Francesca Borgo, Ph.D.



  • Philosophies and cultures of curation and conservation
  • Craft and materiality
  • War and visual culture
  • Leonardo da Vinci and the history of Leonardo Studies


Wartime Care

The Fragile Image


Francesca Borgo is Assistant Professor in the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews and the Lise Meitner Research Group Leader at the Bibliotheca Hertziana. She is an art historian of early modern Southern Europe with a specialization in the art and theory of Renaissance Italy. Before receiving her PhD from Harvard University in 2017, she studied Art History and Conservation at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. She has held residential fellowships at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles (2017–2018), the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut (2013–2017), the University of Hamburg (2016) and Villa I Tatti – The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (2015).
Borgo has published widely on the intersections between visual, literary, and scientific culture, and on the work of Leonardo da Vinci in particular. She is interested in the interplay between academic and community knowledge on Leonardo and supports public engagement through teaching, public lectures, and curatorial work. Her current book manuscript explores the emergence of an art critical discourse surrounding the representation of war during the Cinquecento. This research has been supported by numerous organizations including the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Max Planck Society, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the Renaissance Society of America. A second book project, The Fragile Image in the Renaissance, looks at the early modern perception of decaying artworks. Early drafts have been presented at CAA, the Getty, Rochester, and Cambridge University.
Borgo's Research Group at the BHMPI focuses on the material and temporal dimension of objects, studying how their physical instability shapes the way we handle, think, and write about them.


  • Rinascimento Conteso Research Group, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max Planck Institut
  • Visualizing War Research Group, University of St Andrews
  • Gruppo di lavoro, Grandi Mostre in Basilica Palladiana
  • St Andrews Institute of Medieval Studies
  • Leonardo da Vinci Society
  • IAS – Italian Art Society
  • ICOM – International Council of Museums
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