Dr. Francesca Dell'Acqua

Associate Scholar

During her studies at the universities of Florence and East Anglia (1989–96), Francesca collaborated with the British School at Rome's archaeological mission at the early medieval monastery of San Vincenzo al Volturno. She devoted her "tesi di laurea", her PhD thesis, her first edited book (2001), and her first monograph (2003) to the employment of glazed windows and the theology of light in late antique and early medieval architecture, in the West and in the Mediterranean basin. A Summer Fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks-Harvard University (2002) was followed by archaeological campaigns at the Byzantine site of Amorium (2002, 2005, 2006), and by a post-doc Stipendium (2002-03) at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome. While working as Research Assistant to Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wolf, Director of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (2003-05), she contributed to the exhibition on the Genoa Mandylion, the image known as the Holy Face of Christ or Edessan acheiropoieiton, i.e. not-made-by-human-hands, by analysing its textual and visual sources, and the material-symbolical implications of the fine metalwork framing of the Genoa example.

Since 2005, as Assistant Professor, Francesca has taught History of Medieval Art at the Università di Salerno, Italy. In 2014 she gained the National Habilitation as Associate Professor.

In 2008–12 she investigated the cultural history and reception of the Serpent Column in the Hippodrome of Constantinople/Istanbul. In 2010–11 she has been a member of the research group "The Material Life of Things" at the Courtauld Institute, London.

In the past six years she has lead, with Gerhard Wolf, Avinoam Shalem, and Herbert L. Kessler, an international study group on the Salerno ivories (eleventh-twelfth century) sponsored by the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz.

Besides a large number of prestigious fellowships during her PhD, in the last ten years she has been awarded the Hahn-Preis (2006) by the Bibliotheca Hertziana, and held fellowships at Dumbarton Oaks (2013), the Bibliotheca Hertziana (2013), and the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman, and Modern Greek Studies in Birmingham (2015–17).

While at the University of Birmingham as Marie Curie Fellow (2015-17), she will conduct the research project "ICONOPHILIA" on the development and dissemination of the theological matters that affected the policies of the Roman Catholic Church during the Byzantine Iconoclasm, and the "translation" of these theological matters into literary and visual imagery.

  • Kulturgeschichte of late antique and early medieval arts (metalwork, enamel, ivory, glass)
  • Praying, learning, working, and writing in early western monasticism
  • Byzantine iconoclasm in the West: the role of monasticism


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