- Franco Bernabei
(b Padua, April 27, 1803; d Padua, Feb 26, 1880).
Italian critic, art historian, architect, and teacher. He was one of the most important writers in mid-19th-century Italy on Gothic art and architecture—an interest stimulated by his support for the Catholic Revival and manifested in his Gothic Revival architectural designs.
He belonged to a noble family awarded the title of marchese by the House of Este princes in Modena, with permission to add Estense to the name Selvatico. He enrolled in the Faculty of Jurisprudence in the University of Padua, mainly to satisfy his family, but he never took his degree. Instead he began to study the history of art and culture with the Abbot Ludovico Menin, a local scholar, and took painting lessons with Giovanni Demin (1786–1859), whose work was known for its late Neo-classicism and incipient Romanticism. More important, however, was his meeting with Giuseppe Jappelli, the architect who adorned Padua with such masterpieces as the Caffè Pedrocchi and whose stylistic eclecticism was very significant at that time. Selvatico painted a few pictures, none of which survived; he also produced some architectural work, which, although not particularly remarkable, can be clearly documented. He began to participate in the cultural life of his city and entered the Accademia di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti in Padua while still a young man. He also visited the most famous cities and monuments in Italy and went to Paris, London, and Germany; evidence of these travels can be seen in his later practical and theoretical work. He was influenced not only by artistic movements but also by more general social and cultural developments, which, because of the Industrial Revolution, were further advanced in France and England than in Italy....