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Raffaele Garrucci

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A historian of Christian art, b. at Naples, 22 January, 1812; d. at Rome, 5 May, 1885. He belonged to a wealthy family, entered the Society of Jesus at the age of fifteen and was professed on 19 March, 1853. He devoted himself to the study of the Christian Fathers, also to profane and Christian antiquities; both he and the celebrated De Rossi became the principal disciples of Father Marchi. On his many journeys through Italy, France, Germany, and Spain, he collected much valuable material for his archaelogical publications. In 1854 he wrote for Father Cahier's "Mélanges d'Archéologie" a study on Phrygian syncretism. Soon after he edited the notes of Jean L' Heureux on the Roman catacombs (in manuscript since 1605); later an essay on the gilded glasses of the catacombs (1858), and another on the Jewish cemetery at the Villa Randanini. In 1872 he began the publication of a monumental history of early Christian antiquities, entitled "Storia dell' arte cristiana". It was destined to include all works of sculpture, painting, and the minor and industrial arts, during the first eight centuries of the Christian Era . It is, in fact, a general history of early Christian art, and contains five hundred finely engraved plates and explanatory text. Five of the six volumes contain respectively, the catacomb-frescoes--and paintings from other quarters--gilded glasses, mosaics, sarcophagi, and non-sepulchral sculptures. The first volume is devoted to the theoretical part of the work, i.e. to a history of Christian art properly so called.

In this vast collection Garrucci re-edited to some extent materials taken from earlier works. For hitherto unedited materials he used photographs or reproductions of some other kind. His engravings are not always very accurate, and in point of finish are inferior to those obtained by more modern processes. His reproductions of catacomb-frescoes, in particular, have lost much of their value since the publication of the accurate work of Mgr. Wilpert (Pitture delle catacombe romane, Rome, 1903). on the whole, however, it must be said that the "Storia dell' arte cristiana" is yet far from being superseded by any similar work. Father Garrucci had more erudition than critical judgment; in this respect his fellow-student De Rossi was far superior to him. Hence the text of Garrucci's publications is now of doubtful authority. The list of his publications covers 118 numbers on Sommervogel, "Bibliothèque de la compagnie de Jésus" (Brussels 1902), III. Among them are the aforementioned "Storia dell' arte cristiana nei primi otto secoli delta chiesa" (6 vols. Prato 1872--81); "Dissertazioni archeologiche di vario argomento" (2 vols., Rome 1864-65); "Le monete dell' Italia antica, Raccolta generale" (Rome, 1885).

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