Fields of interest
History of Art (main focus on 16th century Venetian and 17th century Bolognese art), Cultural and Intellectual History, Renaissance Studies, Geography of art, Mobility of objects and provenance studies, Exile studies, Material Culture of Identity, History of collecting, History of Art criticism.
My research focuses primarily on issues of geography and materiality, and is mostly concerned with ideas of physical displacement and mobility of works of art and forms of knowledge in early modern Europe. I have worked on topics such as the representation of exile; the quest for identity by early modern mobile individuals; the mobility of artworks and their provenance. Addressing the career of migrant artists in Renaissance Venice, my Ph.D. dissertation investigated the cultural and professional integration of transplanted painters in early modern Italy, considering their roles as agents of artistic change. As a member of the research project “Early Modern Sources in Translation” at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, I also maintain a strong research interest in the field of Baroque art and culture, and in the history of art criticism. Entitled “Painting, Distance, and Circulation: a Geography of Things in Early Modern Europe,” my current research project investigates the physical and material circumstances by which art is transmitted, displaced, and re-contextualized in the early modern world, creating new markets, audiences, and meaning.
- Ph.D. in the History of Art, University of Venice (2013). Title of the dissertation: Giuseppe Salviati in Venice, 1540–1565. A research into his artistic production and literary legacy.
- M.A. in Cultural and Intellectual History 1350–1600, The Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study, University of London (2007). Title of the dissertation: Francesco Sansovino as a publisher. Three essays on bibliography and textual criticism.
- Laurea (MA), University of Venice (2006). Main subjects: History of Art, Literature, Philosophy.
Visiting scholarships and grants
- Visiting scholar, The Warburg Institute (2018)
- Francis Haskell Memorial Fund grant (2016)
- Visiting scholar, the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin (summer 2014)
- Predoctoral Research Fellow, The Dutch Institute for Art History, Florence (2013)
- Ph.D. grant, University of Venice (2009–2012)
- Research fellowship, Accademia dei Lincei – British Academy (2008)
Selected invited lectures and talks
- January 2018: The Warburg Institute, London: “The return of Andrea Casali. Imposture, Identity, and the Power of Images in Late Renaissance Italy.”
- November 2017: University of Virginia, Venice program: “Painting and the Senses: art and sensations in Renaissance Venice.”
- October 2017: University of Warwick, Venice program: “Painting the Otherness in Sixteenth Century Venice: Giuseppe Porta Salviati (1520–1575).”
- May 2016: Medici Archive Project, Florence: “‘Repatriaranno i fuoriusciti?’ Venetian portraits of Florentine exiles, 1540-1545.”
- June 2014: Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftgeschichte, Berlin: “Giuseppe Salviati’s Libro dei suoni: Art and Knowledge in Late Renaissance Venice.”
“Early Modern Sources in Translation” at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Directed by Elizabeth Cropper, this project will result in a full critical edition and annotated translation of Carlo Cesare Malvasia’s Felsina Pittrice (Bologna, 1678), one of the most important early modern texts on Italian art.
Book in progress: “Painting, Distance, and Circulation. A Geography of Things in Early Modern Europe,”
Journal articles and book chapters
“A rediscovered St. Jerome on copper by the young Guido Reni and its early provenance,” in The Burlington Magazine 148 (2016), pp. 610-15.
“Tra poesia e pittura. Versi di Francesco Zannio per Giuseppe Salviati,” in Afat, 32 (2013), pp. 39-46.
“Prima di Salviati. L’altare dei Frari, i procuratori di San Marco e un documento per Marco Basaiti,” in Venezia Cinquecento, 45 (2013), pp. 41-56.
“Zuan Paolo Pace, chierico e laico: documenti e riproposte,” in Studi Tizianeschi, 8 (2009), pp. 48-67.
“Le immagini del Petrarca Spirituale (1536): strategie retoriche e significati religiosi,” in Un giardino per le arti: «Francesco Marcolino da Forlì». La vita, l’opera, il catalogo, edited by P. Procaccioli, P. Temeroli, V. Tesei (Bologna: Compositori, 2009), pp. 353-363.
D. Rijser, Raphael’s Poetics: Art and Poetry in High Renaissance Rome, Amsterdam 2012, in CAA Reviews (http://www.caareviews.org/reviews/1956).
Historical notes for: Carlo Cesare Malvasia’s Felsina Pittrice. Lives of the Bolognese Painters, vol. 9, Guido Reni, edited by E. Cropper, CASVA, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. (London: Harvey Miller, expected 2018)
“Gifts from Heaven. Secular ambitions of the Annunciation in 16th century Venice,” in The Announcement. Annunciation and beyond, edited by Hana Gründler and Itay Sapir (Berlin and Boston: de Gruyter, in press, spring 2017).
“The Anxieties of Distance. Setting Paintings in Motion in Renaissance Italy,” manuscript under submission, for I Tatti - Studies in the Italian Renaissance.
- Biffis, Mattia (2018). 'Barberino gli volse donare un quadro’: Francesco Barberini, Walter Leslie e una nuova traccia documentaria per il Bacco e Arianna di Guido Reni. Studi Secenteschi. ISSN 0081-6248. 59, s 145- 162
- Biffis, Mattia (2018). “Negotiating an art deal in eighteenth-century Europe: Guido Reni’s Disputa and its acquisition by Sir Robert Walpole in 1731”. Journal of the History of Collections. ISSN 0954-6650. 30, s 65- 76 . doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhx012
- Biffis, Mattia (2018). "Tintoretto: The Storyteller", In Frederick Ilchman & Robert Echols (ed.), "Tintoretto: The Storyteller," in Tintoretto. Artist of Renaissance Venice. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300230406. Chapter. s 113 - 121
- Biffis, Mattia (2017). “Un cantiere difficile. Contratti e disegni per il soffitto della Libreria Marciana a Venezia”. Arte Veneta. ISSN 0392-5234. 74, s 178- 185
- Biffis, Mattia; Cropper, Elizabeth & Pericolo, Lorenzo (2019). Felsina Pittrice: Volume IX: Life of Guido Reni. Harvey Miller Publishers. ISBN 978-1-909400-69-6.
- Biffis, Mattia (2019). “Introduction: Shaping Truth.” Introduction to the international workshop “The Art of Truth. Providing Evidence in Early Modern Bologna.”.
- Biffis, Mattia (2019). “Liquid Access: Islands as Entry Points in the Venetian Lagoon.”.
- Biffis, Mattia (2019). “Microcosm of Time: Venice, the Marciana Ceiling, and the Orientation in History.”.
- Biffis, Mattia (2019). “Mobility what? Seeing movement tridimensionally.” Introduction to the international workshop “Keywords of Mobility. Paradigms of Movement in Premodern Material Culture.”.
- Biffis, Mattia (2019). “Precarious Movements: Rubens and the Hazards of Mobility.”.
- Biffis, Mattia (2019). “The culture of the Artist: Salviati’s wor(l)ds.”.
- Biffis, Mattia (2019). “Things that move: Dynamics and implications of movement in premodern material culture.”.
- Biffis, Mattia (2019). “Things that move: The dynamics of painting transportation in premodern Europe.”.
- Biffis, Mattia (2018). ‘A Science of Names and Words:’ Art, Knowledge, and the Learned Artist in Late Renaissance Venice..
- Biffis, Mattia (2018). Iconocrash. Ruptures, scratches, and hazardous mobility in premodern Europe.
- Biffis, Mattia (2018). L'arte della mobilità tra Italia e Norvegia.
- Biffis, Mattia (2018). The Return of Andrea Casali. Imposture, Identity, and the Power of Images in Late Renaissance Italy.
- Biffis, Mattia (2018). The anxieties of distance: setting paintings in motion in Early Modern Italy.