Valentina Valerio

The works of art diaspora. The Abruzzo case

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Keywords: Marsica; Earthquake; San Pietro Di Alba Fucens; Conservation of Cultural Heritage; Musealization.

In Italy, earthquakes cause the relocation of paintings, statues and ecclesiastical furnishings which are displayed in damaged buildings and churches. The measures put in place as a response to this phenomenon are the result of cultural heritage protection policies of different periods. The region Abruzzo, with its history of earthquakes (1703, 1915, 2009) provides an excellent example of the methods and forms of this diaspora. The systematic relocation of works of art effective since 1703 went through a crisis with the earthquake of Marsica in 1915 when the recently established General Directorate of Fine arts and Public Education was put in charge of the protection of monuments and works of art of national interest through philological restoration and collocation within museums. For example, as a result of these policies, the church of Saint Peter of Alba Fucens was restored to its facies of the XIII century through the demolition or the removal of objects which didn't belong to that period. Since the 70's museums ceased being places of storage. Artworks taken from damaged buildings are now stored in deposits equipped with restoration laboratories such as Musè which was set up in the Museum of Paludi in Celano following previous experiences from the earthquakes in Irpinia in 1980 and in Marche and Umbria in 1997. However the recent introduction of modern marketing principles to cultural management, including earthquake management, after 2009 L'Aquila earthquake, has created uncontrolled dynamics such as travelling exhibitions and policies of private adoptions.

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