Negotiating Identities. Orientalist Architecture, Materiality and Local Practices in 19th-century Italy

Ariane Varela Braga, Ph.D.

This project examines the Orientalist architecture in Italy from the point of view of its dialogue with the local architectural and craft traditions, an aspect that has not been addressed until now. It investigates the expressive use of local materials and practices to analyze how they transform and animate Orientalist architectures, giving them an 'italic' peculiarity, at a time that coincides with debates on national style and the importance of the revitalization of traditional industries and crafts. More specifically, it explores the ways in which the architectural and ornamental use of elements such as brick, stucco, marble, mosaic or ceramics were part of a negotiation strategy between the local aesthetic, in its monumental or vernacular dimension, and Islamic models that resulted in a peculiar form of architectural Orientalism.

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