Past Fellows

Eloisa Morra

Summer 2018



Eloisa Morra is Assistant Professor of Italian and Visual Studies at the University of Toronto. She earned a Ph.D. in Italian Literature from Harvard University, completed her B.A. and M.A. at the Scuola Normale Superiore, and was a Visiting Scholar Researcher at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon.

In her research, she explores interdisciplinary issues at the crossroad of textual criticism and art history, Modernism, translation, the Renaissance and its reception in the twentieth century (a list can be found here). Eloisa’s book “Un allegro fischiettare nelle tenebre. Ritratto di Toti Scialoja” traced the first intellectual biography of painter-poet Toti Scialoja; it was published by Quodlibet in 2014 and received a special mention at the Edinburgh Gadda Prize 2015. Also, Eloisa discovered and published an unknown illustrated book by Scialoja, Tre per un topo (Quodlibet 2014). Her essays have appeared in Lettere ItalianeItalianistica, Ermeneutica letterariaForum Italicum, among others. Eloisa is the editor of a forthcoming collection of essays on the formation of the literary canon in Renaissance Italy. At Harvard, she collaborated with the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts and worked as a research curatorial assistant at the Harvard Art Museums, co-curating the exhibition, “In Africa is another Story: Looking Back at Italian Colonialism” (Pusey Library, 2014). She is a regular contributor to Flash Art and alias-il manifesto.

For her CIMA Affiliated Fellowship at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation she will work on her manuscript, “Beyond the page. Gadda and the visual arts.”

Antonio David Fiore

Fall 2018

Antonio David Fiore passed his Viva in November 2017, completing a fully funded PhD in History of Art at the Open University (UK) supervised by Tim Benton and Susie West. His research focused on the output of the Italian decorator Giulio Rosso (1895-1976), reconstructing Rosso’s career while considering the significance of his practice in the context of the decorative arts of the interwar period. Between September 2017 and January 2018, he worked as Associate Lecturer at the School of Art and Design of the University of Bath Spa, where he taught “Art and Design since 1945.”

Antonio graduated in Heritage Studies at the Tuscia University of Viterbo and was awarded a post-graduate diploma by La Sapienza University of Rome. Between 2006 and 2010, he worked as Assistant Lecturer for the Industrial Archaeology and History of Architecture course of the Faculty of Heritage Studies, Tuscia University, Viterbo. As an art historian researcher and cataloguer, Antonio has worked for various galleries and museums in Rome, including the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Museo della Centrale Montemartini, and Musei Vaticani – Modern Art Collection. He has contributed articles, studies, and catalogue entries to a number of different journals, conference proceedings, exhibition catalogues, and books. His monograph on the history of the Centrale Montemartini former power plant in Rome is to be published in summer 2018.

Antonio’s research at CIMA will focus on the Mario Sironi paintings gifted by Emilio and Maria Jesi to the Pinacoteca di Brera. Created between 1918 and 1920, these works are a testament Sironi’s engagement with pittura metafisica and demonstrate the artist’s troubled elaboration of a personal and original interpretation of the movement. The project will result in a detailed catalogue entry for each of painting, which will serve as references for Brera’s curators and researchers once the works go on view in the newly refurbished Palazzo Citterio.

Elena Salza

Fall 2017 - Spring 2018

Elena Salza_Photo

Elena Salza is a doctoral candidate in History of the Arts at Ca’ Foscari University, Venice. Her thesis focuses on the development and peculiarities of Italian art, seen through the lens of the literary and artistic activity of Mario Diacono from the 1960s to the 1980s. She examines in an interdisciplinary way artistic literature and visual culture, and investigates the cultural exchanges between Italy and the United States by studying the role that a revisitation of the historical avant-gardes has played in fostering artistic experiments during those decades.

Salza studied at the University Roma Tre in Rome and at the School of the Vatican Library. She has degrees in both the humanities and art history, with a postgraduate qualification in Library Science. She has worked at the Fondazione Alighiero e Boetti in Rome, and been a member of the research team for the National Research Project The Multiplication of Art/Visual Culture in Italy, and a member of the cataloguing team of the Harald Szeemann Archive at the Getty Research Institute. She also studied at the École de Printemps in Paris in 2012, and at the Digital Humanities Fall School, Venice in 2015. In 2016 she was a recipient of the Branca Research Scholarship at Fondazione Giorgio Cini, also in Venice. Her articles have appeared in L’Uomo Nero (2011); “Arte moltiplicata. L’immagine del Novecento italiano nello specchio dei rotocalchi” in Studi di Memofonte (2013); and Arte a Firenze 1970-2015 (2016).

For her CIMA Fellowship, she will be evaluating the historical circumstances leading to Alberto Savinio’s re-appraisal in the 1970s and 1980s. In this context, she will investigate the terms and modalities of the reception of Savinio’s visual and literary imagery as a source for Francesco Clemente’s painting, placing Savinio’s rediscovery within the framework of the growing critical attention given to some of the new positions in the field of contemporary art.



Alice Ensabella

Spring 2018


Alice Ensabella received her Ph.D. from the University La Sapienza of Rome, in co-direction with the University of Grenoble, in 2017. Her research, supervised by Alain Bonnet and Ilaria Schiaffini, focuses on the rise of an art market around early Surrealist art (1919-1930).

She began this work during her BA and MA in Art History at the University of Florence, analyzing the activity of Parisian art dealers in the 1920s and 1930s. Since 2012, she has been collaborating with the Archivio dell’Arte Metafisica in Milan and since 2013 with the Magnani Rocca Foundation in Parma (working on exhibitions on Campigli, Gino Severini, Giacomo Manzù, Marino Marini, and Paul Delvaux). In 2015 she became a member of the International Network for Young Scholars of the Forum of Art and Market (Berlin, Technische Universität).

In 2016, she assumed charge of documentation at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris and research engineer for the Labex “Le surréalisme au regard des galeries, des collectionneurs et des médiateurs, 1924-1959”. At present, she is an assistant professor at the University of Grenoble teaching Contemporary Art History and running a seminar on the Contemporary Art Market.

Alice has published articles and essays on Surrealist art market (Ricerche di Storia dell’xArte, 2017 – Studi Online, 2015 – 2016) and on the relationship between dealers and artists (Gino Severini. L’emozione, la regola, 2016).

 During her fellowship at CIMA, Alice will reconsider Savinio’s second Parisian period (1926-1933) in a new light, trying to explore in depth his relationships with André Breton and others group’s members, the influences of artists as Max Ernst on his painting, as well as the circulation of his works in the Parisian artistic environment (in private collections or auctions).


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.


Giulia Tulino

Fall 2017

Foto Giulia Tulino

Giulia Tulino is a Ph.D. candidate in contemporary art history at the University La Sapienza of Rome. Her thesis project, “La galleria dell’Obelisco e il surrealismo a Roma 1940-1960,” emerges from her interest in surrealism and the fantastic in Italian art during the first half of the 20th century, with a special focus on the contacts between Rome and New York. She is also currently an assistant professor for academic activities at the University La Sapienza of Rome. She has published two essays on the Obelisk Gallery in Rome: Dalla Margherita all’Obelisco: arte fantastica italiana tra Roma e New York negli anni ’40 (in the proceedings of the Irene Brin e l’Obelisco conference organized by Vittoria Caterina Caratozzolo, Ilaria Schiaffini e Claudio Zambianchi) and La galleria dell’Obelisco e il surrealismo a Roma 1944/1961: gli anni ’50, i rapporti con l’estero, le nuove generazioni post surrealiste (in the proceedings of In Corso d’Opera 2. Giornate di studio dei dottorandi di ricerca in storia dell’arte della Sapienza Università di Roma conference, Rome, 2016). As an independent curator, she has worked for both private galleries and public institutions including the MLAC (Laboratory Museum of Contemporary Art at La Sapienza University of Rome). From March 2015 she has served as the managing director and curator for the Jacorossi Collection in Rome, which holds some three thousand art works of Italian contemporary art, dating between the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. 

At CIMA her research will examine the relation between Savinio the writer/critic and Savinio the painter, in connection with the legitimacy of an Italian “fantastic art.” Beginning from the art scene in Rome between 1943 and 1946 and the friendship between Savino and the artists who gravitated around the Obelisk Gallery, she aims to reconstruct a history of fantastical art in Italy and its promotion in the United States, particularly at the Julien Levy Gallery and later at the Hugo Gallery.



Serena Alessi

Fall 2017

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Serena Alessi is a researcher in Italian Studies. In 2015 she received her PhD from Royal Holloway University of London, where she also taught Italian language and culture; her thesis From Silence to Voice: Penelope’s Feminist Odyssey in Italian Literature focused on the myth of Penelope in the Italian literary tradition.  She has recently been a postdoctoral Rome Fellow at The British School at Rome (2016-17) and Benno Geiger Fellow at the Fondazione Cini in Venice (2017).  Her research interests include contemporary Italian literature, feminism, and postcolonial studies. She has published on the figure of Penelope, Luigi Malerba, and Alberto Savinio; she has taken part in many international conferences and organized various panels, seminars, and colloquia. In addition to her academic experiences, she is a contributor to the RaiUno TV Program Mille e un libro and to the literary blog

For her CIMA Fellowship she examined Alberto Savinio’s representation of mythological characters in both his literary and artistic production, with a special focus on female characters. 

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.