Marica Marzinotto

Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle: the 'enemy' of the Accademia di San Luca

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This research aims at casting a new light on the involvement of Venetian connoisseur Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle in the heated cultural and political debate about the reform of the Academies of Fine Arts in the postunification national context. After an analysis on the genesis of such reform, the essay takes into account the emblematic case of the Accademia di San Luca in Rome, a stronghold of academic tradition that, despite a strenuous resistance, was eventually deprived of its centuries-long teaching activities. The documents and literature of the period identify Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle, an honorary member of the Giunta di Belle Arti, as the author of the reform, shaped with the purpose of testing in the Capital city an innovative, exemplary didactic model susceptible to be extended to all artistic institutions throughout the country.

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