Prof. Dr. Chiara Franceschini
Principal Investigator

Before joining the LMU in 2016, I worked at the Warburg Institute (2009-2013) and taught Renaissance Studies at UCL, London (2011-2016). Prior to and after the completion of my PhD (“Il limbo e le sue immagini. Tardo medioevo-età moderna”, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, 2008), I was the recipient of fellowships and awards, including a doctoral research grant from the European University Institute in Florence, a Newton International Postdoctoral Fellowship from The British Academy (2009-2011), ‘I Tatti Prize’ for the best essay by an early career scholar (2011), a Fernand Braudel – IFER Fellowship at the Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme and the EHESS in Paris (2014-15), and a Fellowship from the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University (2015-16).

My work is situated at the crossroads of the history of art, early modern history and visual culture in Europe. Currently, I investigate the impact of materiality and visualization in early modern religion and politics. I have written on various aspects of Renaissance patronage and intercultural exchange in Europe; the political use of images; family chapels in Rome; Michelangelo and the relations between art, iconography and devotion; the visualization of baptism, liminality and unbaptized children in Italy and Europe. My exploration of the relations between images, theology and belief in relation to the fate of the children and other groups of uncertain theological status (the pagans, the people from the New World and the good non-Christians) culminated in my monograph on the history and the representations of limbo in Europe (Storia del limbo, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2017). I am also interested in art theory and historiography and I have published on the relevance of photographs and photographic collections for art history and cultural studies (Classifying content: Photographic Collections and Theories of Thematic Ordering, co-edited with K. Mazzucco, Special Issue of Visual Resources, 2014).

In connection with SACRIMA, I am responsible for coordinating the project and supervising the work of the team and for a series of cases studies concerning, in particular, Italy, Spain and France; I am currently writing on the limits of violent representations of the Crucifixion in pre-modern art between Italy and Spain (working title: Too Many Wounds: Hyperrealistic Crucifixes and the Normative Image); I am editing, with the help of the team, the first collective outputs of the Sacrima project (“Contested forms” and “Liminal bodies/Holy Children”). I am also co-editing a collective volume on Roman Chapels in the Cinquecento and the Seicento: Function, Form and Meaning (with Patrizia Tosini and Steven Ostrow) and working in collaboration with Chiara Petrolini on the relation beteween botany, theology and visualization in the global 17th-century. These series of publication projects and current activities are planned to lead to the elaboration of a comprehensive monograph with the working sub-title: “The Normativity of Sacred Images in Early Modern Europe”.



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Storia del limbo, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2017

Type of publication: Book

Back cover:
“Da quando l’espressione limbus inferni, “l’orlo dell’inferno”, cominciò a essere usata dai teologi occidentali nel tardo XII secolo fino al 19 gennaio 2007, quando papa Benedetto XVI invitò i fedeli a “lasciar cadere l’ipotesi limbo”, sono trascorsi quasi mille anni. Oggi la vicenda del limbo sembra finita. Questo saggio, per la prima volta nella storia della cultura occidentale, racconta com’è nata e come si è sviluppata.

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