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University of Siena


Coordinator: Davide Lacagnina
Computer scientists: Giulio Andreoletti , Andrea Ficini
Scientific committee: Massimo Bignardi , Davide Lacagnina , Luca Quattrocchi
Collaborators: Livia Spano , Gabriella Bologna , Margherita Cavenago , Martina Marolda

The research work, dedicated to the art critic Vittorio Pica (Naples, 1862-Milan, 1930), will be carried out at the Dipartimento di Scienze Storiche e dei Beni Culturali of the University of Siena, following the Unit members´ expertise - Modern Art (Prof. Bignardi), Modern Architecture (Prof. Quattrocchi and Dr. Spano) and Modern Art Criticism (Dr. Lacagnina) - in which Pica´s activity can be summarized.

Further segments of interest will be articulated according to: a) different topics (artistic currents and movements, history of collecting and taste, history of cultural institutions etc.), b) different geographical areas (Italy, Eastern Europe, the Scandinavian Countries, Continental and Mediterranean Europe, the Americas, the Far East and Japan, Africa and Oceania as for Primitivism and Japonisme), c) critical-historical and yet theoretic relevance (art and literature, art criticism and reception theory, cinema and photography, architecture and decoration, museum studies and exhibitions display, graphics and design etc.).

The starting point of the research work will consist of an extensive bibliographical and archival-documental survey: a) going through the bibliography of art criticism by Pica (still far from being complete), through Italian and foreign newspapers and art magazines, exhibition catalogues, monographs etc. b) inventorying all public and private archival funds which preserve materials relating to Pica´s critical and institutional activity, both in Italy and abroad. The documents found and considered of greater interest, according to the main lines of investigation that the project intends to pursue, will be selected and acquired, through digital scanning. The next step will be the elaboration of the data collected in order to present them in a coherent and well planned on-line platform for the benefit of further investigation, relating to the centrality of Pica in the European art system between late XIXth and early XXth centuries and to the multiple levels of interest his activity arises.

The recovery of Pica´s bibliography and critical and institutional activity would thus fill in the gap, which exists in historiography on Symbolism, of an updated voice capable of evaluating the specific contribution of Italy to international debate. The deepening of the figure of Pica would allow, in such an emblematic way, to integrate modern art, art criticism, historiography, art collecting and historical contexts in a system of international relations in which better understand and define an "other" line for European art, between Symbolism and avant-garde movements. Currently at the centre of a renewed interest, painters and sculptors of the fin-de-siècle appear extremely significant to better understand the complex events of the historical avant-garde and the interwar years in Italy and Europe.

The work of the Unit follows up the researches carried out for the PRIN 2005 ´Tracce di presenze europee nell´arte italiana fra secondo Ottocento e primo Novecento (opere e testi)´, Principal Investigator Prof. Enrico Crispolti, University of Siena.

Prof. Rossella Froissart (Aix-Marseille Université), Prof. Jordi Ibáñez Fanés (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona) and Prof. Ara H. Merjian (New York University) formally joined the 2012 FIRB Research Unit of the University of Siena.




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