Foto del docente

Donatella Biagi

Associate Professor

Department of the Arts

Academic discipline: L-ART/04 Museology, Art and Restoration Criticism

Curriculum vitae

Associate Professor at the University of Bologna since 2000, for the disciplinary sector Museology and artistic criticism and restoration, L-ART / 04. She deals with the history of art in the modern centuries and with the history and theory of restoration. She is the author of numerous monographs and more than a hundred essays in international scientific journals and volumes of conference proceedings.


She graduated with honors in Modern Literature from the University of Bologna; in 1989 she obtained the title of PhD in History of Art with a thesis on Painting in Bologna in the late eighteenth century. The Gandolfis and the Clementine Academy. In the 1983/1984 academic year she won a scholarship at the Foundation for the History of Art "R. Longhi” of Florence. In the 1993/1994 academic year she gained a specialization and research scholarship at the School for Special Purposes for Archivists of Ravenna, awarded by the Flaminia Foundation for University Development, Scientific Research and Higher Education in Romagna.

Academic career

Since the 1993/1994 academic year she has held the course of History and Theory of Restoration, as an adjunct professor, at the University of Bologna, Faculty of Literature and Philosophy (until the 1995/1996 academic year), then Faculty of Conservation of Cultural Heritage, both for the Degree Course and for the University Diploma. In the academic year 1999/2000 she won the competition for the role of associate professor announced by the University of Bologna for the disciplinary sector Museology and artistic criticism and restoration, L-ART / 04, thus obtaining the call from the Faculty of Conservation of Cultural Heritage, where she then taught History, Theory and Technique of Restoration and History of Modern Art. On 24 May 2004 she was appointed confirmed associate professor for the same disciplinary sector with effect from November 1, 2003 at the School of Literature and Cultural Heritage of the University of Bologna, belonging to the Department of Conservation of Cultural Heritage. From September 1, 2020 she belongs to the Department of Arts of the University of Bologna.

Teaching activity

In the 1993/1994 academic year she held the course in History and Theory of Restoration at the School for Special Purposes for Archivists in Ravenna.

During the academic years 1997/98 and 1998/99 she was in charge of organizing and directing two didactic modules, Biennial Course (ay 1997/98) and Annual Course (ay 1998/99) FSE "Laboratory for the restoration of cultural heritage supports" (according to the resolution of the Regional Council 25/11/1997, n.2221) of the C. d. Du. for Operator of Cultural Heritage of the University of Bologna (ay 1997/98, Wood and its conservation, total no. 138 hours; ay 1998/99, The supports of painted surfaces and their conservation, total no. 104 hours ).

In the 2001/2002 academic year she held the Museology and Museography course in the Master for Museum Operators and Archivists with historical, philological and historical-religious skills in the IV-XV centuries of the Faculty of Conservation of Cultural Heritage.

In the academic years 2003/2004, 2004/2005 and 2005/2006, she taught Museography and museotechnics and History of modern art in the 1st level University Master in Ecclesiastical Cultural Heritage of the University of Bologna.

She conceived and directed, for the University of Bologna, the 1st level Master in History, Conservation and Restoration of Paintings on Wood, Canvas, Wall from the Middle Ages to the Contemporary Age at the Faculty of Conservation of Cultural Heritage, campus of Ravenna (ay 2004/2005).

She was appointed member of the Commission of selection for final exams of the PhD in History of Visual and Performing Arts - XXII cycle of the University of Pisa (2010), of the PhD in Memory and subject of works of art through processes of production, historicization, conservation, museumization - XXIV cycle of the University of Tuscia - Viterbo (2012), PhD in History, territory and cultural heritage - XXIX cycle of the University of Rome III (2017), of the PhD in History of Art, Cinema, Media, Audiovisuals and Music - XXXI cycle of the University of Udine (2019).

She organize and coordinate in-depth seminars on her own disciplines with the participation of Italian and foreign scholars.

She organized the visit of prof. Liu Fengjun, director of the Art and Archeology Institute, University of Shandong (China) at the University of Bologna. The professor Liu held the conference "The Discovery and Research of Early Scripts in the Far East-Gukewen" on June 6, 2017 at the Institute of Higher Studies - Institute of Advanced Studies and received the Institute Honorary Fellowship.

Scientific activity

She has participated in numerous national and international research projects.

She was in fact responsible - together with prof. Giuseppe Maino of the Physics Division of ENEA - of a national research project, GIANO (Innovative Graphics for Artistic Heritage and Youth Employment), approved by the Ministry of University and Scientific and Technological Research, on national funds and the law 488/82. The three-year project (1998-2000) led to the creation of prototype IT solutions in the field of diagnostic investigation and conservation of historical and artistic assets, especially archival and pictorial objects, movable paintings (on wood and canvas), with the participation of groups of researchers from the Universities of Bologna, Rome III, Messina, Catania, Reggio Calabria, Lomonosov (Moscow), Crete, ENEA, CNR and the Hellenic Cultural Foundation, as well as companies and industries in the restoration and protection of cultural heritage.

She is the creator and manager of the MARSILI national research project for the dissemination of scientific culture (law 6/2000) funded for 50,000.00 euros with provision of 25.11.2003 n. 1999 Ref. Prot. MIUR 3807 of 10.12.2003. The goal of this project consisted in the development of a computer system for the management of data concerning the Marsili collection kept at the University Library of Bologna and still largely unpublished today. Luigi Ferdinando Marsili (1658-1730) was the founder of the Institute of Sciences of Bologna, one of the main scientific academies of the century of enlightenment, as well as being a distinguished scholar in various fields, from hydrodynamics to geography, and author of important works such as the Histoire Physique de la Mer, published in Amsterdam in 1725. For his scientific merits, Marsili was appointed a member of the Royal Society on the proposal of Newton himself. The in-depth study of the Marsili fund and the publication, at the Umberto Allemandi publishing house in Turin of a volume entitled The Clementine Academy from Luigi Ferdinando Marsili to Benedict XIV, made it possible to better define the scientific relationships in the Europe of the Enlightenment and provided to scholars a huge patrimony of news and information, both scientific and literary and relating to the history of institutions and academies. To achieve this result, alongside the traditional and essential historical and philological researches documented in the aforementioned volume, a multimedia database was created, which can also be consulted online. The motivation of the IT sub-project must be sought in the attempt to provide adequate tools to overcome some large gaps, both on the level of representation and - above all - on that of the dissemination of conservative and technical knowledge of the archival heritage; gaps, however, even more accentuated by the speed of technological development and the consequent availability of increasingly powerful tools in the field of communication.

She was also responsible for the Department of Stories and Methods for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage of the legal and organizational headquarters of the NEREA-Network laboratory for the Advanced Restoration of the High Technology network of the Emilia-Romagna Region. The NEREA project, funded for 357,900.00 euros in relation to the first two years of activity 2005/06 as part of the First Regional Implementation Program for Industrial Research, Innovation and Technology Transfer (PRRIITT) of the Emilia-Romagna Region, was subsequently recognized as one of the 14 laboratories making up the High Technology Network of the Emilia-Romagna Region, then refinanced for 24 months, from 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2010, for an amount of 267,600.00 euros (Emilia-Romagna Regional Program for Industrial Research, Innovation and Technology Transfer, Measure 4 “Network development”, Action A - Research laboratories and technology transfer, call of 26 November 2007 - DGR n. 1853/07). The overall funding granted by the Emilia-Romagna Region from the European social fund for the NEREA project was 615,500.00 euros.

She was responsible for the University of Bologna of the scientific activities of the European project entitled War Free World Heritage Listed Cities, funded by the EU for 540,740.00 euros within the Cooperation in Urban Development and Dialogue (CIUDAD) program, for the duration 30 months from March 1, 2010 with the participation of the Council of the United Municipalities of Jbail - Byblos, Lebanon; Board of the Municipality of Mtskheta, Georgia; WATCH World Association for the Protection of Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage in Times of Armed Conflict; Old City Rehabilitation and Development Fund (OCRD Fund), Georgia; FOCUH Friends of Cultural Heritage, Turkey; NEREA Network for Advanced Restoration, Italy, which constituted the Steering Committee and were part of the Advisory Board together with ICCROM Center for the study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, IDLO International Development Law Organization, UNWTO United Nations World Tourism Organization, ICRC International Committee of the Red Cross, NATO CIMIC South - Civil Military Cooperation - Cultural Affairs and Humanitarian Law, UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, ICOMOS (ICBS) International Committee of the Blue Shields, preCOMOS - UNESCO Chair on Preventive Conservation and Maintenance of Monuments and Sites. Following the results so achieved, the Mtskheta site has obtained the status of enhanced protection from UNESCO.

She directed the University research group of the University of Bologna, with institutional funding from the rectorate, for the study and restoration project of the Casa del Mutilato in Ancona and for the publication of the volume Architecture between the two wars. The House of the Mutilated in Ancona (Edifir, Florence, 2019). She then coordinated the conference La Casa del Mutilato in Ancona. History and perspectives of reuse, organized by the University of Bologna and the Polytechnic University of Marche (Ancona, October 31, 2019).

In her role as professor of History and restoration technique, she participated in the technical meeting of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, Regional Directorate for Cultural and Landscape Heritage of Emilia-Romagna on Documenting the restoration for the memory of cultural heritage (Ferrara, April 7, 2005); to the study day Conserving - Restoring – Innovating, promoted by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, Department for Research, Innovation and Organization (Ferrara, 30 March 2006); she participated with conferences in the activities of the Week of Culture of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities: V (2003), VI (2004), VII (2005), VIII (2006), IX (2007), X (2008), XIII (2010). With the presentation of restored paintings she also participated in numerous events for the European Heritage Days of MiBAC.

The knowledge acquired on the Bolognese pictorial culture and the ecclesiastical patronage in modern centuries have led to her appointment as a founding and effective member of the Institute for the History of the Church of Bologna, where she has been a member of the steering committee since 1991 without interruption, with duties relating to scientific, editorial and organizational activities (in particular international conferences, including: Vitale and Agricola, study day on the 16th centenary of the transfer of relics, Bologna, November 5, 1993; Benedict XIV and the figurative arts, Bologna, June 23-24-25, 1994; Nicolò dell'Arca: study day on the fifth centenary of his death, Bologna, December 17, 1994; Cardinal Carlo Oppizzoni between Napoleon and the Unification of Italy, Bologna, November 18-20, 2013). For the Centro Studi Baruffaldi in Cento she organized a conference dedicated to the figure and work of Marco Zoppo (Marco Zoppo: international conference of studies on the painting of the Quattrocento Padano, 1993), which was followed by the exhibition at the Medieval Civic Museum of Bologna, curated with Massimo Medica, The Painted Cross by Marco Zoppo and the Pierfrancescana culture in Bologna (2007).

She edited the catalog of the Museo dell’Osservanza in Bologna and subsequently the monographic volume dedicated to the convent and church of the Minori Osservanti (2009); for the Museum of the Capuchin Friars Minor in Bologna she followed the rearrangement of the catalog of the restorations and of the historical archive. Expertise in the museological field led to the conception and organization of a study day on The future of Italian ecclesiastical museums (Bologna 2007). She organized and directed the Panel on Preservation of Religious Cultural Heritage at Risk, on the occasion of the European Academy of Religion 2017 - Ex Nihilo-A "Zero Conference" on Research in the Religious Fields (Bologna, June 20, 2017).

The activity never abandoned in the field of conservation, started with the cataloging campaigns as early as 1980, and led the scholar to tackle the study of diagnostic and restoration techniques for cultural heritage, both in Italy and abroad through numerous stays, in England (London, Oxford) and in France (Paris, Lille), at universities and museum institutions, so as to grant a collaboration with the research sector in this field of ENEA, first concretized in the joint organization of a conference on The tools of memory: conference on the conservation and cataloging of historical and artistic heritage, Bologna, June 7-8, 1993, and therefore of research projects approved by MURST (1997). At the Academy of Sciences of the Institute of Bologna she organized a series of conferences on Art and Science (January-April 1997).

With Rosamaria Loretelli (International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies), Orietta Rossi Pinelli (University of Rome "La Sapienza") and Bernardina Sani (University of Siena), she organized and directed the international conference, conceived and promoted by the Department of Stories and Methods for Conservation together with the Society of Studies on the 18th century, dedicated to The 18th century of the 21st century, March 19-21, 2014, whose purpose was to take stock of the state of researches and review the perspective of studies on Enlightenment.

She organized and directed the international study conferences on Science for Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Risk, on the occasion of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, Bologna, Academy of Sciences, June 13, 2018 - Ravenna, University of Bologna, June 14, 2018 ; Spaces, gazes, encounters: the museum as a place of social inclusion, Ravenna, October 29, 2018; Shared cultural heritage: travelers before and after the Grand Tour, Ravenna, November 21-23, 2018; ABC – Accoglienza e Beni Culturali - Hospitality and Cultural Heritage, as part of the cultural initiatives of the Institute of Advanced Studies (ISA) of the University of Bologna for the academic year 2019/2020, ISA Topic "Identity: one, none, one hundred thousand", Bologna, ISA - Sala Rossa of Palazzo Marchesini, October 24, 2019.

For the academic year 2020/2021 of the Institute of Advanced Studies - ISA of the University of Bologna dedicated to initiatives on the theme of "false", she oversees the research and training activity on Art of fake, fake in art and in the art market.

Since 2017 visiting professor at the Institute of National History of the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia, and the Faculty of Theology St. Clement of Ohrid.

Institutional activities and academic assignments

From the 2007 - 2008 academic year she is on the Board of Directors of the 1st level University Master of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Computer Cataloging of Cultural Heritage.

On March 16, 2006 she was appointed President of the Specialized Degree Course in History, Conservation and Protection of Works of Art at the Faculty of Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Ravenna campus, for the academic three-year period 2005/2006 - 2007/2008; subsequently, until October 2012, she chaired the Master's Degree Course in History and Conservation of Works of Art.

Together with Gian Paolo Brizzi, director of the Historical Archives of the University of Bologna, she took care of the archiving and conservation of the portraits that make up the historical iconotheque of the University, on which she reported on the occasion of the Conference for the 25 years of Italian Society of Studies on the XVIII Century (Syracuse 2004). This work led to the creation of an exhibition which was set up in the halls of the University Museums of Palazzo Poggi (11-4-2005 / 1-8-2006). The exhibition, entitled Science in the mirror of art, curated by the scholar and Walter Tega, included in the Celebrations of the IV centenary of the death of Ulisse Aldrovandi promoted by MiBac, Miur, the University of Bologna, ENEA, led to rearrangement of the Marsilian rooms of the Museum of Palazzo Poggi, and was accompanied by the publication of a volume edited by D. Biagi Maino, The 18th century image from Luigi Ferdinando Marsili to Benedetto XIV ("Archives of ancient art", Umberto Allemandi & C., Turin 2005).

Because of her studies on the relationship between the arts of drawing and science, she took part in the celebrations for the third centenary of the birth of Carlo Linneo curating, together with Nello Bagni and Giovanni Cristofolini, an exhibition dedicated to Linnaeus in Bologna. The art of knowledge, sponsored by the Academy of Sciences of Bologna, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, The Linnean Society of London, Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences, Italian Botanical Society and promoted by the University of Bologna, whose catalog was edited by the scholar and G. Cristofolini (Turin 2007).

In 2017 she promoted the signing of the Convention for the creation and management of exhibition and conference activities between the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Bologna and the Marignoli of Montecorona Foundation.

In 2019 she promoted the signing of the Framework Agreement between the University of Bologna and Assorestauro for the conduct of study, research and training activities in the field of conservation and restoration of cultural heritage, and chairs the Management and Coordination Committee.

In 2005 she was part of the competition commission for university researcher of Museology and artistic criticism and restoration (L-ART / 04) at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.

In 2006 she was part of the competition commission for associate professor of History and Restoration Technique (L-ART / 04) at the University of Rome III.

Membership in scientific and editorial committees

Since 1991 she has been a member of the Italian Society of Studies on the XVIII Century and of the English sister.

Since 1991 she has been an effective partner and founder and member of the steering committee of the Institute for the History of the Church of Bologna.

Since 1995 she has been included in the International Directory of Eighteenth-Century Studies of the Voltaire Foundation in Oxford.

Together with Marco Ciatti (superintendent of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure), G. Bonsanti (University of Florence), C. Acidini (former superintendent of the Florentine museum center) and S. Rinaldi (University of Udine) she directs a series of texts on history and on the theory of restoration, published by EDIFIR, Florence, which currently has 34 titles of which 9 in the Documents section and 25 in the Studies section.

As a member of the scientific and organizing committee, she collaborates with the Institute of National History of the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, the Faculty of Theology St. Clement of Ohrid, the Euro-Balkan University, the Ministry of Culture of North Macedonia and the Municipality of Skopje to the organization of the International Scientific Symposium "Days of Justinian I", now in its ninth edition in 2020.

She is a member of the scientific committee of the international journal Cities of Memory. International Journal on culture and Heritage at Risk, published by Edifir, the first magazine dedicated to issues and the debate on the protection of cultural heritage in areas at anthropic and natural risk.

She is a member of the BSC Bologna Health and Knowledge Committee.

Awards and acknowledgments

Her final report at the “R. Longhi” Foundation for Art History Studies in Florence was chosen for publication in the Annals of the Foundation itself: The beginnings of the Gandolfis and Bolognese artistic culture in the mid-eighteenth century, in "Annali della Fondazione di studi di storia dell’arte R.Longhi", II, Pisa 1989, pp. 125-143. European

In 2001 she was commissioned by the Municipality of Cento to organize an exhibition dedicated to the Gandolfi painting, which she created, on his own project, in 2002, taking care of all aspects (scientific, didactic, set-up). This exhibition, placed under the high patronage of the President of the Republic C. A. Ciampi, entitled Gaetano and Ubaldo Gandolfi. Selected works, has enjoyed the collaboration of many important European museums (Louvre, Paris; Ashmolean, Oxford; Dublin Castle Art, Ireland; Uffizi, Florence; National Museum, Pisa; Stuttgart and Augsburg, etc.) and American museums (North Carolina Museum of Art); Italian and foreign scholars contributed to the drafting of the catalog, directed by her, such as P. Rosemberg and N. Turner with thematic essays. The choice of the venue for the exhibition involved the restoration and redevelopment of the building of the former church of San Lorenzo in Cento, already in a state of decay.

In 2016 she organized on behalf of Franco Maria Ricci the exhibition Gaetano Gandolfi and the faces of science in the Pinacotheca Bassiana in Bologna (February 20 – April 4, 2016) in his museum of the Labirinto della Masone, with the collaboration of the University of Bologna and the Natural History Museum of the University of Parma, taking care of the publication of the catalog of the exhibition and of a monograph on the collection of portraits of the Pinacotheca Bassiana (Gaetano Gandolfi. The faces of science in the Pinacotheca Bassiana in Bologna, 176 pages, 68 reproductions in colors of watercolors, size 17 x 24 cm, preface by Francesco Ubertini, rector of the Bologna University, texts by Donatella Biagi Maino, Franco Maria Ricci publisher in Parma).

«Faithful to its tradition, the Franco Maria Ricci Foundation rediscovers important authors, often known to experts and enthusiasts, but still distant from the general public. Gaetano Gandolfi is a versatile and refined artist who marked the history of the Bolognese eighteenth century. His marvelous and unpublished series of watercolor portraits of the great botanists and naturalists of history, exhibited for the first time to the public at the Labirinto della Masone, is the starting point for narrating the close link that in 18th century Italy there was between the academies of artists and those of scientists. The catalog of the exhibition Gaetano Gandolfi and the faces of science in the Pinacotheca Bassiana in Bologna presents for the first time to the public an extraordinary collection of watercolor portraits of illustrious scientists by Gaetano Gandolfi, a little-known but extremely talented Bolognese painter. The volume, in addition to an in-depth study on the painter and on Ferdinando Bassi, client of Gandolfi's project, presents the biographies of the sixty-eight scientists and a critical analysis of each portrait, and is the continuation of the path between art and science undertaken by Franco Maria Ricci in his volumes "(from the Franco Maria Ricci Foundation website).

Other activities

She published her thesis in the series Documents of the Institute for Artistic and Cultural Heritage of the Emilia-Romagna Region directed by Andrea Emiliani (1981): Marcello Oretti and the artistic heritage of the Bolognese countryside, Documenti / 15 of the Institute for Cultural Heritage of the Emilia-Romagna Region, Bologna 1981, pp. 145, 52 ill. bn. She then carried out cataloging activities for the Superintendence of Artistic and Historical Heritage of Bologna, participating in the realization of some exhibitions aimed at the conservation, through the knowledge of the state of the art, of the cultural and historical-artistic heritage of the ancient territory of the Papal Legations, continuing the study of the Italian seventeenth-eighteenth century pictorial culture, the main object, together with conservation and restoration issues, of her scientific interests.

She studied with Carlo Volpe, learning the method of research and recognition of works of art. She has collaborated on collective works coordinated by Giuliano Briganti and Federico Zeri, such as: Still life in Western Emilia, in Italian still life, vol. I, edited by F. Zeri, Milan, 1989, pp. 384-393; Painting in Emilia-Romagna in the second half of the eighteenth century, in Painting in Italy: the eighteenth century, edited by G. Briganti, Milan 1989, pp. 252-274.

She is a member of the National Order of Journalists – Italian Press - since June 12, 1984, and collaborates with magazines and newspapers in the art sector (Avvenire, Giornale dell’Arte, Aboutartonline, etc.).

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