HomeStudying medieval buildings (1850-1950)

Studying medieval buildings (1850-1950)

Étudier le bâti médiéval (1850-1950)

Actors, stakes and methods

Acteurs, enjeux, méthodes

*  *  *

Published on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

The history of medieval architecture was written, from the mid-19th century, by men whose training, career and objectives were variable. In fact, they each developed their methods of analysis and their reading grids of medieval buildings, which are at the origin of our practices in art history and archeology. To be interested in these men and their works: this is the purpose of this study day that will allow to implement, at the scale of Western Europe, this epistemological approach of the medieval sciences dedicated to the castral, civil or religious building. Beyond the monuments themselves, which take the place of a major source, correspondences of scientists, archives of learned societies, photographs, old drawings, or the funds of historical monuments, for example, may be used to deal with one or more of the topics presented below.

Announcement

Argument

"The 19th century was, to a considerable extent, with regard to the Middle Ages, what the 16th century had been with regard to Greco-Roman antiquity": in 1975, Michel de Bouärd introduced his Manuel d’archéologie médiévale this way (M. de Bouärd, Manuel d’archéologie médiévale. De la fouille à l’histoire, Paris : Sedes, 1975).

In France, the founding by François Guizot of the General Inspectorate of Historical Monuments, in 1830, and the Committee of Historical and Scientific Works, in 1834, accompanied a patrimonial awareness ((P. Nora (dir.), Les lieux de mémoire : la nation **. Le territoire, l’état, le patrimoine, Paris : Gallimard, 1986.)) and the emergence of new disciplines (E. et J. Gran-Aymerich, « L’archéologie au CNRS : origine et mise en place », reprint des Cahiers pour l’histoire du CNRS, n°9, 1990, http://www.histcnrs.fr/pdf/cahierscnrs/gra n-aymerich.pdf ; L. Therrien, L’histoire de l’art en France : genèse d’une discipline universitaire, Paris : CTHS, 1998 ; S. Talenti, L’histoire de l’architecture en France : émergence d’une discipline (1863-1914), Paris : Picard, 2000). The creation of a chair of medieval archeology at the École des Chartes in Paris in 1847 symbolically marked the recognition of the monument as an object worthy of interest in a field of research previously focused on the sources of archives. The numerous travels that Prosper Mérimée made throughout France, for historical monuments, with the support of local institutions and learned societies, also testify to the national scope of the project. Questionnaires sent to all French communes by the Committee of Historic and Scientific Works, under the direction of Narcisse-Achille Salvandy, in 1838 and in 1847, betray the priority that the State gave to the medieval heritage (X. Charmes, Le Comité des Travaux Historiques et Scientifiques (histoire et documents), Paris : Imprimerie nationale, 1886, 2 vol). This patrimonial policy, largely centralized, continued during the second half of the 19th century and, as early as the 1880s, the creation of new lessons and the proliferation of learned societies (J.-P. Chaline, Sociabilité et érudition en France : les sociétés savantes en France aux XIXe et XXe siècles, Paris : CTHS, 1995) favored the study of medieval monuments and, especially, Christian buildings.

However, outside Paris, the situation was very uneven from one region to another as it depended on the initiatives of single people or persons integrated into learned societies. Only Normandy was an exception thanks to the precursory work of Arcisse de Caumont who founded, in 1834, the French Society of Archeology. Without being completely neglected, other regions did not know the same craze for the study of medieval monuments. In cities such as Vienne or Lyon, the phenomenon is probably due to the preponderance of ancient archeology. For example, the works devoted to Burgundy and Lyonnais by Joseph Bard, who defined himself as a "monumentalist", had only limited repercussions, as suggested by the lists of subscribers, at the end of his two major books, where the actors of regional erudition shine by their absence (J. Bard, Statistique générale des basiliques et du culte dans la ville de Lyon, précédée d’instructions sur l’archéologie sacrée dans la province ecclésiastique de cette métropole et dans une partie de celle de Besançon et suivie d’études sur divers types et sous-types d’architecture burgondo-lyonnaise, choisis dans nos diocèses du sud-est, Lyon : Revue du Lyonnais, 1842 ; Idem, Derniers mélanges d’archéologie sacrée, Lyon : Chambet fils, 1847). However, at the turn of the 19th and 20th century, the situation had evolved in Lyon: regional medieval art courses were given at the Faculty of Arts and at the School of Fine Arts and, moreover, learned societies multiplied and took a new interest in medieval monuments. But academics and learned societies were two parallel worlds, whose members hardly knew each other and did not collaborate.

The history of medieval architecture was thus wtten, from the mid-19th century, by men whose training, career and objectives were varied. In fact, they each developed their methods of analysis and their interpretations of medieval buildings, which are at the origin of our practices in art history and archeology. To be interested in these men and their works: this is the purpose of the day Studying medieval buildings (1850-1950). Actors, methods and issues.

Currently, the way medieval architecture was perceived in the 19th century is a topic discussed by many researchers in Western Europe. Many works deal with the point of view of the architects, like Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who restored medieval buildings (For example, B. Phalip et J.-Fr. Luneau (dir.), Restaurer au XIXe s. (I-II), Clermont-Ferrand : Presses universitaires Blaise Pascal, 2012-2013 ; A. Timbert, Restaurer et bâtir : Viollet-le-Duc en Bourgogne, Villeneuve-d’Ascq : Presses universitaires du Septentrion, 2013. International symposium organized by M. Piavaux, Cl. Houbart and A. Timbert, Matériaux, métiers et techniques. Vers une histoire matérielle du chantier de restauration (1830-1914), Paris-Liège-Namur, December 2017, Seminar organized by the national Institute of Art History and the University of Picardie Jules Verne : Construire, restaurer, détruire : les chantiers du XVIIIe au XXsiècle, February-June 2018.). This study day is part of this dynamic while widening the perspectives: it will not deal with exceptional personalities who worked on prestigious building sites in big cities. On the contrary, it will deal with figures whose works remained unknown but are eloquent testimonies on the origin of our disciplines. By their profession (departmental or diocesan architects) or simply by passion (scholars, local historians), they were field men trying to describe, to draw and to understand here a small rural church, there the remains of a keep. In short, this study day will overcome the exceptional case to be more interested in the daily lives of men rooted in their territory. Among them, the scholars who, like Father Camille de La Croix in Poitou, tirelessly traveled all over their region, will hold special attention (J.-M. Guilloët et N. Faucherre, « Des archéologues au service de la foi ? Le père de la Croix à Saint-Philibert-de-Grandlieu et le chanoine d’Urville à Nantes », Annales de Bretagne et des Pays de l’Ouest [En ligne], 118-3 | 2011, mis en ligne le 30 novembre 2013, consulté le 19 mars 2019. http://journals.openedition.org/abpo/2071 See also the ongoing collective work on this scholar’s archives coordinated by N. Dieudonné-Glad, in the University of  Poitiers : http://sha.univ-poitiers.fr/histoire-art-archeologie/enseignants/conferences-et-valorisation/archives-de-camille-de-la-croix-pretre-et-archeologue-1831-1911/): their documentation constitutes a fundamental link in the transmission of knowledge. As of now, it is possible to say that, like historians, art historians and archaeologists have neglected the documentation they produced (Concerning the relationship of historians to the documentation of scholars, see the study days organized by Jérémy Delmulle et Haude Morvan, Les médiévistes face à la documentation des érudits modernes. Méthodes et enjeux, Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes, 7-8 mars 2019).

This study day proposes to implement, at the scale of Western Europe, this epistemological approach of the medieval sciences dedicated to the castral, civil or religious building. It will exploit, from an multidisciplinary perspective, any material likely to feed these issues. Beyond the monuments themselves, which take the place of a major source, correspondences of scientists, archives of learned societies, photographs, old drawings, or the funds of historical monuments, for example, may be used to deal with one or more of the topics presented below.

Thema

« Heritage actors »

It will be possible to focus on some of these characters who, on a local or regional level, have worked for the conservation or knowledge of medieval buildings. Attempting to trace their backgrounds and their career paths will help to understand why they studied this heritage, sometimes against the current of regional institutions, but also to question their conception of medieval art history and archeology. Did they work alone or were they involved in networks of scientists? Did they confront the result of their work with the opinions of others?

Scholarly documentation

To compare the buildings preserved with the graphical and textual documentation produced on them between 1850 and 1950 will allow to understand the methods of analysis used and to evaluate the reliability of the results obtained by these scholars. It is necessary to pay more attention to their numerous archives, which are sometimes the only sources on missing buildings. Finally, it will be interesting to evaluate to what extent these pioneering works have had an impact on subsequent scientific research.

Scholarly backgrounds and official circles

To wonder about the interactions, or the absence of interactions, between these provincial men and the representatives of the State or the great personalities can also lead to think about the way in which Art history and Archeology have been built, far from big cities, on territories not very conducive to such work. It will undoubtedly allow to observe varied situations from the admiration of the modest scientist towards the recognized researcher to the lack of consideration, even rejection, of any work not emanating from a character of the region.

Procedures for the submission

This study day is organized for Team 3 of the ArAr Archaeology and Archaeometry Laboratory (UMR 5138) by the members of Axis 4 "Medieval architecture in the test of modern societies". The study day will take place in the Archives départementales du Rhône et métropolitaines de Lyon, on 26 and 27 March 2020.

Each paper will last from 20 to 25 minutes. Communication proposals will include a 400-word abstract and a short CV. They may be written in French or English. They should be sent jointly to Olivia Puel (puel.olivia@gmail.com), Anelise Nicolier (anelise.nicolier@orange.fr) and Laura Foulquier (laurafoulquier@wanadoo.fr)

by October 31st, 2019.

Scientific committee

  • Bonnie Effros, Professor of Economic and Social History, University of Liverpool
  • Nicolas Faucherre, Professor of History of Art and Archaeology in the Middle Ages, University of Aix-Marseille
  • Alain Guerreau, Medieval historian, Honorary Research Director at the CNRS
  • Jean-Marie Guillouët, Lecturer in History of Medieval Art, University of Nantes
  • Dale Kinney, Professor of History of Art Emeritus, Bryn Mawr College (Pennsylvania)
  • Haude Morvan, Lecturer in History of Medieval Art, University Bordeaux-Montaigne
  • Jean-Michel Poisson, Honorary Lecturer in History and Archaeology of the Middle Ages, EHESS
  • Nicolas Prouteau, Lecturer in Archaeology of the Middle Ages, University of Poitiers

Study day Organisers

  • Anelise Nicolier, Doctor of History of Medieval Art
  • Olivia Puel, Doctor of Medieval Archaeology
  • Laura Foulquier, Doctor of History of Medieval Art

Places

  • Archives du département du Rhône et de la Métropole de Lyon
    Lyon, France (69)

Date(s)

  • Thursday, October 31, 2019

Keywords

  • patrimoine, architecture, histoire de l'art, archéologie du bâti, épistémologie, érudition

Contact(s)

  • Olivia Puel
    courriel : puel [dot] olivia [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Anelise Nicolier
    courriel : anelise [dot] nicolier [at] orange [dot] fr
  • Laura Foulquier
    courriel : laurafoulquier [at] wanadoo [dot] fr

Information source

  • Olivia Puel
    courriel : puel [dot] olivia [at] gmail [dot] com

To cite this announcement

« Studying medieval buildings (1850-1950) », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, https://calenda.org/654008

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal