This talk will focus on the plight of historic churches and their ornamentation in Italy during World War Two. Drawing on documents and war photographs, Cathleen will feature a few specific churches, and explore three stages in the preservation process. These are the establishment of anti-aerial protection for churches and their art, the ‘first response’ to churches that had suffered ruin, and the restoration of two church portals and one frescoed chapel in the aftermath of the conflict. The work of both the Italian heritage staff and the Allied Monuments officers will be included.
Cathleen is an art history professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, which is about half way between Toronto and Montreal. After completing a BA and MA at the University in Toronto, Cathleen wrote her PhD dissertation under the British art historian, John Shearman, at Princeton University, on Italian Renaissance painting. As her publications reflect, she is most interested in the changes experienced by works of art over the centuries because of damage and restoration. Cathleen's university teaching encompasses cultural heritage preservation, and particularly the impact of war on art and architecture, an area that is attracting a lot of student interest. Personal influences stem from the fact that Cathleen's father was a Jewish refugee to Canada during WW2, and her husband is a doctor who worked for years in war zones. She is close to completing a book on what happened to the art in Italy’s early churches during WW2, which is also the subject of this talk.