Restoration of The Basilica of Saint Denis: Under the Dust, Discovery of the Authentic
Located just north of Paris, the Basilica of Saint Denis is notable as the final resting place of the kings and queens of France. The medieval church was designed by Abbot Suger from 1135-1144 and completed during Louis’ reign in the 13th century. This mecca of Gothic art contains the largest collection of funerary sculpture from the 12th to the 16th centuries and is in itself a major monument of religious architecture. This lecture will present the story of the restoration of the church through the lens of the conservator, Ippolita Romeo. As a skilled conservator, she will discuss the methods that were used and the instruments implemented in order to complete the restoration of Saint Denis. In addition, Ms. Romeo will discuss the various schools of thought relating to restoration and touch upon various international charters about cultural heritage and preservation. We are excited to hear her personal expectations of the project and learn about a collection of proposals.
Ippolita Romeo studied wood renovation, gilding, painting, and polychromy at the Italian National Institute of Arts and worked in Rome on the conservation of cultural and environmental heritage throughout the 1980-1990s. In 1999 she moved to France to pursue studies in planning and cultural heritage management and received a masters degree in conservation and restoration of cultural heritage at the Sorbonne. In 2014 Romeo was awarded a silver medal in “art professions” by the Academy of Architecture of Paris (Prize Richard Lounsbery Foundation).