Francesca Borgo, PhD


Francesca Borgo (PhD, Harvard University, 2017) is a specialist of Renaissance art, with a focus on intersections between visual, literary, and scientific culture in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy, and on the work of Leonardo da Vinci in particular. She was recently awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Getty Research Institute (2017-18), and is the first recipient of the RSA-Kress Carlo Pedretti Fellowship in Leonardo da Vinci Studies (2017). Upon completing a dissertation on Cinquecento battle painting, she received her Ph.D. in the History of Art and Architecture with a minor field in Italian Studies. During her doctoral studies, Francesca was Guest Researcher at the University of Hamburg (2016), Graduate Visiting Fellow at Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (2015), Doctoral Fellow (2015-17) and Samuel H. Kress Institutional Fellow (2013-2015) at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, where she remains a member of the research group Rinascimento Conteso. She previously studied in Venice and Madrid, and holds a BA and an MA in Art History from Ca' Foscari. Her work has been presented in Italy, Germany, Spain, the UK, Ireland, Japan, and North America, and supported by grants from the Italian Art Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Harry F. Guggenheim Foundation, and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest at Villa I Tatti, among others. Francesca collaborated with the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi in Florence, the Soprintendenza per i Beni Storico-Artistici in Venice and Verona, and with Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara for the exhibition Orlando Furioso. 500 years. She co-organized two international conferences, Vasari/500: Envisioning New Directions in Vasari Studies at Harvard (2011), and Leonardo e gli altri/Leonardo in Dialogue at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (2015), the proceedings of which are forthcoming. Her first book project explores the emergence of an art-critical discourse surrounding the representation of war during the Cinquecento. It situates battle scenes within the context of contemporary artistic, rhetorical, scientific, and literary theories, and turns to the major figurative episodes of the period – for example, the battles by Leonardo and Michelangelo – to reinsert them into a history of the genre. The resulting account elucidates how battle scenes were conceptualized and received, and restores them to their privileged position in the history of painting as formulated by early writers on art.


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