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Fine but liberal: the Roman revolution and the art scene of Rome (1846-1849)

Antognozzi, Tiziano (2016) Fine but liberal: the Roman revolution and the art scene of Rome (1846-1849). Advisor: Pellegrini, Prof. Emanuele. Coadvisor: Griswold, Prof. Wendy . pp. 443. [IMT PhD Thesis]

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This work intends to offer a contribution to the history of the artistic scene of Rome in the 19th century alongside the decline and fall of the Catholic theocratic regime in the Papal States by focusing on a specific moment of the city’s history known as the “Roman Revolution”, namely the years that went from the election of Pius IX (June 16, 1846) to the end of the Roman Republic (July 3, 1849). Indeed, the new Pope brought an unprecedented opening to active citizenship which is legit to identify as a cohesive mobilization of society due to the fall of access barriers to active citizenship and the flourishing of new opportunities for participation. By simultaneously studying how the mobilization impacted the artists and how the artists interacted with the same, this work confides to provide an entirely fresh perspective regarding the social identity of the Roman artistic scene. The most original contribution to this history is here represented by the fortunate retrieval of the Pontifical Civic Guard archive, a urban militia enacted by Pius IX formed by middle-to-upper classes that, initially enacted for safe-keeping, eventually turned into radical agency and strongly determined the political agenda in its escalation towards national war. The Civic Guard registers which are analyzed in this study offered not only wide informations in regards to a “static” picture of the Roman bourgeoisie as it was by Summer 1847, but also to an “active” one, given that every specific involvement of individuals in the corp was also recorded. Assuming that at the intersection between these two order of informations lies the very core of what the Roman artists have been doing with the first, real chance to be active citizens within a participative political environment, such collective data forms a consistent framework within which explicit cultural statements in the forms of text, images and memberships may be addressed in well grounded terms. Divided in three parts, each one respectively analyzing the 1846-1849 period in terms of political history, sociological analysis of the cultural scene and social history of arts, this dissertation shows that the mobilization and its cultural objects had a deep and permanent repercussion on the Roman scene. A transversal reading of the artworks here analyzed alongside the collective findings emerged from the Civic registers and other associative mechanisms, highlights the evidence for which the Roman Revolution brought to surface substantial differences inside the scene in the form of active process of discriminations mostly engendered by religion and nationalism. Such findings, according to the author, suggests to look at the 1848 watershed in the history of Italian arts under a different light: not only the “close-fit” assumption between political and artistic decadence of the Roman scene emerges as a poorly detailed explanation for the emergence of new pictorial styles, careers management and public’s reception of artworks; more than looking at these same developments as byproducts of market logics or of the emergence of further teleological narrative of “forms exclusive” progressive discourses (for an instance, the so-called “pittori soldato” and their production), more urgent questions are awaiting investigations in regards to the actual collective and individual interests in the Risorgimento endeavor by professionals in the arts, as also in social struggles. Whereas appearing as an “Italian patriot” became rapidly a fashionable strategy in promoting one artists’ production and identity after the 1848-1849, this dissertation presents instead several cases in which images and actions engendered some divergent and possible even opposing scenarios.

Item Type: IMT PhD Thesis
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
PhD Course: Management and Development of Cultural Heritage
Identification Number: 10.6092/imtlucca/e-theses/283
NBN Number: urn:nbn:it:imtlucca-27308
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2019 14:26
URI: http://e-theses.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/283

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