Past Fellows

Franco Baldasso

Summer 2017



Franco Baldasso is Director of the Italian Program and Study Abroad Program in Italy at Bard College, where he is Assistant Professor of Italian. He earned his PhD in Italian Studies at New York University in 2014, following a BA at the Università degli Studi di Bologna. His main research interests are 20th-century literature, art and intellectual history, and especially their intersections during periods of political/cultural transition. His work also examines the complex relations between Fascism and Modernism, the legacy of political violence in Italy, and finally the idea of the Mediterranean in modern and contemporary aesthetics. He authored a book on Holocaust survivor Primo Levi, Il cerchio di gesso. Primo Levi narratore e testimone (Bologna, 2007) and co-edited with Simona Wright an issue of Nemla-Italian Studies titled “Italy in WWII and the Transition to Democracy: Memory, Fiction, Histories.” His articles have appeared in Modern Language NotesRomance NotesContext, Nemla-Italian StudiesPoetiche, and Scritture Migranti. His awards include the A.W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, the NYU Humanities Initiative Honorary Fellowship, and the Remarque Institute Doctoral Fellowship. Franco contributes to; he is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Italian journal Allegoria, as well as the scientific committee of the Archivio della Memoria della Grande Guerra of the Centro Studi sulla Grande Guerra “P. Pieri” in Vittorio Veneto (TV).

For his CIMA Affiliated Fellowship at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation he will revise his book manuscript tentatively titled: “Against Redemption: Literary Dissent during the Transition from Fascism to Democracy in Italy.”

Franco also participated in the Alberto Savinio season, leading two programs exploring Savinio’s literature and contributing a paper during the Savinio Study Days.


Giovanni Casini

Fall 2016

Giovanni Casini

Giovanni is a Ph.D. candidate at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. His research, supervised by Christopher Green, focuses on the French art dealer Léonce Rosenberg and his Galerie de l’Effort Moderne in interwar Paris. The dealer’s activities are used to shed new light on the work of some of the artists he promoted – including the Italians Gino Severini and Giorgio de Chirico – as well as on the dynamics of the art market at the time. Giovanni completed his BA and MA in the History of Art at the University of Pisa and at the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa. He also undertook another MA at the Courtauld, producing a dissertation on the early work of Richard Hamilton (1949-55). He has worked extensively on the 1950s and published essays on monochrome painting in Rome around 1960 (Studi di Memofonte, 2012), Henry Moore (Sculpture Journal, 2014) and Richard Hamilton (The Burlington Magazine, 2015). He has been a teaching assistant at the Courtauld, running a methodology seminar for postgraduate students.

During his fellowship at CIMA, Giovanni examined the relationship between Léonce Rosenberg and Giorgio de Chirico from 1925 to the end of the decade. During his affiliation with Rosenberg, de Chirico started to work again on Metaphysical themes, reinventing them both iconographically and technically. Casini will also address de Chirico’s two-fold commitment to two rival art dealers, Rosenberg and Paul Guillaume, in relation to the artist’s practice of producing copies and multiples.

Explore Giovanni Casini’s research on and watch a video highlighting one of the paintings at CIMA:

Maria Bremer

Fall 2016 & Spring 2017

Maria Bremer

Maria is a PhD candidate in Art History at Freie Universität, Berlin. Under the supervision of professors Peter Geimer and Beatrice von Bismarck she is currently completing her dissertation on artistic technologies of the self in the 1970s. From 2011 until 2015 she worked as a researcher in the ERC-project “To each his own reality. The notion of the real in the fine arts of France, West Germany, East Germany and Poland 1960–1989,” headed by Mathilde Arnoux at Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art in Paris. In 2013, she conceived and organized the conference “Contemporary Art and Margins” with L. Barbisan, C. Boichot and S. Marguin at Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin, after spending the summer as a Library Grantee at the Getty Research Institute. Previously she studied art history in Milan, Tours and Berlin (2005–2011). Her fields of interest are the history of the artist-figure and exhibition history, with a special focus on the history of documenta, as well as practices of canonization and historicization. Her recent publications include the article “Modes of making art history. Looking back at documenta 5 and documenta 6”, in Stedelijk Studies #2, 2015 and the theme issue Kapitalisierungen des Marginalen, kritische berichte 3.2015 (edited with L. Barbisan and S. Marguin).

Her research for CIMA places Paolini’s artistic relationship with de Chirico within the broader perspective of artistic epigonism as a technology of the self, asking which functions do Paolini’s references to de Chirico perform, and in how far may these functions have evolved from the 1960s and 1970s until today. Paolini’s early de Chirico references will be investigated in the light of Italian neo-avant-gardist staging of the self, while his latest ones are to be read against the backdrop of current attempts to restate the sovereignty of the artist-figure at a time of increasing curatorial mediation.


Sophia Maxine Farmer

Spring 2017

Sophia Maxine Farmer

Sophia Maxine Farmer is a doctoral candidate in Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where her research focuses on Italian modern art and the socio-political structures that affected the production of artworks during twentieth century. Her dissertation centers on the importance of the machine era to the development of Futurist anthropomorphic objects and imagery. More specifically, her work considers the gendered connotations of the idealized mechanical man formed as a fetishized robotic cyborg in Futurist art and literature. Her research on the Futurist sub-movement, aeropittura, entitled “Aeropittura: Modern Aviation and the Fascist Idealization of the Italian Landscape” will be published in the collective volume Landscapes, Natures, Ecologies: Italy and the Environmental Humanities, forthcoming from the University of Virginia Press in 2016.

For her CIMA Fellowship she will be examining the role of citation, repetition and appropriation in the works of Giorgio de Chirico and Giulio Paolini as a way to better understand the ironic perspective presented by Italian artworks that celebrate kitsch, pastiche and parody in the twentieth century.


Rae Di Cicco

Travel Fellow 2016-17

Rae Di Ciccio
Photo by Melanie Pfeffer

Rae Di Cicco is a PhD candidate in the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. She specializes in the modern art, design, and cultural history of Central Europe. Her work investigates issues of identity and politics faced in the region during the transition from imperial to national organization after World War I. Her research explores the incorporation of signifiers of national artistic styles into South Tyorlian-born Austrian-Italian artist Erika Giovanna Klien’s artistic production as a kind of cosmopolitan imagination, visualizing – literally making visual – hybrid and shifting identity and multiple belonging.

For her CIMA travel fellowship, Rae will consider collaborations and communication between Klien and her colleagues and the Italian Futurists, primarily Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Enrico Prampolini. By investigating Klien’s active involvement with Italian Futurism, Rae’s dissertation aims to elucidate some of the ways in which cultural production has acted as a medium through which artists challenged exclusionary conceptions of belonging in Central Europe. This research forms part of a wider project that examines the navigation of certain subject positions in the avant grade.

Fabio Cafagna

Spring 2017


Fabio Cafagna is the recipient of the first MiBACT-SNS-CIMA Fellowship, a six-month fellowship for Italian citizens focused on postwar and contemporary Italian art, funded by the Italian Ministry of Culture and organized with the support of the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. Fabio completed a Ph.D. in history of art criticism at La Sapienza – University of Rome (2015). His research project entailed the reconstruction of the history of the chair of artistic anatomy at the Academy of Fine Arts in Turin in the 19th century.

During his time at CIMA, he plans to examine the relationships that the US gallery director John Weber had with the Italian artistic avant-garde. He is focusing in particular on the period between the opening of his New York-based gallery (1971) and the end of the first fruitful decade of activity (1981), when Weber finally moved away from the famous SoHo Art Building, 420 West Broadway. During these years, the Italian presence was far from accidental. In fact, Weber was one of the most important American dealers of Italian art, and the program of exhibitions he held clearly shows his deep knowledge of Italian contemporary aesthetic research. If examined through a solid core of data, John Weber’s activity will reveal the connections between the growing US art market and the constitution of an Italian aesthetic canon.


Silvia Bottinelli

Travel Fellow 2016-17

Silvia Bottinelli

Silvia is a full-time faculty member in the Visual and Critical Studies Department at the School of the Museum of Fine Art – Tufts University. She received her PhD from the University of Pisa in 2008. Her dissertation, published by the Fondazione Ragghianti and Pacini Fazzi (Lucca, 2010), analyzes the ways in which the Italian magazine seleArte (1952-66) discussed international art in the aftermath of fascism; seleArte was edited by Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti and supported by Adriano Olivetti. In Silvia’s first book, Un Premio Dimenticato (Florence, Edifir 2007), she studied the Florentine Gallery of Modern Art’s Fiorino collection, which includes contemporary artworks acquired between 1950 and 1978 by the Pitti Palace. This publication was inspired by Silvia’s master’s thesis (Scuola di Specializzazione) at the University of Pisa. Silvia’s present research interests are diverse and incorporate themes such as domesticity, food, materiality, and cultural translation in the history of Western art in the 20th and 21st centuries. Her articles have appeared in magazines and journals such as, among others: Art Journal, Art Papers, Sculpture, Food Studies, Predella, Richerche di Storia dell’Arte, and Annali di Critica d’Arte. Silvia has also contributed to a number of exhibition catalogues and edited volumes.

For her CIMA travel fellowship, Silvia will conduct research at libraries and archives in Bologna, Florence, Rome, Milan, Rovereto, and Turin. Silvia’s findings will support the arguments articulated by her book in progress, which focuses on the representation of the domestic in Italian art and visual culture between 1942 and 1972.


Matilde Guidelli-Guidi

Fall 2015

photo 2 (2)

Matilde is a PhD Candidate in Modern Art History at The Graduate Center, CUNY focusing on twentieth-century European art, media, and architecture, with an emphasis on the return to realism in the interwar years.  Her current research focuses on the built environments and architectural visualizations of the Milanese architectural firm B.B.P.R. (est. 1932).  Previously, between Bologna and Paris she completed her BA and MA in Early Modern Art History. Her thesis investigated testimonies of sculpture conservation in early modern Italy as practical thinking about the historicity of the artwork.  In parallel, she assisted in curating exhibitions and publications at the Musée du Louvre, the International Center of Photography, and the Paula Cooper Gallery, and participated in the 2015 MoMA MRC Workshops, dedicated to the sculptures of Pablo Picasso.

For her CIMA Fellowship, Matilde posits World House Galleries, the New York commercial gallery that gave Giorgio Morandi his first North-American monographic exhibitions (1957, 1960), at the center of an extensive study of the reception of the Bolognese artist in New York’s artistic circles, 1953-1968.


Lucia Piccioni

Fall 2015


Lucia holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris) and the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pise) where she completed her dissertation “Painting and Politics during the Italian Fascism: ‘Italianities’ in Conflict (1922- 1943)” under the supervision of professors Éric Michaud and Mario Pezzella. As a Researcher Assistant she worked during a four-year experience (2009-2012) at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA) in Paris, involved in the historiographical research axis National Issues of Artistic Discourses, 1900-1950 directed by Anne Lafont. She has been a tutor in Art History at the University Panthéon-Sorbonne since 2011 and received a postdoctoral fellowship (2014-2015) at the Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte under the annual program The Liberated Paris and the Arts headed by Laurence Bertrand Dorléac and Thomas Kirchner. 

Her research for CIMA deals with the deeply human and anti-technological dimension of Morandi’s still lifes, focusing on writings about the relations between man and technique of German philosophers Oswald Spengler and Walter Benjamin, two main and antagonist figures of the 1930s.


Nicola Lucchi

Spring 2016

Nicola LucciNicola is a doctoral candidate in Italian Studies at New York University. His dissertation investigates an understudied case of Italian industrial architecture, the Fiat Lingotto car assembly plant. Through an interdisciplinary approach, Nicola is mapping the factory’s sociopolitical, cultural, and aesthetic resonances in interwar Italy. During his undergraduate studies in Italy, at the University of Trieste, Lucchi wrote a thesis on the 1949 MoMA exhibition Twentieth Century Italian Art, with a particular focus on the political framework that surrounded the event. Lucchi’s research interests include Futurism, Socialist Realism, modern Italian literature, visual culture, and the cultural rapports between Italy and the United States during the 20th century. Lucchi has written on the visual and linguistic challenges prompted by modernity and postmodernity in the painterly work of Eugenio Montale, and he is completing essays on Bruno Munari’s activity as a graphic designer. 

For his CIMA fellowship, Lucchi investigated the network of institutions, exhibitions, personal and professional rapports that favored the diffusion of Morandi’s art in the United States during the interwar years.