Eduardo De Maio
Eduardo De Maio is a final year PhD candidate in History of Art at the University of York, United Kingdom. Supervised by Prof. Elizabeth Prettejohn, Eduardo’s thesis investigates the phenomenon of cultural interchange and transmission between Britain and Italy at the turn of the twentieth century, presenting it as a mutual opportunity for both countries to discover their respective contemporary artistic cultures.
Eduardo holds an MA in History of Modern and Contemporary Art from the University of York, with a dissertation on the relationship between the English sculptor Henry Moore and Tuscany. The research was carried out mainly at the Henry Moore Foundation, The Henry Moore Institute and at the KHI in Florence, with a focus on the innovative exhibition of Moore’s sculptures held at the Forte di Belvedere in Florence in 1972 and its impact on the 1970s-Italian environmental art.
Previously, Eduardo was awarded a BA in Cultural Studies at the University of Florence, Italy, with a thesis in History of Art Criticism, focussing on the Italian critic Roberto Longhi’s early Futurist ekphrasis.
In the meantime, Eduardo has worked at the History of Art Department of the University of York as Graduate Teaching Assistant and as Associate Editor of the Department peer-reviewed journal Aspectus. He previously worked as an exhibition and collection researcher at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds and at the York Museum Trust.
His further research interests include European and Italian art between 1880s and 1930s, Post-War exhibition practice, Arte Povera and Environmental art, democratization and social commitment in culture.
As a CIMA fellow, Eduardo will investigate the impact of Anglo-American and European social/socialist culture on fin de siècle Italian art and culture, in particular on the gradual development of a social commitment and tendencies to socialism (Humanitarian and Evolutionary), which some Italian artists embraced between the 1880s and 1910s. This theme will be analyzed in the broader context of the fin de siècle internationalism, alongside highlighting its peculiarities as a phenomenon per se, parallel or even clashing with the contemporary influences coming from the rest of Europe and beyond. Most importantly, it will be related to the cultural debate that hinged on the dichotomy of “Art for the few” (elitist) and “Art for the People” (collective), which animated Italian culture for almost four decades between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Camilla Froio earned her PH.D in Art Criticism and Theory at the University of Florence, Italy, with a dissertation on the process of appropriation and canonization of G.E. Lessing’s “Laokoon” in North-America during the XIXth century, here regarded as a fundamental step to the formalization of the modernist lexicon in America during the 1930s and the 1940s. Camilla’s research especially focused on the analysis of Clement Greenberg’s essay “Towards a Newer Laocoon,” published on “Partisan Review” in 1940, and on the cultural and historical significance of Greenberg’s reference to Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s treatise. Moreover, her thesis intended to demonstrate that Greenberg’s peculiar choice to reappraise the German classic was partly due to Lessing’s traditional and enduring popularity in North-America during the second half of the XIXth century. This part of Camilla’s study has been published in “Studi di Memofonte” with the title “La cultura nord-americana e il Laokoon di G.E. Lessing: premesse di una fortunata ricezione critica, 1840-1874.” Camilla’s research for her Ph.D thesis was supported by a Getty Library Grant from the Getty Research Institute, which allowed her to study Greenberg’s personal papers, held by the mentioned institution, and to elaborate the hypothesis on the existence of multiple drafts of Greenberg’s essay. An article on this subject, called “Un Unreleased Laokoon: The First Draft of Clement Greenberg’s Towards a Newer Laocoon,” has been recently published in the “Getty Research Journal” (2021).
Over the years, Camilla published a number of articles as well as two books dedicated to Clement Greenberg (A Quality of Jewishness. Ebraismo e modernismo nella critica di Clement Greenberg, 2018; Verso un Laocoonte modernista. Temi, immagini e contesti del Laocoonte di Clement Greenberg, 2020, both for Angelo Pontecorboli Editore, Florence). Camilla took part in the 2018 École de printemps with an essay on the political significance of Clement Greenberg’s “Laocoon,” and recently contributed to the 2021 École de printemps, where she presented a paper on the painter Hans Hofmann and his theory of art. She contributed with the Centro dell’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci (Prato, Italy) on several occasions, giving talks and lectures on topics related to contemporary art. Camilla is currently Cultore della materia in Art History and Criticism at the University of Florence, and conference secretariat for the upcoming 16th Expert Working Group Meeting for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Landscape and Archeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley World Heritage Property, for the University of Florence.
From these research experiences, Camilla’s interest has gradually gravitated towards topics related to the transcultural interactions between American and European culture, with a particular emphasis on the ideological aspect of knowledge and on the processes of cultural negotiations.
During her time at CIMA, Camilla will be working on the collecting history of Alberto Pasini’s “orientalist” artworks in Northeastern America; she will be highlighting the visual success of Pasini’s paintings, as well as their critical reception and circulation from the 1870s until the first decade of the XXth century. Moreover, Camilla will be examining the depiction and crystallization of the image of the “Italian peasant” that, along with the iconic representation of Muslim subjects, was perceived through the lenses of a preconceived network of stereotypes around Italy’s so-called “Southern question.”
Giorgio Motisi is a PhD candidate in Art History at the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa). His doctoral research, supervised by professor Flavio Fergonzi, focuses on the Italian Ultimo Naturalismo (“Last Naturalism”) and Francesco Arcangeli’s work as a critic during the 1950s. Giorgio attended both the University of Pisa and the Scuola Normale Superiore. In 2018, after completing an internship at the Marino Marini Foundation (Pistoia), he defended a thesis on Marini’s portraits. An extract of the thesis has been published in the CIMA journal (Italian Modern Art, 2021). In 2020, he discussed his MA thesis on the portraits of the anti-fascist group Corrente, which emphasized the social and political values of these artworks. The first results of the thesis are about to be presented at a conference at the Kunsthistorisches Institut (Florence 2021). Giorgio’s main area of interest is Italian 20th century painting and sculpture, with an emphasis on their connections to the sociocultural context, the reception of ancient and Renaissance art, and the critical dialogue with the international avant-gard. On these subjects he has contributed book chapters, published articles in leading academic journals (Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore, 2020; L’uomo nero, 2021), and attended international conferences (Pisa 2019; Ravenna 2021; Reims 2021; New York 2021). He is a contributor to Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (Enciclopedia Treccani), with entries on the painters Filippo de Pisis (2019), Ernesto Treccani (2020), and Italo Valenti (2020). Furthermore, since 2018 he has been on the board of FAcT (Festival of Academic Theater): an association which organizes international festivals for university theater companies. Giorgio’s research project for the 2022 CIMA Fellowship proposes a new way of interpreting an oftenoverlooked issue: the value of titles in socially committed artworks of the late-19th and early-20th centuries. In those decades, indeed, Italian painters and sculptors showed an unprecedented interest in their choice of titles, conceiving them as instruments capable of deeply enriching their works. Taking into account a large number of case studies, the main purpose of the project will be to understand not only the sources but also the reasons and aims of their choices, providing a starting point for analyzing the inner workings of titles, their critical reception and their variations depending on different contexts and audiences.