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Members' Research Report Archive

The Artist as Intellectual: Giuseppe Salviati and Venetian Mannerism, 1540–1575

Mattia Biffis, Research Associate, 2013–2014


From a design by Giuseppe Salviati, Giardino di Pensieri, 1540. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This year I continued my project on the relationships between art and knowledge, exploring the notion of artistic research as it was formulated and forged by artists and theorists at the end of the Renaissance (c. 1550–1600). My research has focused primarily on the painter Giuseppe Salviati (c. 1520–1575), who was Tuscan by origin but mainly active in Venice, reexamining his position in the context of contemporary scholarship and reassessing his remarkable intellectual achievements. In this respect, I have devoted particular attention to the study of the Codex Marcianum It. IV, 30, a manuscript formerly in the Contarini collection in Venice, which includes Salviati’s studies on astrology and phonetics. What emerges, and will be the subject of a monograph, is the profile of a true peintre savant who in many ways anticipated a social and cultural category characteristic of intellectual life during the Seicento.