GAP Project – Graffiti Art in Prison
Modes of Expression and Resistance in Prison Environments: Graffiti in their Devotional and Political Dimensions (Hybrid)

Sixth Intensive Study Week organized by Christine Kleiter (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut) and Federica Testa (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut)

Carcere Duro (‘Punishment Block’), Le Murate, Florence. Photo courtesy of Murate Art District.

Biblical scenes, figures of saints and martyrs, and depictions of Christ and the Virgin Mary are among the motifs most frequently represented on the walls of the Inquisition prisons as well as other places of reclusion and detention. In this workshop, we will explore the votive dimension of graffiti and the role of muralism as a form of political activism, social criticism, and vehicle for protest and resistance. Locally, we will also consider the historical legacy of sgraffito on Florentine palatial façades and its relationship to contemporary graffiti. We will start with the example of Florence’s Le Murate, a former female monastery turned prison, and then move to prison islands as extreme examples of punitive isolation. Other Italian case studies, such as graffiti in the Inquisition prison in Narni, Oreste Nannetti’s graffiti in Volterra former psychiatric hospital, and William Kentridge’s ‘political’ frieze in Rome, offer the opportunity to discuss relationships between punishment and expiation, faith and devotion, art and dictatorship, freedom and censorship, and concealment and visibility. Collectively, we will reflect on the (im)permanence of graffiti and its intrinsic fragility as a medium entrusted with the precarious task of preserving memory.



This event will take place in a hybrid format. Speakers marked with an asterisk (*) will take part from remote. To participate online please register in advance via Zoom:


MONDAY 27th MARCH - Political Prisons and Human Rights

Morning session (MAD – Murate Art District, Sala Ketty La Rocca, Piazza delle Murate / online)

09.30   Valentina Gensini (MAD – Murate Art District), MAD: The Urban Regeneration and The Uncomfortable Heritage

10.15    Gabriella Cianciolo Cosentino (Scientific Coordinator GAP Project / Universität zu Köln / Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut), Prison Graffiti: A Genre?

10.30    Federica Testa (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut) and Christine Kleiter (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut), Introduction

11.00    Coffee break

11.20   Antonella Tuoni (Sollicciano Prison), Institutional Greetings

11.30   Camilla Perrone (Università degli Studi di Firenze), I CARE: Turning the Prison of Florence (Italy) into a Peripheral Centrality via Social Inclusion, Suburban Regeneration and Participatory Design


Afternoon session (KHI - Palazzo Grifoni, Sala Conferenze, Via dei Servi 51 / online)

15.00  Gerhard Wolf (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut), Institutional Greetings

15.15   Vincenzo Scalia (Università degli Studi di Firenze), Isolation and Annihilations. Political Prisons and Bare Life

16.15   Sofia Ciuffoletti (Università degli Studi di Firenze), Symbols, Art and Resistance in Prison. A Legal-Anthropological Perspective


TUESDAY 28th MARCH – Prison Islands

Morning session (MAD – Murate Art District, Sala Ketty La Rocca, Piazza delle Murate / online)

09.30   Valerio Calzolaio* (author), Hundreds of Prison Islands: The Double Isolation of the Sapiens on Prison Islands (talk in Italian)

10.30   Milica Prokić (University of Glasgow), Written in Stone, Written on Stone: A History of the Prisoners Art, Literature and Poetry on Goli Otok (Isola Calva)




Part I: The Devotional Dimension of Graffiti

Part II: Public Art as Palimpsest

 Morning session (KHI - Palazzo Grifoni, Sala Conferenze, Via dei Servi 51 / online)

09.30  Mia Trentin (The Cyprus Institute – STARC), Devotional Aspects of Cypriot Medieval and Early Modern Graffiti

10.30   Anna Clara Basilicò, (Università Padova/Venezia), Showing Devotion. The Case of Narni Prison

11.15   Coffee break

11.30   Andreas Huth* (TU Berlin), Wall Politics. Florentine Sgraffito Decorations of the 14th and 15th Century


Public event (MAD – Murate Art District, Piazza delle Murate)

Multiplier Event of the GAP Project

18.00   Exhibition opening 102 m by Nicolò Degiorgis

18.30   Presentation of the GAP project results 


THURSDAY  30th MARCH – Psychiatric Hospitals and Outsider Art

Morning session (MAD – Murate Art District, Sala Ketty La Rocca, Piazza delle Murate / online)

10.30   Marcos Larraz Rincón (Universidad de Zaragoza), A Decade of Change. Photography and Social Perception of Spanish Psychiatry in the 1970s

11.15   Virginia di Bari (Università degli Studi di Palermo), Carved in Stone: The Wall of NOF4


FRIDAY 31st MARCH - Conservation and Exhibition of Street Art

Afternoon session (KHI - Palazzo Grifoni, Sala Conferenze, Via dei Servi 51 / online)

15.00   Laura Barreca (Artistic Coordinator GAP Project / Università degli Studi di Palermo / Accademia di Belle Arti di Catania), Introduction to the Session

15.15   Carlota Santabárbara (Universidad de Zaragoza), Street Art Conservation in Spain

16.30   PhD round table and concluding remarks, moderated by Juan Carlos Lozano López (Universidad de Zaragoza) and Jorge Jiménez López (Universidad de Zaragoza)


SATURDAY 1st APRIL - #1 Open Day – I CARE: Carcere e Città

Sollicciano Prison, Via G. Minervini, 2/r

09.30    Study Day organized by Camilla Perrone (Università degli Studi di Firenze)



In collaboration with:

27 March – 01 April 2023


This will be a hybrid event.


Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz
Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai
Via dei Servi 51
50122 Firenze, Italia

Murate Art District (MAD)
Piazza delle Murate
50122 Firenze, Italia

There is no need to register to participate in person.

To participate online please register in advance via Zoom: 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 


This event will be documented photographically and/or recorded on video. Please let us know if you do not agree with the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz using images in which you might be recognizable for event documentation and public relation purposes (e.g. social media).


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