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Flavia De Nicola is an Italian art historian and professor. She carries out research based on archival investigation in the fields of history of collecting and art patronage in Renaissance and Early Modern Italy, applied and decorative arts and furniture history in Baroque Rome.

Flavia De Nicola è una storica dell’arte italiana. I suoi interessi di ricerca, basati su una contestualizzazione dei documenti archivistici, vertono sulla storia del collezionismo, delle tecniche artistiche e delle arti applicate nel contesto romano tra Rinascimento e Barocco.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D. Ongoing

    Cultural Heritage, Education and Territory - Curriculum in Archaeology and Art History

    University of Rome Tor Vergata

  • M.A. 2018

    Master of Early Modern Art History

    University of Rome La Sapienza

  • Seminar 2012

    Connaissance et diffusion des collections de musée, inventaire et pratiques documentaires

    Ecole du Louvre

  • B.A. 2012

    Bachelor of Arts in Sciences of Cultural Heritage

    University of Rome Tor Vergata

  • Research 2012

    Experimental thesis research intern

    ENEA National Agency (Frascati Research Center)

Work experiences

With Guido Cornini, Barbara Jatta and Guy Devereaux, during the internship closing day presentation, Vatican City, 18 October 2021.

Born and based in Rome, I am currently professor of Liturgical Art and Architecture at The Catholic University of America – Rome Center. Since 2020, I’ve been also enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Art History at University of Rome Tor Vergata and I’ve been nominated as Cultore della materia (honorary fellow) in Early Modern Art History at the same university.

In the meantime, I’m sharing an Italian cultural heritage and art history through the new digital media, curating the art project Milestone Rome, aimed at involving and enhancing the sensibility of the widest public towards the truthful value of the lesser known or unrepresented cultural heritage of Rome, which I co-founded in 2014 and was cited by curator Keith Christiansen in “Valentin de Boulogne: Beyond Caravaggio” 2016 exhibition catalogue by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Inside the Sistine Chapel during the Vespers celebration, while carrying out the curatorial stage at the Vatican Museums, 20 December 2019.

Since 2014, I’ve been committed to art historical researches based on archival investigation which I’m carrying out at both public and private libraries and historic archives such as the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and Archivio Apostolico Vaticano (formerly Archivio Segreto Vaticano), Archivio di Stato di Roma, Archivio Capitolino, Archivio Storico Pamphilj, Archivio Aldobrandini in Frascati, Archivio di Stato di Modena, etc. My research interests include the history of collecting and the evolution of its humanistic values analyzed together with the art patronage in Rome between the Renaissance and Early Modern period, applied and decorative arts and furniture history in Baroque Rome.

Between 2018 and 2020, I was also devoted as an education assistant to the Museology and Art Criticism and Restoration chair at the University of Rome La Sapienza, making available bio-bibliographical instruments and scientific experience to the graduating students in order to follow them as a tutor during the development process of the thesis.

With Barbara Jatta director of the Vatican Museums, during the preview of “Winckelmann. Capolavori diffusi nei Musei Vaticani” exhibition, Vatican City, 8 November 2018.

I obtained in 2018 my master’s degree cum laude in Early Modern Art History at the University of Rome La Sapienza with an experimental thesis entitled “La prima attività romana di Michelangelo Buonarroti e il mecenatismo di Raffaele Riario e di Jacopo Galli”; in English: “Michelangelo Buonarroti’s early activity in Rome and the patronage of Raffaele Riario and Jacopo Galli”.

The research work for the development of this thesis led me to gain original acquisitions relating to the sculptural group of the Bacchus, executed during the young artist’s first sejour in Rome, when he was involved in the cultural program of the Pomponian humanists, which I disclosed in the article published on the scientific journal BTA (No. 856 of 26 September 2018), available in an open-access version at this link: http://www.bta.it/txt/a0/08/bta00856.html

With Gianluigi Colalucci chief restorer of Michelangelo’s frescoes at the Sistine Chapel on the occasion of “Raffaello a Roma. Restauri e ricerche” book presentation, Vatican City, 13 November 2018.

This longtime interest in Renaissance art and, specifically, in the figure of Michelangelo Buonarroti dates back to my selection in 2011 by ENEA National Research Center in Frascati for the launch of an interdisciplinary research project on the diagnostics and preventive conservation of Renaissance wall paintings starting from the study of the pigments used by Michelangelo to fresco paint in the Sistine Chapel.

The research project was conducted in the Laser Diagnostic and Metrology Laboratory (UTAPRAD-DIM) at ENEA Research Center in Frascati. My contribute mainly consisted in the characterization of the fresco painting technique adopted by Michelangelo Buonarroti in the Sistine Chapel, in order to reproduce in laboratory 72 mural painting samples which could provide a palette of pigments used especially in Rome during the Renaissance. The final purpose of the interdisciplinary research was to collect the spectral analysis data in an appropriate database of pigments, valid as a reference model for some necessary operations to be performed on the actual mural paintings, like preliminary diagnosis and evaluation or redefinition of the conservative state as well as eventual restoration works.

At the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence, on the occasion of the XXX Premio Firenze, 1 December 2012.

The project at ENEA National Research Center in Frascati led me to the development of an experimental thesis entitled: “La tecnica pittorica a fresco di Michelangelo: caratterizzazione chimicofisica dei pigmenti”; in English: “Michelangelo’s fresco painting technique: chemico-physical characterisation of the pigments”, supervised by prof. Gianfranco Bocchinfuso and tutor dr. Valeria Spizzichino, which earned me a bachelor’s degree cum laude in Sciences of Cultural Heritage at the University of Rome Tor Vergata in 2012.

Part of the research results has been published and presented at the “7th International Conference on Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy” (Luxor, Egypt, 29 September – 4 October 2012) and “The Third Balkan Symposium On Archaeometry”, entitled “The Unknown Face of the Artwork” (Bucharest, Romania, 29 – 30 October 2012).

At the Ecole du Louvre, Paris, September 2012.

Interested in the history of collecting and the care of museum collections, I was involved as curatorial intern at the Department of 15th-16th centuries Art of the Vatican Museum between October 2019 and March 2020, and cataloguing intern for Complesso Monumentale Santo Spirito in Saxia in Rome between October 2016 and December 2017.

I was also selected and attended the International Museology Summer Seminar by the Ecole du Louvre: “Connaissance et diffusion des collections de musée, inventaire et pratiques documentaires” (in English: “Knowledge and circulation of museum collections : Inventory and documentation procedures”) in Paris, Bordeaux, Versailles (3 – 14 September 2012). Thanks to this seminar, I’ve learned the techniques recently developed by museum professionals in order to improve the collections management tools, as for inventorying, documentation and the use of preventive conservation reports within the various museum departments and storage rooms.

Honors and Awards

I’ve been awarded and mentioned at literary exhibitions: “Prix Marco Polo” at the French language poetry competition organised by the Centre culturel Saint-Louis de France and by the Service culturel of the French Embassy in Italy (December 2004); merit award at “Uniarts scritture 2010” (June 2010); finalist at “Premio Firenze giovani” (December 2012).

  • December 2012
    Finalist diploma for unpublished poetry at the XXX Premio Firenze giovani

    I was awarded the finalist diploma for unpublished poetry at the XXX “Premio Firenze giovani“, promoted and organised by the Centro Culturale Firenze-Europa “Mario Conti”, under the patronage of MIBAC Ministry (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali), the Municipality and the Province of Florence.

  • June 2010
    Merit award at the poetry section of Uniarts scritture 2010

    I received a merit award at the poetry section of “Uniarts scritture 2010“, IV literary exhibition dedicated to the students of Latium Universities and organised in collaboration with the Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”. The awarded poem was published in an anthology of the finalists’ works by “Edizioni Cofine” and it was deemed as the best exhibition work.

  • March 2004
    First prize ex aequo Marco Polo

    I was awarded the first prize ex aequo “Marco Polo”, catégorie Lycées italiens et européens, at the French language poetry competition organised by the Centre culturel Saint-Louis de France and by the Service culturel of the French Embassy in Italy, with the patronage of the city of Rome. The awarded poem was published in the magazine “Forum” of the “L’Union Français de Rome et du Latium” (No. 406, December 2004).