Gasbarri, Giovanni

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Research Title: “They Have Mouths, and Speak Not” (Re)presenting Pagan Idols in Byzantine Art (9th–15th Centuries)

Dr. Gasbarri is a Visiting Professor at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. Much of his research has been devoted to the history of Byzantine art historiography, a field that he explored extensively before and up to his PhD. In parallel, he has published on numerous aspects of medieval and Byzantine artistic production, from manuscript illumination to ivory carvings, from early Christian mosaics to Norman art in Sicily. In 2018 he co-curated the photographic exhibition “Picturing a Lost Empire” on behalf of ANAMED. The exhibition is dedicated to the rediscovery of Byzantine artistic heritage in Anatolia from the late 1960s to the early 2000s and is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue in English and Turkish.
More recently, he has focused on the relationship between art and religion in Byzantium, exploring how images were used to signify various forms of ethnic and religious alterity. This has inspired his current book project on the representation and meaning of pagan idols in Byzantine art, which has been funded by postdoctoral fellowships at the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies in Toronto (2016–2017) and the Center for the Study of Christianity in Jerusalem (2017–2018). As an ANAMED fellow, Dr. Gasbarri’s work focuses on his book manuscript concerning some specific case studies, especially in Constantinople, in order to understand to what extent Byzantine idol depictions reflected actual circumstances of coexistence, tolerance/intolerance, and discrimination.