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Villes en ruine

Directed by Monica Preti and Salvatore Settis

We know that a city can be scarred without its buildings suffering: Paris after 11 January and 13 November 2015 is the most recent example. But history shows us numerous examples where the psychological scar is accompanied by material destruction. Another contemporary case comes to mind, that of Palmyra. The publication of the proceedings of a conference in 2013 at the Louvre arrives at the right moment for it studies the image of the city in ruins– its representation by painters, its symbolic interpretation by poets, its use by politicians. From the ransack of Carthage (146 B.C.) to that of Rome (1527), to the end of Pompei (79 B.C.) to the one of Dresden (1945), ruins have always caused horror, penitence, compassion, as well as a meditative melancholy, like in the paintings by Hubert Robert, or national exaltation, which was the theme of the cathedral of Reims bombed by the Germans in 1914. They remind us that cities are mortal and that their residents are regularly confronted to scenes of desolation.

Villes en ruine, directed by Monica Preti and Salvatore Settis, Hazan, 2015, 320 p., €35.

Villes en ruine - Directed by Monica Preti and Salvatore Settis

Review published in the newsletter #407 - from 19 November 2015 to 25 November 2015

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