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Architectural History and Theory Seminar Series: Richard Wittman

Roman Architecture 1800-1850: An Alternative Modernity

This event is hybrid and will take place in person and online.


Richard Wittman, Professor, Department of the History of Art and Architecture University of California at Santa Barbara

Speaker bio

Richard Wittman is Professor in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is the author of Rebuilding St. Paul's Outside the Walls: Architecture and the Catholic Revival in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2024; Italian edition, Viella, 2023). His first book was Architecture, Print Culture, and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century France (Routledge, 2007; French trans. 2019).

Lecture abstract

Admirers and critics alike of Catholic theocracy have long conspired in perpetuating an image of early nineteenth-century Rome as a stubborn bulwark against all things modern. Rome figures in histories of nineteenth-century architecture, if at all, mainly as an inert backdrop for the Romantic reveries of northern visitors. A more critical examination, however, indicates that this picture is profoundly wrong, and that Roman architects were every bit as stimulated as their northern counterparts (if in slightly different ways) by the new anxieties and insights about history that were transforming contemporary architectural thought elsewhere. This paper will present this larger historiographical problem and propose the outline of a different approach to the topic.

Event details

2 Apr '24
In-person and online, open to all
Minto House, Elliot Room, 20-22 Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JZ
Richard Wittman