This essay sets the late sacred works of Giuseppe Verdi in the context of the late-nineteenth-century fascination for the revival, performance, and festive celebration of historical cultural figures and artworks. From the 1870s onward, certain artistic trends became prevalent in post-unification Italy: anxiety to instill a sense of nation into art and everyday life, nostalgia for a vanished golden age of Italian artistic history, and an ever more energetic revival of historical artistic forms and styles. These currents were stimulated by a nationalistic Catholic revivalism that, I argue, was the strongest influence on Verdi's late career. I outline Verdi's reception in and his personal association with the Catholic revivalist movement, developing a view of Verdi's late life and works as articulating shifting trends in the Church and conservatory. As well as revealing the impact of revivalist aesthetics on the style of works such as Verdi's Pater noster, this inquiry suggests that revivalism contributed to a "canonization" of his image that intertwined civic and religious history.
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