CONF: An Abbey Between Two Worlds San Nicolò in San Gemini and the Dislocation of Monumental Artworks in the first Half of the 20th Century (8-9 June 2018)

San Nicolo doorway

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Abbey’s restoration (1967-2017), the conference will address the phenomenon of legal exportation and reinstallation of monumental

complexes and oversized artworks in the first half of the 20th century. The Abbey’s portal, which arrived in the United States in 1936 and stands today at the entrance of the medieval collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, will serve as the starting point to examine the circumstances around the exportation of works from Italy until the Second World War.

The specific focus will be monumental complexes and large works – rather than easily movable objects – which have been legally exported in peacetime.

In addition to the case of San Gemini, the conference aims to promote an interdisciplinary dialogue on the significance of an artwork’s context and on the social, legal and intellectual connotations of its removal. Thus, we encourage proposals that consider more than one case in the broader context of the phenomenon. The conference’s program can be found below.


Abbey of San Nicolò, Umbria, Italy

Contact Francesco Gangemi ( for more information.

Friday, 8 June 2018 | 2:30 – 6:30pm
Leda Cardillo Violati and Valeria Violati | Association Promotion of Historical Heritage San Gemini Onlus
Leonardo Grimani | Mayor of San Gemini
Tanja Michalsky | Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History, Rome

Francesco Gangemi | Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institut

The dossier San Gemini 
Moderator:  Tanja Michalsky

Andrea Paribeni | University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”
A long goodbye. The sale of the San Nicolò portal in San Gemini through the documentation archive

Griffith Mann | The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The San Gemini Portal and The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Behind the alienation: the cultural context of institutions and market 
Moderator : Gail Feigenbaum | The Getty Research Institute

Joanna Smalcerz | Universität Bern
Who Has the Right to Art? The Italian Art Debate on Export Policy and the Lobby of the Association of Art Dealers

Maria Grazia Fachechi | University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”
Cristiano Giometti | University of Florence
“To the Museum and Back”: destroyed contexts, contexts (virtually) rebuilt

Giuseppe Zanichelli | University of Salerno
Middle Ages and antiquarian market in Campania between the wars


Saturday, 9 June 2018 | 10:00am – 1:00pm
Across the Atlantic: two cases in the mirror (I) 
Moderator: Robert Maxwell | The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

Susanne Edma Chadwell | University of Melbourne
The Transatlantic Movement of Medieval Monuments from Europe to New York: A Consideration of the Cloisters and the Doorway of San Leonardo in the frigid

Martina Lerda | Pisa
The world’s San Leonardo in frigid: a case study in the history of the dispersion of the Italian monuments


Across the Atlantic: two cases the mirror (II) 
Moderato: Duccio K. Marignoli | Foundation Marignoli Montecorona, Spoleto

Eleanor Tosti | Sapienza University of Rome
From the church of Santo Stefano Vecchio in Fiano Romano at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Searches of a medieval ciborium

Alison Perchuk | California State University Channel Islands
From Santa Sabina in Forest Lawn and Fiano Romano in New York: the luck of tabernacles “medieval” Italians in America

2:30pm – 6:30pm
Monumental Disposals in Central Italy (I) 
Moderator: Enrica Blacks Lusanna | University of Perugia

Paola Mercurelli Wages | Museum of Palazzo Ducale, Gubbio
The Ducal Palace in Gubbio between divestitures, antique events and regulatory silence

Giordana Benazzi | Perugia
The Study of Gubbio in the contradictions of the fascist period: racial laws and laws protecting

Saverio Ricci | San Gemini
The sale of the wooden eaves of Palazzo Racani – Arroni in Spoleto and the interest spread for large wooden furniture in the Italy of old umbertina


Monumental Disposals in Central Italy (II) 
Moderator and discusses Fabio Isman | Rome

Simone Salvatore | Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa
“The rubble of the Magnificent”: The Pinturicchio Palazzo Petrucci ceiling Siena at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art

Marco Pierini | National Gallery of Umbria, Perugia
“These statues have no artistic value”. The sale to the Brompton Oratory in London apostles sculpted by Giuseppe Mazzuoli for the Cathedral of Siena

End conference Reflections
Orietta Rossi Pinelli | Sapienza University of Rome
talks to Bruno Toscano | Roma Tre University

San Gemini, Abbey of San Nicolò, Italy, 8-9 June 2018


Published by ameliahyde

Amelia Roché Hyde holds an MA from The Courtauld Institute of Art, where she studied cross-cultural artistic traditions of medieval Spain, taking an in-depth look at the context and role of Spanish ivories within sacred spaces. Her favorite medieval art objects are ones that are meant to be handled and touched, and she has researched ivories, textiles, and illuminated manuscripts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The British Museum. Amelia is the Research Assistant at The Met Cloisters.

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