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Sacred Fragments: The reception of Christian Antiquity in post-Tridentine Rome

Di Croce, Alessandra

This dissertation analyzes cultural attitudes and modes of reception of Christian antiquity and Early Christian art in late sixteenth-century post-Tridentine Rome, and its effects on the antiquarian, historical, and artistic culture of the time. It challenges the established scholarly paradigm that Christian archaeology was an apologetic discipline and the by-product of Catholic ideology, and argues instead that the discovery and investigation of Christian antiquity was instrumental to the critical reappraisal of the methods of classical historical scholarship, leading to a fundamental revolution in both historical and antiquarian method, and artistic taste. With their unrefined formal qualities, rather unappealing to eyes still accustomed to Renaissance style, Early Christian artifacts played a fundamental role in establishing less narrow criteria to approach and assess art beyond the classical canon, paving the way for a new and more favorable evaluation of art objects hitherto ignored when not despised.

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Academic Units
Art History and Archaeology
Thesis Advisors
Klein, Holger A.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
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