«Die Totalität der Ansicht». Heinrich Wilhelm Schulz e i monumenti della Puglia medievale

Author: Vinni Lucherini

«Die Totalität der Ansicht». Heinrich Wilhelm Schulz and the Monuments of Medieval Apulia

This article examines the figure of the German art historian Heinrich Wilhelm Schulz and his point of view on medieval Apulia. Heinrich Wilhelm Schulz (1808-1855), the author of the Denkmaeler der Kunst des Mittelalters in Unteritalien (Dresden 1860), should be rightfully considered as the founder of medieval art history in Southern Italy. He was the first scholar to systematically study the medieval monuments of the ancient Regnum Siciliae and to investigate their construction phases, furnishing, ornamentation. He reproduced them in extremely precise drawings and compared data gathered from direct observation with those ones deriving from a critical examination of textual sources in order to apply a historical methodology based on the distinction between erudition and philology that informed his intellectual background. Schulz paid special attention to medieval art in Apulia by studying the great religious architecture and the material survivals of their century-long history. He intended to revive both narratively and visually an artistic landscape, a Kunstlandschaft, that was determined by a complex historical layering, where artistic evidence did not reflect the development of the historical flux, but was considered as part of this flux, constitutive elements of a geopolitical frame.