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The Language of the Arts in Italy between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The re-editing of documents from the Milanesi corpus and the compiling of a Dictionary of Historical-Artistic Italian

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ITALART (The Language of the Arts in Italy between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The re-editing of documents from the Milanesi corpus and the compiling of a Dictionary of Historical-Artistic Italian)

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2020-09-30

The main objective of the ITALRT research project is to contribute effectively to tracing the linguistic and conceptual formation and development of an Italian language of the arts and architecture from the first examples in the Middle Ages (the mid-13th Century) till the end of the 16th Century and the close of the Renaissance period.
A Marie Curie Standard Fellowship allowed me to start up a research project which is be very beneficial to study of the specialist lexicography of Italian and, more generally, of the history of the Italian language. In addition, it can also be useful in other fields. In fact, one of my medium to long term objectives (to be pursued through an ERC grant for which I intend to apply in the future) is to extend the scope of the research to the documentation available in those areas of Italy which have a particularly rich history of artistic production. This would counter the traditional Tuscan-centric vision of research studies and instead pay much deserved attention to the linguistic and cultural traditions which were geographically peripheral to the Tuscan traditions but were no less significant (it will suffice to recall the Humanistic-Renaissance centres of extraordinary artistic and cultural fervour such as Milan, Venice, Padua, Mantua, Urbino and, of course, Rome).
The project aimed to achieve the following three 3 specific sub-objectives:
1) Online re-editing of the documents collected in the anthology Documenti per la storia dell’arte senese (Siena, 1854-1856) by Gaetano Milanesi (1813-1895), a scholar from Siena, carried out according to modern philological criteria. A large variety of texts (approximately 500) have been examined, including: letters, deliberations, contracts, lodi (surveys carried out by specialists to estimate the value of an artefact), assets declarations, requests made to the authorities or appeals, payment receipts, and wills. Each published text includes a scanned high definition reproduction of the original document, a codicological record, and a set of philological notes.
I carried out on-site research in those archives which hold the original documents already edited by Milanesi. These archives are mainly found in Tuscany, particularly in Siena. The Archive of State of Siena houses most of the relevant documents. I was able to acquire a digital copy of the documents. After the collection and duplication of the original documents, I proceeded with the transcription and the codicological analysis of the documents. The preparation of a set of philological notes concluded this phase.
2) Digitisation and lemmatization of the compiled text corpus and its publication on a specific website. A dedicated search engine for searching through the corpus allows users to recover both textual and paratextual data related to each document. For the digitisation and lemmatization of the text corpus and its publication online I availed myself the technical support of the IT experts at OVI. I used the specialist software GATTO to handle and query the text corpus. This software was created for handling and querying the text corpora which are at the basis of the lexicographic projects already completed or in progress at OVI (such as the “Dizionario dei volgarizzamenti” and the “Vocabolario dantesco”).
3) Compiling a dictionary of the artistic and architectural terms contained in the Milanesi text corpus, published in both a paper and a digital version. This objective has not been reached due to the great difficulties created by the pandemic in the last 8 months of the project.

As far as the dissemination of the results is concerned, an international congress entitled “Lessico artistico e corpora digitali. Tra lessicografia, filologia e storia dell’arte” was scheduled to take place on 7th September 2020 as a closing event of the fellowship, to present the results of the research and to involve other researchers dealing with similar topics that were invited to participate in the congress (following which, a volume containing the written version of the presentations made at the congress should have been published). But the outburst of the pandemic has forced me to suspend the congress, waiting for better times.
I participated to 4 international congresses during the fellowship, with a talk concerning my project:
1) XIII Congress of ASLI (Associazione per la Storia della Lingua Italiana) “Pragmatica storica dell’italiano. Modelli e usi comunicativi del passato” (Catania, Italy, 29-31 October 2018
2) International Congress LBC–CeSLiC “Comunicare il patrimonio artistico e culturale nella società digitale plurilingue” (Bologna, Italy, 13-14 December 2018)
3) XXIX Congress of Ass.I.Term “Terminologie e vocabolari: lessici specialistici e tesauri, glossari e dizionari” (Florence, Italy, 30-31 May 2019)
4) XII Congress of the Scandinavian Italianists “Italianistica 2.0. Tradizione e innovazione”; titolo della comunicazione (Helsinki and Tallinn, 13-14 June 2019).

I also helded 5 seminars/conferences in different countries on topics related to my project:
1) Conference at the University of Liège in collaration with the Dante Alighieri Society in Liège (16 January 2019)
2) Seminar at the University of Siena (29 May 2019) as part of a cycle of seminars within the PhD School of Romance Philology
3) Conference at the Circolo linguistico fiorentino of the University of Florence (Florence, Italy, 11 October 2019)
4) Conference at the University of Debrecen (Hungary) during the “Week of the Italian language in the world” (17 ottobre 2019)
5) Conference (online) at the University of Paris Sorbonne 3 (online) as a part of a cycle of seminars entitled «Lessico della pittura in Francia, Spagna e Italia (XV-XVIII sec.)» (15 June 2020)
The MSCA fellowship has been a great opportunity in my career development, since the prestige associated to the program has played a crucial role in obtaining a post as researcher at the University of Cagliari, Italy, and in two years I will be appointed as Associate Professor at the same university. My medium-long term ambition is to become an internationally recognised scholar in the field of historical-artistic lexicography.
My mobility has met two major goals of the European Research Area “transfer of knowledge” agenda: 1) to enable researchers to move and interact seamlessly, benefit from world-class infrastructures and work within excellent networks of research institutions; 2) to share, teach, value and use knowledge effectively for social and educational purposes.
Research on the language of the arts between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance is almost uncharted territory, taken occasionally into consideration by a few scholars only in the last few years. It is worth remembering that I am the creator and organiser of the international convention held on the subject on September 7th, 2017 at the University of Liege, and of the other one already mentioned as closing event of the MSCA fellowship, at the moment suspended due to the global pandemic: through my research activity I am encouraging other researchers to begin systematic studies in this field and to lay the foundations for fruitful collaborations with them.
Likewise OVI has also benefited from my presence on its premises, and in particular because, among other, I have been able to favour links between OVI and the University of Liege, since I participate in the EpistolART research project in this university.
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