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This essay explores the role of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land in cultivating perceptions of the Catholic pilgrimage buildings as worthy of preservation, especially by employing techniques of representation in printed books that engaged with the potential restoration of the real buildings in the Holy Land. The essay discusses the particular example of the printed book created by Bernardino Amico that was published in two editions of 1610 and 1620, with interactive perspectival renderings of the exteriors and interiors of the Christian pilgrimage churches in Palestine and Egypt, along with maps of ancient and modern Jerusalem. Centuries before the emergence of cyber archaeology, Franciscans like Bernardino Amico explored the potential for virtual reconstruction in the realm of printing to demonstrate the value of buildings as symbols of a shared history and faith, while also challenging those who actively sought to dismantle the same buildings in both real and virtual space. Bernardino Amico’s treatise exemplifies the potential of such virtual reconstructions of historical buildings to blur the boundaries between the empirically observed present, the imagined past, and a desired future.
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