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Research

Present research topics and methods

My research method in the field of Renaissance and Baroque Art History is based on the interdisciplinary interaction with scientific and literary disciplines, and the archival investigation, spanning from the study of the technical art history supporting the conservation science to the study of artistic literature and the history of collecting.

2020-present: history of collecting, papal families patronage, and decorative arts

Currently, my research interests are focused on the history of collecting and art patronage of papal families in Early Modern Italy, especially from the Seventeenth- to the Eighteenth- Century. I’m mainly carrying out the scientific research at the Vatican Apostolic Archive, National Archive of Rome, Altieri Archive, Borghese Gallery Archive, Diocesan Historic Archive, and in several other public, private and religious archives across Italy.
Since 2020, I’m enrolled in the Nationally funded Ph.D. Course in Early Modern Art History, in the range of the Program in Cultural Heritage, Education and Territory – Curriculum in Archaeology and Art History. My dissertation investigates the Art Collection and Patronage Activity of the Borghese Family in the Years 1613-1860 at Villa Mondragone, Monte Porzio Catone (Rome), and in particular Scipione Caffarelli Borghese (Rome, 1577 – Rome, 1633).
This dissertation is being published as monographic volume in 2024.
I’m also interested in the applied and decorative arts and furniture history in Baroque Rome, including the analysis of the rethorical functions of liturgical furnishings.

Interests

  • Applied and decorative arts
  • Baroque Rome
  • History of Collecting
  • Renaissance Antiquarianism
  • Technical Art History

Former research topics and methods

2014-2019: museology, ecclesiastical patronage and humanistic contents of collecting

My interests include the research, inventory and documentation procedures of museum collections, developed as curatorial intern at the Vatican Museums (2019-2020), and as seminarist at the Ecole du Louvre (2012).
At the Department of the Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Art, inside the Vatican Museums, in particular, my research on the liturgical functions of the Apostolic Palace spaces and on the institutional figures responsible for the Roman liturgy in papal ceremonies (Magistri Cæremoniarum Apostolicarum) contributed to the study of the Hall of Constantine, one of Raphael’s Rooms under restoration at that time, on the occasion of Raphael’s 500th anniversary. In support of the curatorial evaluation of the paintings’ setting and history, I revised 90 manuscript documents and discovered 23 unpublished manuscript documents mainly at the Vatican Apostolic Library, the Vatican Apostolic Archive and at the National Archive of Rome.
I finally presented these research results to the Vatican Museums Director Barbara Jatta and the Department director Guido Cornini in the Conference hall.
My Master’s dissertation topic dealt with Michelangelo’s Early Activity in Rome and the Patronage of the Cardinal Raffaele Riario and Jacopo Galli. I especially investigated the biographical links among patrons, humanists and academics in Rome, Florence, Siena and Brescia areas during the Renaissance, in order to better retrace the artistic and literary environment surrounding the early activity of Michelangelo Buonarroti in Rome and his connection with Raffaele Riario’s and Jacopo Galli’s patronage.
The original results of the dissertation were presented in journal articles, a book and at the 67h Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America (13 April 2021).

2011-2013: conservation science and technical art history

My research output arose from the idea of pursuing a deepened knowledge and a more conscious interpretation of the artwork through a strong interaction between the art historical research and the scientific analysis. My interest was directed towards the study of the organization of the artist’s workshop and the art techniques in use between the Fifteenth- and Sixteenth- Century, particularly in Rome, aiming at improving the diagnosis and preventive conservation of polychrome artworks, such as mural paintings.
In particular, I took part in the interdisciplinary research project Building of Pigments Databases for the Characterization of Frescoes at the ENEA National Agency, financed by the Italian Ministry of Public Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) and enrolled in the IT@CHA project (Italian Technologies for Advanced Applications in Cultural Heritage), in the range of PON (National Operating Program) 2007-2013.
I contributed to start and develop the research project aimed at the direct study of Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, which was led in the Laser Diagnostic and Metrology Laboratory (UTAPRAD-DIM) at ENEA Research Center in Frascati, in order to collect the spectral analysis data of Renaissance fresco pigments in an appropriate database, valid as a reference model for some conservative operations to be performed on the mural paintings as well as eventual restoration works.
The original research results were published and presented in my Bachelor’s dissertation Michelangelo’s Fresco Painting Technique: Chemico-Physical Characterization of the Pigments, and at the 7th International Conference on Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (Luxor, Egypt, 29 September – 4 October 2012), and in the proceedings (2013) of the Third Balkan Symposium On Archaeometry, entitled “The Unknown Face of the Artwork” (Bucharest, Romania, 29 – 30 October 2012).

Research Projects

  • Villa Borghese di Mondragone

    Art collection and patronage activity of the Borghese family between 1613 and 1865 at Villa Mondragone (2020-2023)

    This research born into the funded Ph.D. program at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” is focused on retracing the collection especially of paintings and the patronage activity particularly of the cardinal Scipione Caffarelli-Borghese and the Borghese family between 1613 and 1865 at Villa Mondragone in Monte Porzio Catone (RM).

    Results

    The first results were presented at the online lecture The Borghese collection at Villa Mondragone in the Seventeenth- and Eighteenth- Century: transfers of art and power between Rome and the Tusculan hills, for the The Society for the History of Collecting-Italian Chapter, lecture (online), 29 May 2023.

    The complete research results will be published as a monograph in 2024.

  • Antiquities collecting in Rome (15th - 17th centuries)

    Ongoing independent research (2014-2020)

    This study deals with the history of antiquities collecting and the evolution of its humanistic values analyzed together with the art patronage in Rome between the Renaissance and Early Modern period.

    Results

    The first result of this project, as a development of my MA thesis research, was published in 2018 on the BTA – Bollettino Telematico dell’Arte scientific journal and was entitled “Nuove acquisizioni sulla prima attività romana di Michelangelo Buonarroti connessa con l’Umanesimo dei Pomponiani”.

    The first results were presented at the RSA (Renaissance Society of America) 2021 meeting.

    Further results focused on the history of collecting are going to be published as journal articles.

  • Icoxilòpoli

    Study group on the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili woodcuts at the University of Rome ``La Sapienza`` (2013-2020)

    A study group of scholars as well as university graduates and students was founded in order to focus the art historical research on the whole set of woodcuts which enrich the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, in a deep connection between the images and the Renaissance text.

    I contributed to this project with the examination of the sixth xylography, representing the Equus Infoelicitatis. The article was published on the BTA – Bollettino Telematico dell’Arte in 2015 and it’s available full text here.

    Results

    The results of this study are collected in this catalogue of the analyzed woodcuts, published on the BTA – Bollettino Telematico dell’Arte.

    A volume by various authors and edited by Alessandra Bertuzzi, Elisabetta Caputo, Stefano Colonna, Flavia De Nicola, Francesco De Santis, Alessia Dessì was published by Bulzoni editore in Rome in 2020, entitled: “Icoxilòpoli 2. Iconografia delle xilografie del Polifilo”. The book was funded by MIUR (Ministry of Education, University and Research) and patronized by La Sapienza SARAS department of History, Anthropology, Religions, Art and Performance and BTA – Bollettino Telematico dell’Arte.

  • Characterization of Renaissance fresco pigments

    In range of the IT@CHA project at ENEA Research Center (2011-2012)

    This interdisciplinary research was included in the IT@CHA project (Italian Technologies for Advanced Application in Cultural Heritage) and financed by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) in the range of the PON 2007-2013.

    I contributed to start and develop the research project, led in the Laser Diagnostic and Metrology Laboratory (UTAPRAD-DIM) at ENEA Research Center in Frascati, in order to collect the spectral analysis data of Renaissance fresco pigments in an appropriate database, valid as a reference model for some conservative operations to be performed on the mural paintings as well as eventual restoration works.

    Results

    Details on the research project can be found in the section of ENEA’s 2012 activity report concerning the “Diagnostics for Cultural Heritage preservation and fruition” (pp. 25-32).

    The research results were 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), whose proceedings are available here.