The School of Specialization in Art History is a two-year postgraduate course meant for the highest qualification of art historians in the field of preservation, conservation, management and communication of cultural heritage.
In the School’s academic offer, alongside the basic teachings of art history and architecture, from late antiquity to the present day, in a multidisciplinary perspective focused on the contexts of production and reception of artworks, special emphasis is also put on the theoretical and practical aspects of the material knowledge of artifacts: from the analysis of the techniques to the use of non-invasive diagnostic investigation tools. Museum studies enrich the courses offer and are accompanied by the legal and economic skills essential to meet the challenges of an increasingly articulated and complex professional field.
Lectures, seminars, conferences and exhibitions organized by the School follow the research work carried out by the faculty members of the University of Siena, in synergy with the cultural institutions of the area and their specialists, primarily from the Ministry of Culture. They ensured over the years, including in the courses taught in Siena, a constant dialogue with the professional world, in both the public and private sectors.
Always open to national and international exchange, over the decades the School has welcomed students from all regions of Italy and even from abroad, and has made such a plurality of experiences a resource of its educational project, even over the long term, maintaining constant collaboration between students and faculty. Many of the students specialized in Siena now hold prestigious positions in research and university teaching, in the management of museums and exhibition spaces, in the public administration of cultural heritage, in academies of fine arts, in the art market, in journalism and publishing.
Since its creation in 1977, with a three-year program that served as a model for the subsequent reform of the Schools of Specialization in 1982 (D.P.R. No. 162 of March 10, 1982), until the last one in 2006 (D.M. No. 524 of January 31, 2006), still in force today, the School has benefited over the years from the involvement of some of the greatest art history scholars in Italy in the second half of the twentieth century – from Giovanni Previtali to Luciano Bellosi, from Giuliano Briganti to Enrico Crispolti – who have oriented its programmatic choices and educational offer, with a special attention to the practice of art history in the contemporary debate and the political issues concerning the defense of cultural heritage and humanistic education.
Giovanni Previtali (1977-1983)
Fiorella Sricchia Santoro (1983-1986)
Enrico Crispolti (1986-1998)
Roberto Guerrini (1998-2001)
Enrico Crispolti (2001-2005)
Giuseppe Cantelli (2005-2008)
Massimo Bignardi (2008-2012)
Roberto Venuti (2012-2013)
Massimo Bignardi (2013-2016)
Gabriella Piccinni (2016)
Fabio Gabbrielli (2016-2019)
Davide Lacagnina (2019- )
About the editor
Davide Lacagnina is the Director of the School of Specialization in Art History of the University of Siena, where he is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History and Criticism. In 2019 he was Visiting Professor at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotà, in 2022 Wallace Fellow at I Tatti | The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies e in 2023-2024 Advisor to the American Academy in Rome.
He obtained his PhD in Art History at the University of Palermo and specialized in Modern and Contemporary Art History at the University of Siena. He attended master courses in Museum Studies and Cultural Heritage Management at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa and at the École du Louvre in Paris and carried out research work at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcellona, the Department of Archeology and Art History of the University of Siena, the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris, the Warburg Institute in London, the Mart in Rovereto, and the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm. He was responsible, at the University of Siena, for the local unit of the research project FIRB 2012 “Spreading Visual Culture: Contemporary Art through periodical, archives, and illustrations” (2013-2017) (http://www.capti.it/).
He authored numerous publications. His research interests include in-depth studies on Symbolism (and especially on Gustave Moreau’s paintings), Futurism, Surrealism, Interwar Italian Art, Art Criticism (Vittorio Pica, Juan-Eduardo Cirlot, Giulio Carlo Argan), Art Historiography, the reception of Old Masters in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, and Modern Art Collecting, with a special attention to the history of exhibitions and cultural institutions and the role of cultural diplomacy in international relations.