In the mirror of the past, rediscovering identity and form in antiquity. ‘Lombardy’ between the Renaissance and the Neo-Renaissance

15-17 March 2022

15-17 March 2022

The aim of the conference is to examine a crucial phase in European culture between the 19th and 20th centuries, when the Renaissance became a model to be followed and imitated, giving rise to new architectural and decorative ‘styles’ and languages.

The importance of a parallel and comparative study between the historical, artistic and literary history of the 15th and 16th centuries and their reinterpretation and reinterpretation in the 19th and 20th centuries has been highlighted by several scholars. Although the study of the history of architecture has marked a sort of primacy in the definition of nineteenth-century revivalism, and the comparison between fifteenth-century Italian architecture and contemporary European architecture has directly contributed to the very formation and definition of the term Renaissance, it seems essential to address this cultural phenomenon through an in-depth, interdisciplinary analysis.

The selected example to analyse this revival is ‘Lombardy’ in the extended sense. In this geographical area, between Milan and Canton Ticino, a renewed ruling class is defining itself in parallel with the need to self-represent itself by establishing its own identity anchored to an authoritative past.

The conference hopes that, through a privileged perspective on Milan and Canton Ticino, it will be possible to spark off a comparison within a framework of cultural history that is as broad as possible, where, through the intersection of different points of view, it will be possible to focus on the multiple dialectics between the invention of the mythical Renaissance as a “European lieu de mémoire” and the “reshaping of a nineteenth-century present perceived as profoundly problematic” (Lina Bolzoni, Alina Payne, Introduction, in The Italian Renaissance in the 19th century.  Revision, Revival, and Return, ed. by L. Bolzoni and A. Payne, Florence-Milan, 2018).

The conference is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and is part of the research project “In the mirror of the past: rediscovering identity and form in antiquity. The graphic corpus of Tito Vespasiano Paravicini between Renaissance and Neo-Renaissance”, conducted at SUPSI-Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana, by Roberta Martinis and Edoardo Rossetti (

The full program for this event, which takes place in Italian, can be found here.

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