Francesca Fiorani

Francesca Fiorani

Associate Dean for the Arts and Humanities
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Department of Art
Office location and address
1605 Jefferson Park Ave
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904
Ph.D., University of Rome "La Sapienza"

Francesca Fiorani writes, lectures and teaches on Renaissance art. The author of The Marvel of Maps. Art, Cartography and Politics in Renaissance Italy (2005), she is mainly interested in the intersections of art, science and technology in the early modern period. Her writings explore Renaissance practices that bridge between artists' training and university education, the visualization of knowledge, the status of images in Renaissance philosophy and art theory as well as the relations between science and religion.

In recent years Fiorani has focused her research on themes relating to observation, experience, optics and Leonardo da Vinci, especially his lifelong project of transferring his observations of the natural world from geometrical diagrams to paintings and drawings (and vice versa).

Fiorani is a keen explorer of the application of modern technology to art history. Combining her longstanding interest in art, science and technology with her current research on Leonardo da Vinci's optics, she created the digital publication Leonardo da Vinci and His Treatise on Painting. Published in 2012 and dedicated to the legacy of Leonardo da Vinci's art theory in Renaissance and Baroque Europe, this publication provides innovative research tools for visual and textual analysis. Graduate students in art history routinely collaborate to this ongoing project.

After completing her Ph.D. in Art History at the University of Rome "La Sapienza", she joined the Art Department at the University of Virginia, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses related to her research interests.

She is the recipient of honors and awards from numerous institutions, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti, Florence, the American Council for the Learned Societies, the Getty Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Folger Institute, the John Carter Brown Library, the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Germany, and the Warburg Institute , University of London

AS-DEAN The Indigenous Arts of Austrailia and the Americas: Object-based Research and Curatorial Skill for a New Generation
Source: Mellon Foundation
January 01, 2016 – September 30, 2021
AS-ARTD Leonardo da Vinci's Original Manuscripts
Source: Samuel H. Kress Foundation
January 01, 2013 – December 31, 2014
ARTH 1559: New Course in Art History
Credits: 3
This course is an introductory level course in art history on a new topic.
USEM 1580: University Seminar
Credits: 2–3
Consult the University Seminars web page at (copy and paste web address into browser) for specific descriptions.
ARTH 2251: Italian Renaissance Art
Credits: 3–4
Studies painting, architecture, and sculpture in Italy from the close of the Middle Ages through the sixteenth century. Focuses on the work of major artists such as Giotto, Donatello, Botticelli, Leonardo, and Michelangelo. Detailed discussion of the social, political, and cultural background of the arts.
ARTH 3254: Leonardo da Vinci
Credits: 3–4
An analysis of Leonardo da Vinci's paintings, drawings, and notes, giving special attention to his writings and drawings on human anatomy, the theory of light and shade, color theory, and pictorial composition. His work is considered in relation to the works of fellow artists such as Bramante, Raphael, and Michelangelo as well as within the context of Renaissance investigation of the natural world. Prerequisite: One course in the humanities.
ARTH 4591: Undergraduate Seminar in the History of Art
Credits: 3
Subject varies with the instructor, who may decide to focus attention either on a particular period, artist, or theme, or on the broader question of the aims and methods of art history. Subject is announced prior to each registration period. Representative subjects include the life and art of Pompeii, Roman painting and mosaics, history and connoisseurship of baroque prints, art and politics in revolutionary Europe, Picasso and painting, and problems in American art and culture. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
ARAH 8998: Non-Topical Rsch, Masters Prep
Credits: 1–12
For master's research, taken before a thesis director has been selected.
ARAH 8999: Non-Topical Research, Masters
Credits: 1–12
For master's research, taken under the supervision of a thesis director.
ARAH 9525: Seminar in Renaissance/Baroque Art
Credits: 3
Investigates problems in renaissance/baroque art
ARAH 9995: Supervised Research
Credits: 3–12
Supervised Research
ARAH 9998: Non-Topical Rsch,Doctoral Prep
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral research, taken before a dissertation director has been selected.
ARAH 9999: Non-Topical Research, Doctoral
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral research taken under the supervision of a dissertation director.