Legislation on the Heritage Protection and Restoration of Antiquity. The Case of the Acropolis of Athens in the Nineteenth Century.

No. 2021-08

The analysis of the restoration carried out on the Acropolis of Athens between 1834 and 1875 offers the opportunity to evaluate the inferences of law and artistic taste on the reconstruction of one of the most famous monuments in the world. The ethical and aesthetic ambiguities of this early work are outlined through the study of Leo von Klenze’s memoranda on the refurbishment of the Acropolis temples, and the first laws on the protection of the Greek heritage issued by the Bavarian rulers in 1834 and 1837. In particular, the discussion will consider Klenze’s guidelines in relation to his conceptual inconsistencies about Romanticism and Neoclassicism, and within the implications – both juridical and aesthetic – of the edicts issued on the safeguard of antiquity in Greece. As will be argued, this early restoration not only would transform the Acropolis historical profile, but also affect the later refurbishment completed on the site in the twentieth century.

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