The aim of this lecture is to explore the emergence of preservation and conservation as public policy activities in Europe. Following the argument that preservation is a modern undertaking, it shows how preservation practices emerged from both the political and the industrial revolution. The lecture is divided in five parts. The first part introduces the topic by questioning the universality of preservation. The second part discusses the interest in documenting antiquity in early modern Europe. The third part focuses on Viollet le Duc and on the role of historic documentation and restoration in 19th France. The fourth part looks into the critique of restoration by John Ruskin and John Morris in England, and the founding of the society for the Protection of Ancient buildings in England. The fifth part looks at Alois Riegl’s theory of preservation at the beginning of 20th century in Austria.
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