (1970), as well as the initiation of the Corpus Juvarrianum in 1979.
This roundtable aims to commemorate the golden age of studies on Piedmontese Baroque architecture through a critical assessment of the heritage of the 1960s. Have Griseri’s and Pommer’s “challenging” (Wittkower) concepts proven robust? Does a traditional geographic-stylistic designation remain fruitful for investigating a region whose two major architects built throughout Europe and whose ruling dynasty entered supraregional marriage alliances? Do recent interdisciplinary methodologies – drawing from fields like geography, sociology, or history of science – reframe the roles of agents like civic authorities, construction workers, or military engineers? Has new material evidence altered long-held assumptions?
Discussion positions may directly address historiography or methodology of the 1960s, or present alternative approaches in the form of case studies or new research projects that critically engage with this historic body of scholarship on Piedmontese Baroque architecture, urbanism, and landscape.
At its previous conferences, the EAHN did not highlight the architecture of the host region in dedicated panels. Turin, however, arguably presents an ideal venue for an international roundtable with regional focus: then as now, Piedmont is a major European crossroad for cultural influences from the Italian peninsula, France and Spain, northern Europe, and the former Hapsburg empire. Piedmontese Baroque architecture continues to occupy both local and international scholars, as demonstrated by the recent series of monographic conferences in Turin on architects like Alfieri, Garove, and Juvarra organized by the Bibliotheca Hertziana together with the Venaria Reale consortium. Breaking out of these monographic constraints, this roundtable will provide an opportunity to reflect on where the field has been during the past half century, as well as where it might go in the next fifty years.
Please consult the conference website for full details of the online abstract submission system: http://www.eahn2014.polito.it/index.html
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