An Online Exhibition by the Photo Library of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz in collaboration with the Photo Library of the Vatican Museums
The photographic documentation of what we now call cultural heritage is recognized as a phenomenon characterizing nation building and identity construction processes. The creation and accumulation in archives of photographic testimonies of what makes up the shared memory of a society, destined to be transmitted to future generations, are activities functional for the knowledge and protection of the heritage, but also for its definition, as different guidelines given to the cognitive campaigns lead to the crystallization of different notions of the cultural and monumental heritage, concentrated more on folklore, the landscape, or works of art and architecture. The great identity effort made by Italy after unification with the concentration of many institutional and private initiatives on artistic and architectural assets must be considered as the background for the series Apulia Monumentale by Romualdo Moscioni presented here. The ministerial commission to Moscioni should also be read in the context of the great debate on "national" architecture, which Camillo Boito in particular oriented in favour of neo-medievalism, creating the cultural climate suited to this truly pioneering photographic campaign.
The material exhibited here comes from the Photo Library of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (for the positives) and the Photo Library of the Vatican Museums, which owns the main holdings of negatives by Moscioni. Our wish is that the online exhibition will act as an impetus to start joint study and research activities on the figure and work of Romualdo Moscioni, which should also involve other interested institutions such as the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione and the American Academy in Rome.