Small Portraits (09_2022)

by Rodrigo Ballon Villanueva

Francesca Galli

The Small Portrait #4 is devoted to Francesca Galli. Francesca is currently a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in Medieval literature and philology at Università della Svizzera italiana (Lugano). She is particularly interested in the overlaps between Medieval sciences and literature, in Mendicant preaching and also in the text-image relationship. An example can be found here (video clip in Italian). In September 2022, thanks to the generous support of the Swiss National Science Foundation (Ambizione grant, PZ00P1_201935), she will start at the University of Zurich a four-year project on the ‘hybrid’ uses of optics in the XIII century. She will study the vehicles and forms through which this branch of physics, today a discipline with well-defined boundaries, very quickly percolated through distant spaces and environments and profoundly influenced the imagery of a wide and varied audience. In other words, how did perspectiva become a science, to quote Roger Bacon, of «inexpressible utility» in western Medieval society?

Francesca began her investigations on this subject during her Ph.D. at USI, dealing with a treatise on physical and spiritual light by Bartolomeo da Bologna o.f.m. Her critical and commented edition of Bartolomeo’s De luce has just been published (SISMEL-Micrologus Library 2021). She collaborates in the PRIN project Books and Readers in Florence from the 13th to the 15th Century: the Library of Santa Croce (Roma Tre), focusing on the Franciscan preacher Servasanto da Faenza. Previously, she was part of the team of In codice ratio (Roma Tre) and, before that, she was awarded the Balzan Postdoctoral Fellowship at USI. A recent article of hers was devoted to a dispute between Bacon and Peckham about the capacity of vessels (Studi medievali, 2021). Another paper, now in press (Rivista di storia della chiesa in Italia, 2022), reports the discovery of two works by Servasanto, which were long considered lost.

You can see here Francesca’s institutional profile!