Pier Luigi Tucci
Assistant Professor of Roman Art and Architecture
Department of the History of Art
178 Gilman Hall
Johns Hopkins University
3400 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
My teaching and research interests cross the boundaries between Classics, Archaeology, History of Architecture and Art History and include the influence of Greece on Roman art and architecture, Late Antiquity, the ‘conversion’ of pagan buildings into Christian basilicas, the display of spolia in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance. My natural impulse is to question whatever I read and to think and write about what interests me (at present, the use of red ochre in Roman architecture, ancient libraries, the Cancelleria reliefs, the pons Sublicius, etc.). In Rome I personally discovered (and excavated with professor Filippo Coarelli) the Republican temple of Neptune, as well as a domus and other previously unknown structures on the Capitoline hill. I have also been researching on the Severan Marble Plan of Rome. My contributions to our understanding of Roman topography and architecture have been published in a number of peer-reviewed international journals, such as Archeologia Classica, the Journal of Roman Archaeology, the Papers of the British School at Rome, the Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, the Mélanges de l’École Française de Rome-Antiquité, and soon the American Journal of Archaeology.
Before coming to Johns Hopkins University in 2010 I taught in Italy and in the United Kingdom. As a researcher (at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa) and a lecturer (at the Universities of Pisa, London and Exeter) I did what anybody would have done if in my shoes: I researched and lectured. In the History of Art department at Hopkins I am developing new interdisciplinary courses such as ‘Art and Religion in the Roman World’, and as a core faculty of the "Inter-Departmental PhD program in Classical Art and Archaeology I am holding seminars on the analysis and interpretation of material and visual culture concerning the interrelated fields of Roman art and architecture".
In 2001 I published a monograph - Laurentius Manlius. La riscoperta dell’antica Roma, la nuova Roma di Sisto IV (Rome 2001; Quaderni di Eutopia. Commentarii Novi de Antiquitatibus Totius Europae 3) - on a certain Laurentius Manlius, who displayed ancient inscriptions and reliefs in the façade of his new house built in the second half of the 15th century in the centre of Rome. A monumental inscription brandishing the entire length of this house proclaimed that the Renaissance had just begun. I was able to identify Laurentius through a painstaking ‘archival hunt’ and to discuss his interest in ancient reliefs and inscriptions: indeed late Quattrocento native Romans used to acquire and display Greek and Roman antiquities for the establishment and legitimization of their family clan. This book appeared while a new research project was underway. Indeed since 1998 I have been investigating the Templum Pacis, next to the Roman Forum. I have been able to examine the design, significance and function of this complex as a whole, setting it within the context of early imperial and late-antique architecture. In particular, my focus is on the ‘conversion’ of the bibliotheca Pacis into a Constantinian audience hall and eventually into a Christian basilica dedicated to Saints Cosmas and Damian by Pope Felix IV (526-530). My own survey provides a more accurate reconstruction of all of the architectural phases than was previously possible, as well as of the medieval and baroque restorations. The results of this research will appear as a monograph (possibly two) to be published in 2012. I am currently working on a research project which aims at exploring the ‘metamorphosis’ of the most symbolic hill of Rome - the Capitoline - from the foundation of the city through the Middle Ages (and, possibly, up to the construction of the Monument to King Victor Emmanuel II at the end of the 19th century).