Giacomo Boni. L’alba della modernità

curated by Alfonsina Russo, Andrea Paribeni, Roberta Alteri

Giacomo Boni. L’alba della modernità

€ 34,00

The catalogue accompanies the exhibition of the same name (Rome, Parco archeologico del Colosseo, 14 December 2021 – 30 April 2022) focused on the achievement of one of the most important Italian archaeologists between the late 19th and early 20th centuries: Giacomo Boni (1859-1925).

Numerous essays give a picture of Boni’s modern, many-sided personality, presenting the reception and legacy of his achievement and also retracing the political, cultural and artistic context in which he developed and made a name for himself. Self-taught, with a training as a draftsman employed in the Venetian construction sites, Giacomo Boni eventually became an archaeologist and architect developing innovative methods of excavation – starting with stratigraphic principles – restoration and valorization of archaeological remains. Already at an early age, the credit he acquired among eminent exponents of Anglo-Saxon culture, notably John Ruskin and William Morris, as well as his friendships in Venice and Milan – in particular with Primo Levi and Alberto Carlo Pisani Dossi – and, thanks to these, his entry into the intellectual circles that supported Francesco Crispi, led him to Rome. In a cultural context in which the passion for archaeology and the interest in contemporary English art were entwined, a new vision of antiquity was encouraged by Boni’s work, which Symbolist art brought to full development at the beginning of the 20th century.

His discoveries, conducted by using a new unacademic language and photography, included in particular the Temple of Vesta, the complex of the sacred spring of Juturna and the mediaeval church of Santa Maria Antiqua, which contains a Byzantine pictorial cycle. On the Palatine, Boni explored the themes of its flora, a lifelong interest of which traces remain in the ordering of the garden of the Horti Farnesiani and in the rose garden that still bears his name and where he is buried.
As both the exhibition and the catalogue reveal, the museographic project conducted by Boni in those years for the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill was the result of a multiplicity of interests and encounters, and remains extraordinarily relevant and innovative. It is perhaps the first experiment in creating an archaeological park in which nature, ancient remains, scholarly reconstructions, re-enactments and cultural dissemination are harmoniously united.

paperback with flaps
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