Anna Chiara Giusa

PhD student

Thesis: Messina 1509-1557: A Centre for Artistic Experimentation

Supervisor: Dr Guido Rebecchini

Pre-doctoral Fellow in the Department Michalsky at the Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Rome

The PhD project takes as its subject sixteenth-century Messina as a dynamic centre for artistic experimentation over a period of nearly fifty years (1509-1557). The inquiry adopts an interdisciplinary approach that analyses the socio-economic, political, cultural and religious characteristics of this international port city and investigates why Messina became one of the most original artistic centres in sixteenth-century Italy.
This study focuses on the works produced in Messina by artists coming from the peninsula, such as Cesare da Sesto, Polidoro da Caravaggio, Giovan Battista Mazzolo and Giovan Angelo Montorsoli, as well as by locals like Girolamo Alibrandi and Stefano Giordano. The project has a twofold purpose: on the one hand, to shed light on the relationships between Messina and other important centres like Naples, Rome and Genoa; on the other, to explore how four viceroys from different backgrounds affected Messinese patronage. This thesis will hence be divided into three chronological sections corresponding to the rule of the Spanish Hugo de Moncada and the Neapolitan Ettore Pignatelli (1509–1535), of the Mantuan Ferrante Gonzaga (1535–1546) and of the Spanish Juan de Vega (1547–1557).

Research Interests

  • Messina in the Cinquecento
  • The Mediterranean and the relationships between its centres (sixteenth century)
  • Spanish Italy: the links with other Italian centres and the Spanish Empire
  • Artists’ and patrons’ networks in sixteenth-century Italy
  • Theory and methods for the study of Southern Italian art


  • PhD Candidate, The Courtauld Institute of Art (2020 – present)
  • MA in History of Art, Special Option: Continuity and Innovation: Reframing Italian Renaissance art from Masaccio to Michelangelo, The Courtauld Institute of Art (2018-2019)
  • BA in History and Conservation of the Artistic and Musical Heritage, University of Padua (2015-2018)


  • Pre-doctoral Fellowship, Department Michalsky, Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Rome, 2020 -present

Academic Activities

  • Scientific Organisation of the Research Seminar Renaissance Art after the Spatial Turn held by Dr Stephen Campbell at the Bibliotheca Hertziana (6th April 2021)
  • Chair of Session Accessing Place: Imagination and Proximity, Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium, The Courtauld Institute of Art (18th February 2021)
  • Scientific Organisation of the Research Seminar Visual Politics on the Street: Art and Rhetoric in the Rome of Paul III (1534-1549) held by Dr Guido Rebecchini at the Bibliotheca Hertziana (16th December 2020)