Among the dissemination activities of the Conex-Plus Project LIT!, we will celebrate the second talk of the series “Revealing Christian Heritage – Talks on the rediscovery of Christian archaeology between 1860 and 1930”. This year, the workshop will focus on the rediscovery of Christian antiquity in Spain in late 19th-early 20th century.
The first talk took place in September 2021 (more info here and here) and the publication of the proceedings will be announced soon.
After the summer break, the first two months of this academic year have been devoted to results dissemination. I will dedicate a separete blog post to online or on-person activities (stay tuned!), but first I would like to share the latest publications regarding the LIT! project. All in open access!
On October the 5th, the volume 32 of the Anales de Historia del Arte came out with the title Arte y Archivo. I contributed with the article “Catacumbas en museos: archivos documentales y fotográficos para la historia de la museografía” (“Catacombs in Museums: Archival Texts and Photos for the History of Museums”).
Bonus: my latest article about German researchers in the early Christian Catacombs of Malta finally saw the light this September. I wrote this article during the first months of the pandemic outbreak and I am very fond of it. It was published in the Römische Quartalschrift Band 117, Heft 1-2.
On 14 July, I presented some of the results of my research stay in Tarragona (as Conex-Plus secondment) during the conference “La arqueología cristiana en Tarragona a principios del siglo XX. Descubrimientos, estudios, museos y la relación con Roma” at the Museu Biblìc.
Many people attended this talk on the cultural and museographic relationship between Rome and Tarragona in the early 20th century. Thank you Tarragona for such a heartfelt participation!
The study and dissemination of an iconography: banquet scenes from the catacombs of Rome to the facsimile catacombs of the nineteenth century
In general, the text traces the discovery and the history of two important banquet scenes from the Roman catacombs (from the Catacombs of Callixtus and from the Catacombs of Priscilla). It focuses on the fortune of these scenes in Europe. this fortune developed in their reproductions found in various churches and chapels up to the middle of the 20th century. This overview helps in understanding how the study and reproduction of a single iconography can contribute to a general reconstruction of the development of the discipline of early Christian art history.
On March 26th, the project LIT! was presented during the online Poster Session 6 (Humanities and SPR) at the 2022 Marie Curie Alumni Association Annual Conference. The conference was held in Lisbon and online in hybrid mode.
This year’s theme was “Sustainability and the post-pandemic workplace”, and my contribution was titeled “Catacombs, facsimile copies and museums between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: How digital archives and open access amplify the post-pandemic workplace of a historian”.
It was a good occasion to reflect on how the archive and bibliographic work of historians has changed due to the pandemic. I had the possibility to briefly present my poster with a 3-min speech and two slides.
The poster will be shared here in the following days.
It was an inspiring experience, the whole event was truly thought-provoking and it was great to connect with MSCA peers from all over the word!
At the end of the 19th century, the catacombs were not just the object of archaeological research. From 1883 until 1930, the Trappist Fathers were entrusted with the care and management of the catacombs of Saint Callixtus. The community settled in the abbey built on the site of the catacombs and began to receive the numerous pilgrims and tourists who came to visit them.
Around 1890, their activities to promote the catacombs as a tourist and religious site began to develop considerably. In particular, they began to print valuable souvenirs with images of the frescoes of the catacombs in the Luigi Salomone lithography workshop: first, postcards, whose designs are attributed to the Roman painter Romeo Cavi, and then a booklet with images of the spaces and paintings of the catacombs and explanations of them. All the drawings on these objects are inspired by – and even copied from – the engravings and illustrations in the volumes of “Roma Sotterranea Cristiana” by Giovanni Battista de Rossi.
Many of these objects can now be seen in the exhibition: Una postal de las catacumbas. Exposición de tarjetas postales artísticas de las catacumbas romanas de 1890
From 18 March to 1 April 2022. Library of Humanities, Communication and Documentation. Campus Getafe, Universidad Carlos III of Madrid.
On the 2, 3 and 4 of March 2022 we celebrate the XXVIII AISCOM (Italian Association for the Study and Conservation of Mosaics) congress. The congress can be followed on the facebook page of the association.
In the poster sessionwe present a small study on some mosaics of the Verano Cemetery -the monumental cemetery of Rome. These mosaics are dated between 1926 and 1933 and are clear reproduction of the iconographic themes typical of the early Christian churches and the catacombs of Rome.
On the 22nd of February 2022 the scientific community celebrates the second centenary of the birth of Giovanni Battista de Rossi (1822-1894), one of the ‘founding fathers’ of Christian archaeology. He was Scriptor and then head of the Vatican Library, first secretary of the Commission of Sacred Archaeology, established by Pius IX in 1852, creator and curator of the Museo Pio Cristiano Lateranense founded in 1854. He is remembered also as founder and editor of the first specialist journal in the field, the Bullettino di Archeologia Cristiana (still existing today as Rivista di Archeologia Cristiana). He began the publication of the critical edition of all the early Christian inscriptions of Rome (ICVR) and was the author of the Roma Sotterranea Cristiana, an in-depth study of the main Roman catacombs (especially the catacombs of San Callisto) drawn up following his own important discoveries.
To celebrate the event, the Vatican State issued a special stamp where de Rossi is portayed with the ruins of the Hypogeum of the Flavi in the catacombs of Domitilla.
The project LIT! owns very much to de Rossi’s work. He was the one who created the first fac-simile catacombs in 1867 for the Universal Exhibition in Paris. We are therefore very happy to share the brand new article about the topic. Enjoy!
On Friday 10 of September The Project LIT! was presented at the 27th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (officially in Kiel, but held online due to the current situation)
The presentation was included in Session #230, “Stories and Compassion: Material Culture, Memory, and Emotion”, organized by Liv Nilsson Stutz (Linnaeus Univeristy, Sweden) and Sarah Tarlow (University of Leicester, United Kingdom). The precious session explored theories of memory and emotion through archaeological case studies and analysis of material culture. All the presenteed studies explored the connections between materiality, emotion, and memory in the lived experience of the past and present.
My speech investigated the growing interest of European people in catacomb archaeology from the late 19th century and provided many old prints and pictures, archival texts and old articles, that offer clear evidence of the public response to some of the most important fac-simile catacombs build in Northern Europe. From these sources, it appeared that the incredible fascination of original Roman catacombs remained vivid in these “fake” monuments. They clearly contributed to the definition of the role that Christian antiquity had in Europe in creating emotional experience of archeological sites.
I truly hope that the proceedings of these session will be published somewhen!