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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr Oscar Schiavone

Personal web page

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43441
Room number: A35, Elvet Riverside I

Contact Dr Oscar Schiavone (email at

Two lines of inquiry have shaped my research so far: first, the interactions between literature and art; and, second, the history of early modern states, their administrative systems and their role in nation building and identity formation.

My first book (2013), drawing on both my MA dissertation (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa 2005) and my first PhD thesis (Florence and Bonn 2009), looked at Michelangelo’s visual and literary productions to define the inner nucleus of his imaginative world. It received the ‘Giuseppe Giusti / Opera Prima’ award in 2014.

My second book, which will be submitted with the Medici Archive Project (Brepols) by September 2021, connects literature, art and politics. Drawing on my second PhD thesis (UCL 2016), it aims to reconstruct the career of Luca Martini (1507-61), a Florentine bureaucrat and polymath (poet, academician, Dante scholar, patron of artists, iconographic consultant and engineer). Through Martini’s involvement in many cultural enterprises and administrative tasks, the book looks both at how Florence shaped Pisa’s identity, while promoting economic measures designed to enhance its prosperity, and at how culture contributed to create the image of Medici power. 

My interdisciplinary research on Martini lends itself to further exploration in two directions:

The first macro-area of research investigates the formation of a sense of cultural identity and belonging in early modern Tuscany:

1. In lieu of introduction, I will analyse how external groups influenced the formation of a sense of local identity by investigating the role and impact of migration in early modern Tuscany.

2. keeping with the multidisciplinary vocation of my previous studies, a larger research project will stem from the previous one and will analyse efforts, sanctioned by the Medici grand dukes, towards a social and cultural cohesion in early modern Tuscany. While civic rituals and religious festivals corroborated parochial identity, cultural expressions such as language, literature, art and architecture slowly tended towards standardisation on a regional level. This clash between a local and a larger form of identity crystallised ‘regional homelands’ and delayed the birth of a national identity. 

The second macro-area of research investigates textual reception and cultural influence:

1. I have already transcribed, commented on and prefaced Luca Martini’s glosses to Dante’s Divine Comedy written in the margins of the annotated manuscript Antinori 259 of Florence’s Biblioteca Laurenziana. This work focuses on Dante’s reception in the 16th century.

2. I have already transcribed and started annotating L’Argenide, an unpublished 18th-century drama by Sicilian politician and author Ottavio Gravina. Gravina’s verses will be translated in English by Stephen Parkin (Head of Italian collections at the British Library), who originally discovered the manuscript. This edition sheds light on the European reception of the neo-Latin novel Argenis by Scottish author John Barclay.

3. Preface, selection, commentary and Italian translation of a selection of Thomas Middleton’s poems (e.g. Microcynicon). This work will analyse the English reception of Italian Petrarchism.

Research Interests

  • Contemporary poetry
  • Dante studies (reception and commentary tradition)
  • Early modern politics and state formation processes
  • Michelangelo Buonarroti's art and poetry
  • Petrarchism
  • Renaissance diplomacy and bureaucracy

Selected Publications

Authored book

Edited book

Chapter in book

  • Schiavone, Oscar (2019). Cosimo I and the Tuscan Territory. In A Companion to Cosimo I de’ Medici. Van Veen, Theo & Assonitis, Alessio Brill.
  • Schiavone, Oscar (2018). Luca Martini filologo dantesco: collazioni, annotazioni e committenze (1543-51). In L'attività filologica in Italia nel Rinascimento. Caruso, Carlo & Russo, Emilio Edizioni di storia e letteratura. 119-134
  • Schiavone, Oscar (2015). Luca Martini as an Art Consultant and Patron of Artists in Pisa. In Essere uomini di “lettere” Segretari e politica culturale nel Cinquecento. Geremicca, Antonio & Mièsse, Helene Cesati. 145-153.
  • Schiavone, Oscar (2013). L’arte delle Rime. La lingua poetica di Michelangelo. In Michelangelo Buonarroti: Leben, Werk und Wirkung: Positionen und Perspektiven der Forschung / Michelangelo Buonarroti: Vita, Opere, Ricezione: Approdi e prospettive della ricerca contemporanea. Folliero-Metz, G.D. & Gramatzki, S. Peter Lang. 301-320.
  • Schiavone, Oscar (2011). Il problema della rappresentazione nell’opera michelangiolesca. In Michelangelo scultore: Lo sguardo indiscreto. Crescentini, C., Cunningham, S., Damianaki, C., Panepuccia, C. & Schiavone, O. Erreciemme. 125-147.
  • Schiavone, Oscar (2010). Forma e scultura nelle poesie del giovane Michelangelo. In La forma del Rinascimento: Donatello, Andrea Bregno, Michelangelo e la scultura a Roma nel Quattrocento. Crescentini, C. & Strinati, C. Rubbettino. 165-172.

Journal Article

Book review

  • Schiavone, Oscar (2020). Cultural Reception Translation and Transformation from Medieval to Modern Italy: Essays in Honour of Martin McLaughlin, Cambridge: Legenda, 2017. Modern Language Review (115/3)
  • Schiavone, Oscar (2019). Michelangelo’s Christian Mysticism: Spirituality, Poetry, and Art in Sixteenth-Century Italy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Albertiana (22/1), pp. 253-259
  • Schiavone, Oscar (2015). Comunicare con Leon Battista Alberti. Il nuovo collegamento tra il Museo Marino Marini e la Cappella del Santo Sepolcro, ed. V. Vaccaro, Florence: Polistampa, 2013. Albertiana, 18, pp. 307-310
  • Schiavone, Oscar (2014). Cosimo Bartoli (1503-1572), Atti del Convegno internazionale: Mantova, 18-19 novembre - Firenze, 20 novembre 2009, eds F.P. Fiore and D. Lamberini, Florence: Olschki, 2011. Albertiana, 17, pp. 285-293
  • Schiavone, Oscar (2013). Battista Spagnoli Mantovano, Adolescentia, ed. A. Severi, Bologna: Bononia University Press, 2010. Albertiana, 16, pp. 266-274
  • Schiavone, Oscar (2011). Leon Battista Alberti umanista e scrittore: Filologia, esegesi, tradizione, Atti del Convegno internazionale del Comitato Nazionale VI centenario della nascita di Leon Battista Alberti: Arezzo, 24-25-26 giugno 2004, eds R. Cardini and M. Regoliosi, Florence: Polistampa, 2007 [sed 2009]. Albertiana, 14, pp. 303-309

Show all publications

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2020: :

    I am the editorial coordinator of Albertiana, the academic journal of the Société Internationale Leon Battista Alberti

Selected Grants

  • 2014: Winner of the XXIII Edition of the Literary Prize ‘Giuseppe Giusti’ / Opera prima (€ 1,000)
  • 2010: University College London Global Excellence Graduate Scholarship (£ 6,000)
  • 2006: University of Florence (Italy) Three-Year Postgraduate Grant (€ 40,000)
  • 2005: Cassa di Risparmio di San Miniato (Italy) Outstanding Academic Performance Award for Graduate Students (€ 5,000)
  • 2000: Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (Italy) Four-Year Undergraduate Scholarship (€ 50,000)