Roberto Longhi

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

Roberto Longhi
Roberto Longhi.jpg
Longhi in around 1960
Born(1890-12-28)December 28, 1890
DiedJune 3, 1970(1970-06-03) (aged 79)[1]
Alma materUniversity of Turin
Known forScholarship on Caravaggio and Piero della Francesca.
Spouse(s)Lucia Lopresti (1895-1985)
Scientific career
Fieldsart history
PatronsCount Alessandro Contini Bonacossi (1878-1955)
Thesis (1911)
Doctoral advisorPietro Toesca
Notable studentsGiovanni Previtali, Luciano Bellosi
WebsiteFondazione di Studi di Storia dell'Arte Roberto Longhi

Early life and careerEdit

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

Over the course of his career Longhi developed a fascination with Caravaggio and his followers. his book Quesiti caravaggeschi [Questions on Caravaggio] (1928–34), was followed by Ultimi studi caravaggeschi [Latest Caravaggio studies] (1943). In 1951, Longhi curated a ground-breaking exhibition on Caravaggio at the Royal Palace in Milan, Mostra di Caravaggio e dei Caravaggeschi.[3] In 1968 he authored a monograph on the artist.

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

Between 1920 and 1922, Longhi made a Grand Tour of Europe. 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 (he edited a monograph in 1927) and some painters from Ferrara. His book Officina Ferrarese (1934) still stands as an exemplary study.[1] Along with the publication of the Officina, Longhi started his academic career, first as Professor at Bologna University (from 1935), and later in Florence.

In 1950, Longhi co-founded and edited with Anna Banti Paragone, a bi-monthly magazine on art and literature still running to these days.

Longhi also curated a number of exhibitions, including Mostra della pittura bolognese del Trecento (Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna, 1948)[4]; I pittori della realtà in Lombardia (Palazzo Reale, Milan, 1953); and Arte lombarda dai Visconti agli Sforza (Palazzo Reale, Milan, 1958).[5]

Cimitero degli Allori, Roberto Longhi

Longhi died on June 3, 1970, and is buried at Cimitero degli Allori in Florence.


  • 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. OL 18650068M.


  1. ^ a b c Bloch, Vitale (October 1971). "Obituaries: Roberto Longhi". The Burlington Magazine. 113 (823): 609–612. JSTOR 876766.
  2. ^ Longhi, Roberto Archived 2013-06-29 at the Wayback Machine Dictionary of Art Historians
  3. ^ Longhi, Roberto (1951). Mostra del Caravaggio e dei caravaggeschi Catalogo. Florence: Sansoni.
  4. ^ "1950 - Mostra della pittura bolognese del Trecento - Cronologia di Bologna dal 1796 a oggi".
  5. ^ "Arte lombarda dai Visconti agli Sforza, Milano celebra il suo glorioso passato". 2015-03-13.

External linksEdit