Vitet, Ludovic

Full Name: 
Vitet, Ludovic
Other Names: 
Ludovic Vitet
Louis Vitet
Year Born: 
1802
Year Died: 
1873
Home Country: 
France
Overview: 
Art historian and first inspector of historical monuments (Inspecteurs Généraux des Monuments Historiques) in France. Vitet published a study of the provincial artist Le Sueur in 1841 (later included in his Études sur l'histoire de l'art in 1864. Vitet wrote that the founding of the Royal Academy in 1648--and really School of Fontainebleau, dominated by Italian artists of the maniera working for Francis I--had destroyed provincial schools of art and painting which were a hallmark to the history of French art. He crticized the Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, the first professor of art history at the reorganized École des Beaux-Arts. Vitet supported Viollet-le-Duc's 1863 reforms in curriculum with their emphasis on originality over emulation. Vitet and Alexandre-Albert Lenoir had by the 1830s suggested that Byzantine architectural influences and not simply classical architecture were the inspiration for medieval architecture. There observations were most stridently (and confincingly) taken up by Félix de Verneilh who posited a link between San Marco and French Romanesque (Stamp). Vitet and Prosper Mérimée (1803-1870), the first Inspecteurs Généraux des Monuments Historiques attempted to reign in the "restorations" of Viollet-le-Duc and others, affirming that preference should be given to structure of the building over decoration. However, monumental sculpture was considered integral to the building fabric; the churches and cathedrals ruined during the Revolution with their decoration lost required esthetic repair to evoke their didactic power.
Selected Bibliography: 
Études sur les Beaux-Arts et sur la Littérature. Paris: Charpentier,1846;Études sur l'histoire de l'art. Paris, 1864. vol. 3,
Sources: 
Jirat-Wasiutyński, Vojtěch. "Decentralising the History of French Art: Léon Lagrange on Provençal Art." Oxford Art Journal 31 no. 2(June 2008): 215 - 231; Stamp, Gavin. "In Search of the Byzantine: George Gilbert Scott's Diary of an Architectural Tour in France in 1862." Architectural History 46 (2003): 198;