Francesco Benelli

Associate Professor

Renaissance and Baroque Architecture, History and Theory
Ph.D., Istituto Universitario di Architettura, Venice, 2001

Contact Information

Phone: (212) 854-4230
Office: 904 Schermerhorn Hall
Office Hours: Wednesdays 4-6, by appointment only


Francesco Benelli's scholarship and teaching on history and theory of Renaissance and Late Medieval architecture are influenced by his background of a practicing architect. His interests and publications spans from the late thirteenth to the end of sixteenth century. They focus on issues of design, style, building materials, structures, the interpretation and acquisition of the Antiquity during the Renaissance, but also on the relation between structure and decoration and the theoretical discourse from Leon Battista Alberti to Andrea Palladio. His book on architecture in painting explains how Giotto created a new way of conceiving pictorial space and representing architecture through an unexpected knowledge of classical sources.

Francesco Benelli is experienced in archaeological surveys and conservation of public, private and monastic Medieval and Early Modern buildings and fortifications as well. Recently he published articles on Rudolph Wittkower and Renaissance architecture, on his influence on Colin Rowe and the debate on proportions with Le Corbusier. All these articles are based upon material of the Wittkower archive. His main current project is a book on the education of the Renaissance architect through the study case of Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and his reading of Vitruvius.

Selected Publications


The Architecture in Giotto's Painting, Cambridge University Press, New York & London (December 2011).

Book sections:

The notion of exactitude in Fifteenth Century Architecture. The case of the Palazzo del Podestá in Bologna, in Geometrical Object, edited by A. Gerbino, Cambridge MA: MIT Press (forthcoming, 2012). Peer review.

Rudolph Wittkower and Colin Rowe: maestro e allievo? in L'architettura come testo e la figura di Colin Rowe, edited by Mauro Marzo. Venice, Marsilio Editore 2010, pp. 96-111.

The Medieval Portrait of Architecture. Giotto and the representation of the temple of the Minerva in Assisi, in Some Degree of Happiness. Studi di storia dell'architettura in onore di Howard Burns, edited by Maria Beltramini and Caroline Elam. Pisa, Edizioni della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, pp. 31-42. Peer review.

I materiali di costruzione a Bologna fra Medioevo e Rinascimento. Forma e Linguaggio, in Storia dell'architettura come storia delle tecniche di Costruzione. Esperienze rinascimentali a confronto, M. Ricci (ed.), Venice: Marsilio 2007, 22-45. Peer review.

Il palazzo del Podestá di Bologna nel Quattrocento. Storia e architettura, in Nuovi Antichi. Committenti, Cantieri, Architetti 1400-1600, F. Benelli, C. Baglione, M. T. Sambin de Norcen, R. Schofield (ed.), Milano, Electa, 2004, pp. 67-119. Peer review.


"Diversification of knowledge: Military Architecture as a Political Tool during the Renaissance: the Case of Francesco di Giorgio Martini, in RES, Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics, Harvard University, 57/58, Spring/autumn 2010 (forthcoming, peer reviewed).

"Vario' tanto della comune usanza degli altri: The function of the encased column and what Michelangelo made of it in the Palazzo dei Conservatori at the Campidoglio in Rome", in Annali di Architettura, 21 (2009), 65-78. Peer review.

"Il cortile d'onore del Castello Brancaleoni di Piobbico. Storia, Stile ed un tentativo di Attribuzione", in Bollettino d'Arte, special edition for the 100 anniversary (Rome), 140 (2007), 12-30. Peer review.