This database is a collection of historic images that represents the medieval monuments and cities of the Kingdom of Sicily collected from museums, libraries, archives and publications.
The historic Kingdom of Sicily encompassed the island of Sicily and the areas of lower Lazio, Campania, Abruzzo, Molise, Apulia, Basilicata, and Calabria. The kingdom was created in the twelfth century by the Normans, was inherited by Frederick II of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, and conquered by the French in 1266. In the fifteenth century it came under Aragonese control. The rich and international artistic legacy of towns, castles, churches, monasteries and their decoration is a testament to the dynamic social and political history of South Italy. With its unique geographic position and multicultural heritage, the Kingdom of Sicily was a melting pot of artistic and architectural concepts.
Why are historic views particularly important for these monuments, and why have we created this database? Our repository gathers images created for the most part prior to the destruction or significant alteration of sites and monuments, as wars, earthquakes, extensive restoration, as well as simple neglect, have profoundly affected this rich artistic patrimony. Urban expansion has also often changed the landscape and transformed the role and meaning of monuments within cities or their periphery.
The database features historical images in a range of media, including drawing, painting, engraving and photography. The dates of the images range from the late sixteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries. These images and available descriptive information about their production, are listed under the “Images” tab; views and sites can also be accessed by browsing the “Collections” or the “Monuments/Sites” tab. Monuments are organized topographically by location; each record contains a list of associated Images, a brief description of the site, and details about its creation and relevant sources when known. More recent published images, including architectural plans, photographs and reconstructions are collected within individual site entries under the “Visual Docs” tab.
This database is a work in progress and is by no means exhaustive or complete. There exist many more images produced by travelers, scholars, artists, architects, photographers, and soldiers, who traveled or studied in southern Italy that we have not been able to catalogue. The website editors will be grateful to receive information on collections and publications that can contribute to the project.
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