Alessandra Buccheri

Accademia di Belle Arti di Palermo (Italy)

The oblivion of a Renaissance monument: Antonello Gagini’s tribune in the Cathedral of Palermo

2021-2022: Fall

Weinberg Fellow in Architectural History and Preservation

Alessandra Buccheri is professor of History of Art at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Palermo. In 2009, she completed her PhD at the University of Oxford, where she received various awards (Arts & Humanities Research Council Postgraduate Award, Scatcherd European Scholarship, Isaiah Berlin Fund). She has been a fellow at the Fondazione Roberto Longhi in Florence (2002-2003), and has worked as scientific collaborator at both the Museo Galileo in Florence (2004) and at the CRIBECU (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, 2003-2004). She is a partner in the research project Apropiaciones e Hibridaciones entre las Artes Plásticas y las Artes Escénicas en la Edad Moderna (2016-2020), Universidad de Málaga, founded by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Spain).

Her main area of research is visual culture in early modern Italy, with a special focus on theater, architecture and decoration (including sculptures and paintings in their original architectural context). She is also interested in gender studies and women in the visual arts. Her published volumes include Quando l’ornamento non è delitto. Un percorso attraverso la cultura visiva siciliana dal tardo-gotico al Novecento? (2020), co-edited with Giulia Ingarao, and Archetipi del femminile. Rappresentazioni di genere, identità e ruoli sociali nell’arte dalle origini a oggi (2017), co-edited with Giulia Ingarao and Emilia Valenza. Her most recent monograph, The Spectacle of Clouds, 1439-1650. Italian Art and Theatre (2014), explores the origin and meaning of cloud compositions by looking at the complex relationship between their three-dimensional construction and display in religious and court theater, and their pictorial representations both in churches and secular buildings.

The research she will pursue at the Italian Academy focuses on the history and reception of an Italian Renaissance monument, the Tribuna, erected between 1510 and 1574 in the presbytery of Palermo’s Cathedral (Sicily), dismantled and partly destroyed between 1788 and 1801. The Tribuna, which was 24.5 metres high, entirely made of Carrara marble, and enriched with 42 life-size statues, has largely been overlooked by scholars, institutions, and public alike. The main aim of this project is to refocus attention on the Tribuna and bring it back to both public and scholarly attention.