Matteo Chirumbolo

PhD student

Thesis: ‘The Patronage of Girolamo Basso (1434-1507) and Domenico della Rovere (1442-1501) between Rome, Loreto and Turin’

Supervisor: Dr. Scott Nethersole

Funded by CHASE/AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership

My thesis examines the art commissioned by two cardinal patrons, Girolamo Basso (ca 1440-1507) and Domenico della Rovere (1442-1501), to ask questions about how ideas and culture were communicated across the Italian peninsula in the fifteenth century.

Residing in Rome for the majority of their life, Girolamo and Domenico commissioned artworks in municipalities and communities as diverse as Turin (the soon-to-be seat of Savoy ducal power), Loreto (a ‘villa’ under direct control of the commune of Recanati, whose Marian Santuario della Santa Casa was renowned throughout Europe), and Rome itself. Their commissions involved important artists and architects, such as Pinturicchio, Andrea Bregno, Luca Signorelli, Melozzo da Forlì, Benedetto and Giuliano da Maiano, among others.

Shifting the focus from the analysis of the artistic commissions to that of the patrons and their networks, the thesis aims to cast new light on such artworks and their intellectual milieu. It seeks to define to what extent these were the result of the translation of cultural and stylistic models from Rome, and how, if at all, these reflect the encounter with local political, intellectual and artistic communities. In doing so, the thesis aims to contrasts a long-lasting, Florentine-centric view of Renaissance art. Lastly, the thesis grants particular attention to a region, Piedmont, that to this day has received virtually no attention in international scholarship.


  • PhD Candidate, Courtauld Institute of Art (2018-present)
  • MA History of Art, Courtauld Institute of Art (2015-2016)
    Special option: ‘From Dante to Michelangelo: rhetoric, representation and identity in Italian art and literature, c.1300-1550’ Supervisors: Dr. Scott Nethersole, Dr. Federica Pich
    Dissertation title: Contracts, contexts and contents: Defendente Ferrari’s polyptych at Sant’Antonio di Ranverso
  • BA Classics and Comparative Literature, King’s College London (2011-2014)
    Dissertation title: The reception of Lucan’s political ideology in the works of P.B Shelley and G. Leopardi

Research interests

  • Cardinals’ patronage networks in the Quattrocento and early Cinquecento
  • Cultural and artistic translation in late-Fifteenth-Century northern and central Italy
  • Savoy, Piedmont and Turin in the Renaissance
  • The relationship between the Renaissance and Antiquity
  • Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth Century European sculpture (with a particular focus on Italy, France and England)

Conference papers

  • ‘Secondary’ artists for ‘secondary’ patrons: Girolamo Basso della Rovere (ca 1440-1507), Bernardino de’ Cuppis and the Marian fresco cycles at Santa Maria del Popolo and Sant’Onofrio al Gianicolo (Rome), Université de Nantes, December 2019
  • Inside the exhibition: temporality, device and narrative, Swiss Institute, Rome, October 2020, convener


  • Doctoral Fellow, Abteilung Alessandro Nova, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (2020-2021)