Tatiana Bissolati - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Tatiana Bissolati

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Tatiana Bissolati

PhD student

Thesis: ‘Crisis as opportunity: printmaking in Rome between 1520 and 1550’

Supervised by Guido Rebecchini

Funded by

  • CHASE AHRC Tuition-fees Studentship
  • Friends of The Courtauld Institute Scholarship (2014-15; 2015-16; 2016-17)
  • Lord Rothschild OM, GBE, FBA Scholarship (2014-15)

When Raphael died suddenly on the 8th of April 1520, the main driving force behind print production in Rome disappeared. As is widely acknowledged, Raphael was quick to understand the commercial possibilities opened up by printmaking, and helped to transform Rome into a leading centre of print production by the 1510s. After his death, other artists followed in Raphael’s footsteps and produced designs to be engraved. Raphael’s printmaking workshop factotum – Baviero Barocci, known as il Baviera – also continued to run a print business. However, in 1527, the Landsknechts would devastate Rome and put a halt to its flourishing printing business. To make matters worse, just three years later – in 1530 – the river Tiber flooded the city inflicting further damage.

By 1550, however, Rome was a thriving artistic centre once again and printmaking was no exception. New printmakers had arrived in town, interest in prints had grown, but more importantly the entire system of production and distribution of prints had changed. Rome had become a global centre for the production of prints monopolised by so-called stampatori (often referred-to as print-publishers, such as Antonio Salamanca or Antoine Lafréry). International figures flocked to the city, and Roman prints were exported throughout Europe.

Such a change in production and distribution did not happen overnight. This research examines the changing patterns of production, publishing, and distribution of prints in Rome between 1520 and 1550. The aim is to demonstrate that the period 1520 to1550 is not of marginal importance for history of Roman printmaking. Rather, it was a complex period characterised by changes that would influence the years to come. My thesis will focus on each of the three decades in turn, following three main strands of enquiry: how the business of printing was organized, how and by whom prints were produced, and how they were consumed. Combining object-based analysis, archival research and historical accounts from primary and secondary sources, this project will highlight the key agents of change, while attempting to unearth lesser-known personalities. Particular emphasis will be placed on areas of overlap between book and printmaking, and book trade routes will also be explored for the insight they might provide into the wider dissemination of prints.


  • 2014 – Present: PhD candidate, supervised by Dr. Guido Rebecchini, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
  • 2007-2010: Second Level degree (equivalent to an MA), History of Art and Archaeology, 110 cum laude/110, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan
  • 2004-2008: First Level degree (equivalent to a BA), Humanities/Arts. 110 cum laude/110, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan

Conference Papers and Talks

22 June 2015: The ‘Prince Consort’s Raphael Collection’ at Windsor Castle, Marcantonio Raimondi Study Day, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

Talks given in the context of the Courtauld Prints and Drawings Open House Week (formerly known as Showcase Week):

  • 29 January 2016: Henry Spencer Moore, Shelter Drawing
  • 25 January 2016: Michelangelo Buonarroti, (so-called) Christ before Pilate
  • 29 October 2015: J.M.W. Turner, Storm on Margate Sands
  • 15 June 2015: Claude Lorraine, Study for the Arrival of Aeneas at Pallanteum


Class on: The Art of Drawing in the Italian Renaissance, Summer School Gallery Talk, Prints and Drawings Study Room, The Courtauld Gallery, London (with Alexander Noelle) (27 July 2015)

Class on: Fra Bartolommeo: devotion, tradition, innovation, in the framework of the History of Modern Art MA Course (Prof Alessandro Rovetta), Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan (26‐27 November 2014)

Class on: Michelangelo’s presentation drawings, in the framework of the History of Modern Art MA Course (Prof Alessandro Rovetta), Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan (11‐12 March 2013)

Research interests

  • prints and drawings
  • workshop practice
  • technical art history
  • book history
  • history of collecting
  • museum studies
  • relationship between printmaking and photography

Recent publications

  • ‘Folio from the ‘Prince Consort’s Raphael Collection’: Dido and Lucretia’, in Edward Wouk (ed.), Marcantonio Raimondi, Raphael and the image multiplied, exh. cat., Manchester University Press, Sept. 2016 (forthcoming)
  •  Cristo in Croce, attributed to Giulio Clovio (after Michelangelo Buonarroti), pp. 164-166, (cat. no. 3.5), in ‘L’Ultimo Michelangelo. Disegni e Rime attorno alla Pietà Rondanini’, Alessandro Rovetta (ed.), exh. cat., Silvana Editoriale, Milan, 2011
  • Cristo in Croce, Giulio Clovio (?) (after Michelangelo Buonarroti), pp. 167-168, (cat. no. 3.6), in ‘L’Ultimo Michelangelo. Disegni e Rime attorno alla Pietà Rondanini’, Alessandro Rovetta (ed.), exh. cat., Silvana Editoriale, 2011
  • Michelangelo’s Dream’, Stephanie Buck (ed.), exh. cat., London, The Courtauld Gallery in association with Paul Holberton Pub., 2010 (assistance in editing the catalogue)

Other academic activity

  • Co-organiser of the Joint Renaissance and Early Modern Postgraduate Symposium ‘Placing Prints: New Developments in the Study of Print, 1400-1800’, The Courtauld Institute of Art, 12-13 February 2016:  (in partnership with Print Quarterly)
  • Member of the Courtauld Gallery Print Room Staff (Print Room Assistant)
  • Co-organiser of the Works of Paper Study Group
  • Assistance in organising the display ‘Renaissance Modern’ (The Ildiko and Gerard Butler Drawings Gallery, The Courtauld Gallery, 22 April-7 June 2015)
  • Member of the Renaissance Society of America (RSA), the Italian Art Society (IAS), and International Council of Museums (ICOM)

Work experience

November 2014-June 2016: Print Room Assistant, The Courtauld Gallery, London

June 2011-September 2013: Raphael Collection Cataloguer, Royal Collection Trust, Windsor Castle

October 2010-May 2011: Graduate Intern, Drawings Department, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

September 2010-February 2011: Research Assistant, ‘L’Ultimo Michelangelo. Disegni e Rime attorno alla Pietà Rondanini’ (international loan exhibition, Castello Sforzesco, Milan; 24 March-19 June 2011)

Oct 2008-Dec 2008 / Oct 2009-May 2010: Curatorial Intern for the exhibition/Assistant Editor for the accompanying catalogue, ‘Michelangelo’s Dream’ (international loan exhibition, The Courtauld Gallery, London; 18 February-16 May 2010)

Top image: Jacopo Caraglio (c. 1500-1565), after Rosso Fiorentino (1494-1540), Battle between the Romans and the Sabines (traditionally called The Rape of the Sabines), 1527, engraving, inv. no. 1919,0714.2. © Trustees of the British Museum

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