Roberto Longhi

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Roberto Longhi
Roberto Longhi.jpg
Longhi in around 1960
Born (1890-12-28)December 28, 1890
Alba, Piedmont
Died June 3, 1970(1970-06-03) (aged 79)[1]
Florence, Italy
Residence Il Tasso, Florence
Nationality Italian
Fields art history
Patrons Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi (1878-1955)
Alma mater University of Turin
Thesis  (1911)
Doctoral advisor Pietro Toesca
Notable students Giovanni Previtali, Luciano Bellosi
Known for Scholarship on Caravaggio and Piero della Francesca.
Spouse Lucia Lopresti (1895-1985)
Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell'Arte Roberto Longhi

Roberto Longhi (December 28, 1890 in Alba – June 3, 1970 in Florence) was an Italian academic and art historian. The main subjects of his studies were the painters Caravaggio and Piero della Francesca.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Longhi was born in December 1890, at Alba in Piedmont. His parents were from Emilia. He studied under Pietro Toesca, in Turin, and Adolfo Venturi in Rome. The latter made him editor of book reviews at the journal L'Arte, by 1914. Between 1913 and 1917, Longhi, primarily an essayist, published in L'Arte and La Voce, essays on Mattia Preti, Piero della Francesca, Orazio Borgianni and Orazio Gentileschi.

Roberto Longhi developed a fascination with Caravaggio and his followers; his Quesiti caravaggeschi [Caravaggio questions] (1928–34), was followed by the Ultimi studi caravaggeschi [Latest Caravaggio research] (1943). In 1951, Longhi curated a ground-breaking exhibition on Caravaggio in Milan,[3] followed by an artist monograph in 1968.

Whilst establishing himself as a notable Caravaggio scholar, Longhi retained a lively interest in Piero della Francesca, publishing a monograph in 1928, representing him as the leading painter of the Quattrocento. He believed Piero played a decisive role in the development of Viennese painting. This monograph, which Kenneth Clark opined could hardly be improved upon, is a classic of art-historical literature.[1]

Between 1920 and 1922, Longhi made a Grand Tour of Europe (reaching Great Britain only much later). He never visited Russia, nor some American collections, like the Kress Collection of the National Gallery, Washington. However, his first-hand viewing of many works, like those in the Borghese Gallery in Rome, led to the rediscovery of many lost masterpieces (such as two panels of a Giotto altarpiece).

Longhi also rekindled interest in a large number of followers of Caravaggio, such as Hendrick ter Brugghen (monograph published 1927). His study of the painters from Ferrara, Officina Ferrarese (1934) is exemplary.[1] Along with the publication of the Officinia, Longhi started his academic career, first as Professor at Bologna University (from 1935), later Florence.

From 1950, Longhi edited Paragone, a periodical he founded and contributed to substantially.

Cimitero degli Allori, Roberto Longhi

He died on June 3, 1970, and is buried at Cimitero degli Allori.


  • Longhi, Roberto (1927). Piero della Francesca. Rome: Valori Plastici. 
  • Longhi, Roberto (1934). Officina ferrarese. Edizioni d'Italia. 
  • Longhi, Roberto (1946). Viatico per cinque secoli di pittura veneziana. Florence: Sansoni. 
  • Longhi, Roberto (1951). Mostra del Caravaggio e dei caravaggeschi Catalogo. Florence: Sansoni. 
  • Longhi, Roberto (1956–1991). Edizione delle opere complete di Roberto Longhi. 14 vols. Florence: Sansoni. 
  • Longhi, Roberto; Ghidiglia Quintavalle, Augusta (1964). Correggio: the Frescoes in San Giovanni Evangelista in Parma. New York: H. N. Abrams. 
  • Longhi, Roberto (1968). Me pinxit e quesiti caravaggeschi, 1928-1934. Florence: Sansoni. 


  1. ^ a b c Bloch, Vitale (October 1971). "Obituaries: Roberto Longhi". The Burlington Magazine. 113 (823): 609–612. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Longhi, Roberto Dictionary of Art Historians
  3. ^ Longhi, Roberto (1951). Mostra del Caravaggio e dei caravaggeschi Catalogo. Florence: Sansoni. 

External links[edit]