The life stories and artistic careers of deaf and mute painters active in early modern Italy

Project: Research project

Project Details


The proposed research investigates interconnections between art and disability in early modern Italy by focusing on the careers of deaf and mute painters. Documentary evidence suggests that artists with hearing and speech impairments entered Italian workshops from at least the late medieval period. Some, such as the Lombard miniaturist Cristoforo de Predis, achieved remarkable success. Others were less fortunate, and their lives and careers have largely been forgotten. Regardless of their professional achievements, deaf and mute painters have so far been neglected in scholarly studies. Little is known about how they trained or about the difficulties they had to overcome to become professional artists. Starting from these premises, the proposed research analyses the lives and careers of four artists active in early modern Italy: Ercole Sarti from Ferrara, Giuseppe Badaracco from Genoa, Filippo Ceppaluni from Naples and Giovanni Lo Coco from Acireale. Born into different economic backgrounds, these painters developed successful careers, playing a relevant role in the artistic and social life of their respective cities.
Effective start/end date1/06/221/06/23


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