The Restoration of Historic Buildings Between 1835 and 1929: the Portuguese Taste

Lúcia Rosas
15 páginas

The glorification of the historical monument - a European phenomenon that emerged during the first quarter of the 19th Century - occupied a place of great theoretical and iconographic importance in the Portuguese press. Through engravings, its image attained a power of synthesis, both in the creation of symbols and in the understanding of stylistic categories, becoming a major driving force behind the greater value that was given to the medieval architectural heritage and its consequent restoration.

Despite being given a relatively ineffective and somewhat belated administrative and legal framework, the prestige and popularity of medieval monuments were sufficient to ensure a significant number of restoration works after 1840. Literature on art, the press and manuscript sources of the period, sought to identify the principles to underlie the idea of restoration in Portugal between 1839 and 1925, as compared to models adopted throughout Europe. Although Portuguese artistic culture lagged far behind other European nations, the restoration of medieval religious architecture was common practice in Portugal at that time, both due to the idea that unity had always been one of the fundamental principles of architecture and because the cult of monuments stemmed from a mythical and symbolic production of national identity.