The role played by Argan in the culture of his time, his great skill as an art historian, intellectual and militant critic, and attempts to summarize his impact on the present.
Approaching the subject from many different points of view, art critics, art historians, architects, archaeologists and philosophers such as Maurizio Calvesi, Antonio Pinelli, Salvatore Settis, Irving Lavin, Paolo Portoghesi, Andrea Carandini and many others talk about Argan the man and his critical thought. Promoted by the National Committee for the Celebrations of Giulio Carlo Argan, the book gathers together the papers of two international conferences held in Rome (at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 19 November 2009, and the “La Sapienza” University, 9-11 December 2010) to mark the centenary of Argan’s birth.
The papers given at the conferences, together with a selection of photographs, letters and documents from the Argan archives, published here for the first time, demonstrate the sheer breadth of the subjects studied by Argan, his commitment to defending our artistic heritage and promoting culture, the key role played by him in terms of theoretical thought and his personal support for new trends in contemporary art and architecture.
Giulio Carlo Argan: He was one of Italy’s leading art historians, an intellectual of international standing, an emeritus professor who became Mayor of Rome and a Senator of the Italian Republic. During his long, busy life, he made contact with leading intellectuals, politicians, scholars and artists in Italy and abroad. Between 1933 and 1955 he was an exemplary civil servant; along with Cesare Brandi, he championed and founded the Istituto Centrale del Restauro (Central Restoration Institute); for 20 years he served on the Consiglio Superiore delle Antichità e Belle Arti (Steering Committee for Antiquities and the Arts); he chaired the Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art (CIHA) and the Associazione Internazionale dei Critici d’Arte (International Association of Art Critics); he founded and edited periodicals and serial magazines; he was a member of the world’s oldest academy, the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei and of many other academies in Italy and abroad, and also became head of Einaudi the publisher’s. His textbook on art for high schools, his many books and assiduous activity as a critic, teacher and promoter of information left an indelible mark on the Italian culture of the 20th century, helping not only to expand the scope of methodological discussion but make culture accessible to a wider audience.