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The vastness and complexity - in chronological and cultural terms - of the Middle Ages offers infinite possibilities of research, discussion, reading and discoveries, to which SPOLIA would like to offer a key, in particular on Italian and Roman themes.

If we try to define the history of medieval art as that branch of knowledge which lies between archeology (with a capital A, therefore classical archeology) and the absolute dominium of names, artistic personalities, and biographies which constituted the history of modern art (from the Renaissance to the XIX century), then the Middle Ages appear before our eyes as a unique occasion to speak about IMAGES and to be guided by them in the discovery of people, ideas, places, things, forms and functions.

Therefore, we must try to examine the Middle Ages with a "historicized" eye, but also imagine it with the eye of the "medieval man" (to quote Le Goff!). We must also realize that all the images that can be generically defined as "art" were not created to be "seen" in the same way: the figurative production included, for instance, ephemeral apparata of political propaganda destined to be kept hidden or destroyed, as well as images-non images, objects of pure light such as goldsmithery and stained glass or, even, images-images such as icons in which the portrayed subject absorbed and annulled in its votive and lithurgic hyper-functionality all aesthetic involvement; another aspect which is often forgotten is the taste for ornate surroundings, that is, interior design: suffice it to say that bare walls and exposed brickwork were an exception.

Therefore, what is proposed here is almost a history of images and of the image of Rome in the Middle Ages. The circle is closed and we are back at SPOLIA's logo...

Simona Manacorda

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