knowledge of the texts of art literature from the 15th to the 18th century; ability to analyze and understand the different types and genres to which the texts that make up the heritage of artistic literature belong; ability to relate the texts with the works of art to which they refer; ability to refer the texts of the sources to their contexts; ability to communicate information and ideas orally
teacher profile | teaching materials


The Promotion of the Arts in the Italian Pre-Unitarian States. From the Age of Reforms to Unification [sources, works, documents in a classic study by Sandra Pinto, 1982].

On the occasion of the republication of Sandra Pinto's long essay devoted to La promozione delle arti negli stati italiani. Dalle Riforme all'Unità, which came out for Einaudi in 2022, i.e., a text that is considered a classic of studies on Italian figurative culture in the 18th and 19th centuries, this course intends to retrace the manifold artistic events of the Italian peninsula during the latter 18th and early 19th centuries, using the filter of the history of art institutions (promotion of art in the courts, academies, museums, exhibitions), patronage, private collecting, and, especially, historiography, art criticism, and the many sources of art literature, especially odeporic literature and epistolography (which represent the most conspicuous and generous ones).
The lectures will start from the political geography of the Italian peninsula, analyzing the artistic situation of the different states, from Savoy's Piedmont to the Venetian Republic, from the Papal States to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Through the analysis of worksites, conjunctures, patrons, collectors and artists, the lectures will try to reassemble a unified picture, yes, but as articulated as possible, of the functioning of the arts system before the unification of Italy in 1861, roughly from Winckelmann's activity in Italy to that of Pietro Selvatico, and thus introduce to the study of artists and works of art in Italy between the 18th and 19th centuries.

Core Documentation

Course bibliography

Julius Schlosser Magnino, La letteratura artistica, Florence, La Nuova Italia, 1964 (original edition in German: Vienna 1924). The digital edition is provided by University od Heidelberg: http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/schlosser1964.

Sandra Pinto, La promozione delle arti negli stati italiani. Dalle Riforme all’Unità, edited by Giovanna Capitelli, Torin, Einaudi 2022.

for attending students:
teaching materials (PPT) and related bibliography for further study, made available on Teams during the course of the teaching.

for non-attending students:
at least two texts of your choice from the following:

Barbara Agosti, Giorgio Vasari. Luoghi e tempi delle Vite, Milan, Officina Libraria, 2016.

Ferdinando Bologna, La coscienza storica dell’arte in Italia. Introduzione alla Storia dell’Arte in Italia, Turin, UTET ,1982 oppure Milan,Garzanti, 1992 (in part. chapter. VI, Dalle Scuole seicentesche al “Sistema delle Scuole” di Luigi Lanzi). This text is out of print and can be consulted at the 'Luigi Grassi' Arts Library in Piazza della Repubblica. A pdf copy of the indicated parts has been uploaded to the Teams platform.

Donata Levi, Il discorso sull'arte. Dalla tarda antichità a Ghiberti, Milano, Bruno Mondadori, 2010;

Michael Baxandall, Giotto e gli umanisti. Gli umanisti osservatori della pittura in Italia e la scoperta della composizione pittorica 1350 - 1450, Milano, Jaca Book, 1994;

Paola Barocchi, Storiografia e collezionismo dal Vasari al Lanzi, in Storia dell'arte italiana, I.2, L'artista e il pubblico, a cura di Giovanni Previtali, Torino, Einaudi, 1979, pp. 5-81.

Reference Bibliography

Specific bibliography on individual topics will be provided during the lectures.

Type of delivery of the course

Lectures, workshops and site visits.


Not compulsory,

Type of evaluation

The exam consists of an oral test. The student who attended the course undergoes some topics covered in the course and others analyzed in the bibliography adopted. The non-attending student must instead demonstrate to have studied in depth the texts of the exam program. The rating scale is 30/30. Evaluation elements are: 1) the depth and breadth of the knowledge acquired; 2) the control on language and the mastery of the sector vocabulary; 3) the ability to critically link issues and problems addressed.