During the last two decades of the nineteenth century the church of Daphni met a large number of changes: transformed into a museum after a period in which it was used as mental hospital, badly damaged by serious earthquakes in 1886 and 1889, the monastery in this period underwent a series of restorations. Thanks to the careful surveys carried out in those years by Greek and foreign scholars such as Georgios Lampakis, Gabriel Millet, Sidney Barnsley and Robert Weir Schultz, we are able to follow in some detail the development of the restoration works. Exceedingly useful also are some photographs, part of them published, that show the state of health of the mosaics before and after the interventions of the restorers. Definitively less known is otherwise the contribution of some Italian mosaicists (Giuseppe Bonanno Zuccaro, Carlo Novelli, Francesco Novo) that the Greek government called to work in the Daphni workshop. Some unpublished documents kept in the Archivio Centrale dello Stato in Rome throw light on these mosaic workers, whose education had been accomplished upon the scaffoldings of the churches of Ravenna and Venice. In this contribution particular attention will be paid to Carlo Novelli, a painter and mosaicist sent from Ravenna to Athens in the first months of 1889, that left us a lot of very detailed reports about the conservative condition of the mosaics of Daphni. This first hand information will be compared with contemporary textual, graphic and photographic sources, in order to ascertain the extent of the restorations and the working methods of the mosaicists involved in the restoration campaigns.

From Ravenna to Athens: Italian Restorers of the Mosaic of Daphni at the End of the 19th Century

PARIBENI, ANDREA
2015-01-01

Abstract

During the last two decades of the nineteenth century the church of Daphni met a large number of changes: transformed into a museum after a period in which it was used as mental hospital, badly damaged by serious earthquakes in 1886 and 1889, the monastery in this period underwent a series of restorations. Thanks to the careful surveys carried out in those years by Greek and foreign scholars such as Georgios Lampakis, Gabriel Millet, Sidney Barnsley and Robert Weir Schultz, we are able to follow in some detail the development of the restoration works. Exceedingly useful also are some photographs, part of them published, that show the state of health of the mosaics before and after the interventions of the restorers. Definitively less known is otherwise the contribution of some Italian mosaicists (Giuseppe Bonanno Zuccaro, Carlo Novelli, Francesco Novo) that the Greek government called to work in the Daphni workshop. Some unpublished documents kept in the Archivio Centrale dello Stato in Rome throw light on these mosaic workers, whose education had been accomplished upon the scaffoldings of the churches of Ravenna and Venice. In this contribution particular attention will be paid to Carlo Novelli, a painter and mosaicist sent from Ravenna to Athens in the first months of 1889, that left us a lot of very detailed reports about the conservative condition of the mosaics of Daphni. This first hand information will be compared with contemporary textual, graphic and photographic sources, in order to ascertain the extent of the restorations and the working methods of the mosaicists involved in the restoration campaigns.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2637873
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