Re | Visiting Piedmontese Baroque Architecture

Resources from Study Tour, EAHN 2014

Piedmont tour coverThe European Architectural History Network Third International Meeting (Turin, Politecnico di Torino, 19-21 June 2014) offered a rich program of twenty-one conference tours, among these the two-day Re | Visiting Piedmontese Baroque Architecture.  This study tour presented key monuments as seen through the historiographic lens of earlier scholarly exploration of Baroque Piedmont.
As a permanent resource for tour participants and others interested in the topic, this page archives supporting material from the tour as PDF and JPEG downloads. In addition, a Google Map documents the principal stations of the tour (red placemarks for day 1, blue for day 2), and a separate page of selected links leads to further reliable, content-rich web resources on most of the sites.

Tour Abstract
In connection with the EAHN 2014 roundtable “Piedmontese Baroque Architecture Studies Fifty Years On”, chaired by Susan Klaiber, this two-day tour draws on the conceptual and actual itineraries through Piedmont of scholars such as A. E. Brinckmann, Rudolf Wittkower, and others. Beginning with the “Crown of Delights” encircling Turin – the Savoy suburban residences – the buildings that made the critical fortune of Piedmontese Baroque dot the region surrounding the capital with impressive achievements by architects such as Ascanio Vitozzi, Carlo and Amedeo di Castellamonte, Michelangelo Garove, Filippo Juvarra, Bernardo Vittone, Benedetto Alfieri, down to Costanzo Michela and Francesco Gallo. These buildings range from rich churches and palaces, through parish or confraternity churches achieved with modest means, to representative town halls or charitable hospitals. The works embody issues of patronage, design, and theory that intrigued scholars such as Brinckmann, Paolo Portoghesi, and Richard Pommer.


Day 1: Sunday, 22 June 2014

From the official to the vernacular: royal works and Guarinesque rarities

Our paragone between the central and the local in Piedmont’s baroque architecture will fittingly start with an overview of Venaria Reale in the (early) morning, where we will be reminded of the large scale, overreaching ambition, and oscillating models of the royal works from the 1660s onwards. Driving towards Aglié and the rural region of the Canavese, we will be confronted with what is apparently the opposite. Our first visit will be to Santa Marta: a “Guarinesque rarity” (Pommer), and ideal introduction to the small-town patronage and institutions that will also accompany us in Strambino (parish church by Rana), Foglizzo, and Montanaro (“Guarinesque” church, 17th c.; town hall and tower, Vittone). On our way back, at the puzzling Abbazia di Fruttuaria (1770s reconstruction by Vittone & Quarini) we will face the contradictory survival (?) of more “formal” Roman models, as official representation – Archbishop Carlo Vittorio Amedeo Ignazio delle Lanze – establishes, again, control over local devotions.

Day 2: Monday, 23 June 2014

Did Turin really “suffocate” Piedmont? Mondovì, Vicoforte, Carignano

The historian Giovanni Levi, in a celebrated 1985 essay (“Come Torino soffocò il Piemonte”), saw in the establishment of Turin as capital of the administrative, centralized state, the “beginning of the end” of local social and cultural autonomies of the surrounding region. Mondovì, Carignano, and Vicoforte, are good destinations to consider, and question, this interpretation in relation to architecture. Andrea Pozzo, Giovenale Boetto, Bernardo Vittone, and Benedetto Alfieri built masterworks in these towns that are no less significant than their buildings in Turin. Exceptions? Is it possible that religious orders, bankers, and even branches of the ruling dynasty, could have access to sites and situations more privileged than the cramped spaces available within Turin’s city limits?

Tour leaders:
Pino Dardanello, Susan Klaiber, Edoardo Piccoli

Tour organizers:
Roberto Caterino, Susan Klaiber, Walter Leonardi, Edoardo Piccoli

Vallinotto low res R_CaterinoBernardo Antonio Vittone, Santuario della Visitazione, Vallinotto, 1738-9, interior view of dome
Photograph: Roberto Caterino (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

● Tour description and itinerary
● Maps:

Brinckmann 1931
Wittkower 1958
Society of Architectural Historians 1988

● A. E. Brinckmann, Theatrum Novum Pedemontii (Düsseldorf: Schwann, 1931): introduction, pp. 7-15. (also as draft English translation)
● Rudolf Wittkower July 1958 Piedmontese Baroque architecture seminar itinerary, including excerpts from Eric Van Schaack student participant notes.
Image dossiers for both days of EAHN 2014 tour

Click here for links to other websites with content related to the sites visited on this tour.

The tour would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of Michela Rosso, the conference general chair, as well as the conference’s scientific committee and local organizing committee. Joseph Connors and Carol Van Schaack generously provided valuable documents for reconstructing the itinerary of Rudolf Wittkower’s 1958 seminar on Piedmontese Baroque architecture. Pauline Saliga, executive director of the Society of Architectural Historians, kindly gave permission to use the itinerary of the SAH’s 1988 Piedmont tour, led by Henry A. Millon and Martha Pollak; the stations of that study tour are recorded in a downloadable map (above). Roberto Caterino and Edoardo Piccoli’s contributions were crucial for the success of the tour as well as assembling the material for this webpage.
Vicoforte detail low res R_CaterinoAscanio Vitozzi and Francesco Gallo, Cappella di San Benedetto, Santuario di Vicoforte, 1596f. / 1702
Photograph: Roberto Caterino (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

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