Prof. Maddalena Spagnolo

Università degli studi di Napoli 'Federico II'

Maddalena Spagnolo is Associate professor at the University of Naples Federico II. She received her MA (Specializzazione) and Ph.D in Art History from the University of Pisa (1998; 2003) and was Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the University of Siena until 2006. She has studied at the Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study, University of London, thanks to a Francis Yates fellowship and research grants from the MIUR and the British Academy-Accademia dei Lincei. She was awarded post-doctoral fellowships from the Italian Academy (Columbia University) in 2006 and 2011/12, the Villa I Tatti (Harvard University) in 2007/8, the Bibliotheca Hertziana in 2009 and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in 2010 and ‘11. She works on 16th-17th century art and criticism, with a focus on the history of its reception. Her writings have been published in exhibition catalogues, peer reviewed journals and edited volumes. She is author of Correggio: geografia e storia della fortuna, 1528-1657 (2005) and Pasquino in piazza: una statua a Roma tra arte e vituperio (2019).

  • 16th-17th century art and criticisim, with a focus on the rise of wit and irony in early modern Kunstliteratur
  • Reception of works of art
  • Conflicts between patrons and artists and rivalries between artists
  • Correggio and Emilian art
  • Leonardo and his legacy

During my period at the Kunsthistorisches Institut I will work on two different research projects.

1. The first project concerns Correggio's dialogue with Leonardo, a topic I briefly addressed in 2019, which I will investigate within the broader framework of Leonardo’s early 16th century legacy in the areas of Mantua and Parma. The research aims to show how the mosaic of the history of reception, created by a range of different sources, can offer a crucial means of understanding relationships between artists in the context of the Erwartungshorizont of patrons and the public. 

2. The second project focuses on a selection of 16th century case studies that highlight the controversial relationship between artists, on the one hand, and between artists and patrons (or publics), on the other. These examples show how some public works of art were able to generate distinctive criticism that influenced not only their reception but also their invention, by curbing the authors' freedom of expression. The work of art appears therefore as a “contested field” in which figures that are socially and culturally heterogeneous meet and collide with each other. 


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