Since the antiquity, and up to modern times, the portraits of famous men have been a long-term topos of Western figurative art. The collection of portraits in private as well as in public contexts was the peculiar expression of a cultural ritual, and a symbol of embodied memory. The location of single portraits, or series of portraits, once hosted in homes, galleries of European courts, academies, libraries of scholars, when transferred into modern museums, inevitably losing their former significance with the loss of original context, has often acquired new characteristics. The series of portraits mirrored the different political, ideological, cultural values of courts and national states until the rise of republican governments, where the famous men portraits confirmed their specific function of exempla virtutis. Almost simultaneously, in the course of the Eighteenth century, the iconographic theme of the illustrious men had a strong revival in various European countries : for example in France, with the birth of the National Panthéon; in England, in Westminster Abbey; in Germany, with the Walhalla; in Italy, in the church of Santa Croce in Florence, and later with the rebirth of the Agrippa Pantheon in Rome. During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries the continuation - or rather the transformation - of the "virorum illustrium" humanistic tradition became increasingly pregnant with some common features of national identity. In this paper I will put the question, through some specific examples, whether such kind of painted and sculptured historical portraits may still represent - in their materiality of artistic objects - a valid symbolic and ethical code of exempla virtutis, as originally designed to create and motivate a lasting cultural system of power.

The Portrait. From private object of art to Symbol of Collective Memory, 2013-02.

The Portrait. From private object of art to Symbol of Collective Memory

Casini, Tommaso
2013-02

Abstract

Since the antiquity, and up to modern times, the portraits of famous men have been a long-term topos of Western figurative art. The collection of portraits in private as well as in public contexts was the peculiar expression of a cultural ritual, and a symbol of embodied memory. The location of single portraits, or series of portraits, once hosted in homes, galleries of European courts, academies, libraries of scholars, when transferred into modern museums, inevitably losing their former significance with the loss of original context, has often acquired new characteristics. The series of portraits mirrored the different political, ideological, cultural values of courts and national states until the rise of republican governments, where the famous men portraits confirmed their specific function of exempla virtutis. Almost simultaneously, in the course of the Eighteenth century, the iconographic theme of the illustrious men had a strong revival in various European countries : for example in France, with the birth of the National Panthéon; in England, in Westminster Abbey; in Germany, with the Walhalla; in Italy, in the church of Santa Croce in Florence, and later with the rebirth of the Agrippa Pantheon in Rome. During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries the continuation - or rather the transformation - of the "virorum illustrium" humanistic tradition became increasingly pregnant with some common features of national identity. In this paper I will put the question, through some specific examples, whether such kind of painted and sculptured historical portraits may still represent - in their materiality of artistic objects - a valid symbolic and ethical code of exempla virtutis, as originally designed to create and motivate a lasting cultural system of power.
Inglese
set-2012
The challenge of the object: 33rd congress of the International Committee of the History of Art
33
Nuremberg
2012
internazionale
contributo
The challenge of the object: 33rd congress of the International Committee of the History of Art, Nuremberg, 15th - 20th July 2012
Großmann, Georg Ulrich; Krutisch, Petra
357
359
3
978-3-936688-64-1
Germany
Nuremberg
Verlag des Germanischen Nationalmuseums
comitato scientifico
A stampa
Settore L-ART/04 - Museologia e Critica Artistica e del Restauro
1
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10808/8853
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