Crociere e lunette in Sicilia e in Italia meridionale nel XVI secolo : dalla costruzione gotica all'affermazione di un modello peninsulare

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If studies of the history of architecture often prefer the “avant-garde” and extraordinary cases, in certain contexts equally important aspects for historiography can be found through an assessment of continuity, repetitions, and serial productions. The reasons for persevering with or proposing certain solutions again and again are not always the most obvious or may be worthy of further investigation on the relevance of some elements as opposed to others. Reviewing the parameters for interpretation and the context of reference can reveal the groundlessness of some alleged anachronisms and closer scrutiny may reveal that seemingly passive repetition may at times hide an unexpected degree of diversification and plurality within a given type which is the result of subsequent refine-ments involving specifically the technical and construction aspects.The main task of a historian, as George Kubler wrote, is “the discovery of the manifold shapes of time.” This, inter alia, involves the ability to draw meaning from a tradition as well as the observation of change and permanence. Overall, the construction of vaults in the early Modern Age in Southern Italy is a field of research that has been only partially explored and which is ridden with implications. Construction techniques, materials, organization of the yard, on the one hand, and preferences, whether formal or laden with symbolic values, virtuosism, prevailing fashions and emulation phenomena, on the other, create a rich and ever-changing landscape that at times features solutions that break away from the models and the formal logic governing the rest of the structures of a same building. Though the pursuit of firmitas makes the design choices implemented in this specific field particularly del-icate, it did not however inhibit experimentation and at times even the seemingly sudden appearance of disruptive innovations. Nevertheless, serial productions and the longevity of some solutions are certainly among the major characteristics of the topic at hand. Inertia, whether real or apparent, the places and conditions of its manifestation, the ways and time in which a new “series” becomes mainstream are the subject of a critical reflection that aims to clarify the reasons and dynamics of both what was preserved and what was changed. This book deals with the issues I have briefly outlined focusing in particular on Sicily, while extending our gaze to stories that lend themselves to a comparison in other areas of southern Italy and its islands (Calabria, Puglia, and Sardinia), including the island of Malta in the early days of the establishment of the order of the Knights of St John. The elements bluntly enunciated in the title of the book, namely rib vaults and lunettes, mark the two opposite ends of our discourse, involving distinct formal solutions and techniques that also refer to different cultural and ge-ographical models and areas of reference. While in the former case the sixteenth-century series are the result of a long path that particularly in Sicily spanned the three previous centuries and concentrated the most significant and still topical applications above all in the first thirty years of the sixteenth century, in the case of the cloister vault with lunettes, it first appeared in Sicily in the last decade of the fifteenth century and would reach its climax around the middle of the next century. The long-standing popularity of the rib vault as well as the progressive spreading of cloister vaults, as a technical and formal alternative, can also be found in other regions of southern
Lingua originaleItalian
Numero di pagine113
ISBN (stampa)978-88-98546-59-6
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2016

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