27928 - Laboratory (1) (LM) (G. B)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Visual Arts (cod. 9071)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the workshop the student is able to organize and collect complex information in a coherent form, he can apply critical analysis methodologies on the visual arts. He can make appropriate use of the sources of information needed to deal with research in the various areas of the visual arts.

Course contents

The Connoisseurship of Italian Painting: Carlo Volpe and His Photo Archive

 The workshop will focus on the method of Connoisseurship in the art historical field, here understood not only properly as the activity consisting in the attribution of artworks, but more widely as the approach identifying Art History as the real knowledge of individual artworks in their specific existence and the discovery of the historical entanglement of relationships where they are placed. This method is rooted in the analysis of pictorial style, given the artistic nature of the objects it investigates.

The workshop will consist of two parts, devoted to the two essential documents the connoisseur method applies to, photographs and original artworks, the first and irreplaceable sources:

  • 1. Attribution exercises of Italian paintings based on a selection of the related photographs belonging to the personal archive of Carlo Volpe (1926–1984), one of the most prominent students of Roberto Longhi and among the leading exponents of the connoisseur method, an eminent scholar of Italian Painting from the thirteenth to the eighteenth century and teacher at the University of Bologna; the Fototeca Volpe was acquired by the Istituto per i Beni Culturali of the Regione Emilia-Romagna (IBC) in 1988 and became part of the Fototeca I.B. Supino of the library of the Department of Visual arts of the University of Bologna (merged into the present Department of the Arts [DAR] in 2012) in 2006, Biblioteca delle Arti, Sezione I.B. Supino since 2020 (ABIS);


Some useful introductory references on Connoisseurship may include, but are not limited to:

  • Benati, Daniele. 2017. "Longhi e Annibale Carracci." In Il mestiere del conoscitore. Roberto Longhi, edited by Anna Maria Ambrosini Massari, Andrea Bacchi, Daniele Benati, and Aldo Galli, 289-317. Bologna: Fondazione Federico Zeri.
  • Berenson, Bernard. 1962. Rudiments of Connoisseurship: Study and Criticism of Italian Art (1902). New York: Schocken Books.
  • Castelnuovo, Enrico. 1994. “L’attribuzione e i suoi fantasmi.” In L’attribuzione: teoria e pratica: Storia dell'arte, musicologia, letteratura. Atti del seminario di Ascona, 30 settembre - 5 ottobre 1992, edited by Ottavio Besomi and Carlo Caruso, 17-28. Basel: Birkhauser.
  • Conti, Alessandro. 1980. “Roberto Longhi e l’attribuzione.” Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. Classe di Lettere e Filosofia, 3rd ser., 10 (3): 1093-1117.
  • Costamagna, Philippe. 2017. Avventure di un occhio (2016). Monza: Johan & Levi.
  • Elsig, Frédéric. 2009. “Connoisseurship and Art History: Reflections on a Problematic Relationship.” Ars 42 (1): 109-113.
  • Friedländer, Max J. 1955. Il conoscitore d’arte (1946). Turin: G. Einaudi.
  • Ginzburg, Carlo. 1992. "Clues: Roots of an Evidential Paradigm." (1979) In Carlo Ginzburg, Clues, Myths, and the Historical Method96-125. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Previtali, Giovanni. 1971. “Attribuzione.” In Enciclopedia Feltrinelli Fischer. Arte 2, edited by Giovanni Previtali, vol. 1, 56-60. Milan: Feltrinelli.
  • Romano, Giovanni. 2001. “Una lezione per aspiranti storici dell’arte.” In L’intelligenza della passione: Scritti per Andrea Emiliani, edited by Michela Scolaro and Francesco P. Di Teodoro, 489-496. Bologna: Minerva Edizioni.
  • Toscano, Bruno. 1994. “L’attribuzione geostilistica.” In L’attribuzione: teoria e pratica: Storia dell'arte, musicologia, letteratura. Atti del seminario di Ascona, 30 settembre - 5 ottobre 1992, edited by Ottavio Besomi and Carlo Caruso, 29-57. Basel: Birkhauser.


On the photo archive of Carlo Volpe as the working tool of a connoisseur:

  • Pigozzi, Marinella, ed. 2012. Igino Benvenuto Supino e Carlo Volpe in dialogo con le arti. Piacenza: Edizioni Tip.Le.Co (especially the essays by Daniele Benati, Giacomo A. Calogero, and Simone Sirocchi).


For the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna constant reference will be made to:

  • Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna: Catalogo generale. 2004–2013. 5 vols. Venice: Marsilio.


Other relevant readings will be suggested during the workshop as a consequence of the chosen photographs and artworks.

Teaching methods

Workshop activities: attribution exercises, critical reading of texts, image projections, analysis of photographic material, digitization of photographs, creation of catalogue records on a web-based platform.

Assessment methods

There is no exam at the end of the workshop. The proficiency will be recognized through compulsory class attendance (only one lesson may be missed). Due to the special character of the workshop, no more than 25 students can be enrolled in the course. Therefore, who desires to attend has to e-mail the teacher (gianluca.delmonaco2@unibo.it) before the start of the workshop.

Teaching tools

Power point presentations, photographs of artworks held in the Fototeca Volpe, digital color photographs of the same artworks, scanner, personal laptop (strongly recommended).

Office hours

See the website of Gianluca Del Monaco


Quality education Partnerships for the goals

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.