This past week it was a true honor to have Professor Lucia Tomasi Tongiorgi of Pisa, Italy take a tour of my natural history watercolor collection. Professor Tomasi is the Distinguished Delegate to the Chancellor of Culture + Honorary President of the Museum of Graphic Arts at the University of Pisa. To put it mildly, she is a truly accomplished lecturer, writer and curator.
After seeing my collection of over 6,000 works of natural history watercolors on vellum, which are displayed in my gallery and home at 1016 Madison Avenue, Professor Tomasi clearly stated that in her opinion, which is highly respected in the field of botanical illustration, artists Pierre-Joseph Redouté, Jacques le Moyne and George Dionysius Ehret are the best botanical artists that ever lived. She went further by saying that I own the best examples by these highly acclaimed artists. Our Giovanna Garzoni bodycolor on vellum of a plate of figs, she mentioned, is among the best examples by this esteemed female artist that she has yet to see. As you can imagine, this vindicated my collecting works in this genre for over 40 years. There is nothing like hearing from a true expert such as Lucia Tomasi that you have the best of the best. Nothing.
Among the countless books and articles she has published, these are a
Flora: The Erbario Miniato and Other Drawings (Paper Museum of
Cassiano Dal Pazzo. Series B: Natural Histor), 2007
La Toscana di borghi e campagne: opere dalle collezioni del Gabinetto
disegni e stampe dell'Università di Pisa Towns and countryside of
Tuscany: works from the collections of the Gabinetto disegni e stampe
of the University of Pisa, 2004
Garden of simples, 2002
The Flowering of Florence: Botanical Art for the Medici, 2002
An Oak Spring Flora: An Oak Spring Flora Vol 3 (Oak Spring Garden
Library Series), 1997
An Oak Spring flora : flower illustration from the fifteenth century
to the present time : a selection of the rare books manuscripts and
works of art in the collection of Rachel Lambert Mellon, 1997
De Piscibus. La bottega artistica di Ulisse Aldrovandi e l'immagine
Giardino dei Semplici L'Orto botanico di Pisa dal XVI al XX secolo, 1991
A full bio on Professor Tomasi is below.
Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi graduated in 1962 from the University of Pisa
with a thesis Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti. From 1962 to 1975 she taught
in high schools, from 1975 to 1981 was professor at the Faculty of
Humanities, University of Pisa and then, from 1981 to 1993, associate
professor of History of Design and Graphics.
Full professor of History of Modern Art since 1993, has taught at the
Universities of Udine and Siena, before being called up in 1998,
professor of Modern History of the University of Pisa, where she also
took courses History of Graphic Design, History of Art Techniques and
Methodology of Art History. She directed the School of Art History and
in 1989 she was director of the PhD and the PhD in History of Art and
the Performing Arts, a position he still holds. She has supervised more
than a decade, the scientific activity and exhibition of Prints and
Drawings Department of Art History, Museum recently become one of the
Since 2003 she was appointed Deputy Vice-Rector of the University.
The stress fields of her research in the domain of modern art, with
particular regard to the relationship between art and science, the
history of gardens, naturalistic iconography, to still life and art in
general and the incision from the sixteenth to the Tuscan eighteenth
century. On these subjects she has written over one hundred and twenty
works, including essays, catalogs and books.
From 1996 to 2002 she held the position of 'Senior Fellow' of
'Dumbarton Oaks. Trustees of Harvard University ', contributing to the
organization of American scientific life of the institution, the award
of scholarships, the conception and coordination of the annual
In 1997 she was 'Visiting Professor' at the Getty Center for History of
Art and umanities, Malibu, California, and 'Isahia Berlin Visiting
Professor' at the Department of History of Art at Oxford University.
She has conducted research and published several volumes on the
invitation of the Oak Spring Garden Library, Upperville, Virginia,
where she is a member of Rachel Mellon Foundation.
In the academic year 2002 she was invited to deliver a series of
seminars in the PhD in Art History University of the State of Sao
Paulo and Campinas in Brazil.
In 2007 she was invited by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage in part,
as an exponent of Pisa, the National Commission for the honors to
Galileo Galilei and was in charge of organizing an exhibition in Pisa
Pisa illustrious titled 'The scope and the brush. Arts and Science in
the Age of Galileo ', which will be inaugurated in the month of May.
On behalf of the Royal Collection Trust has conducted research at the
Royal Library at Windsor, in 2007 published two volumes on manuscripts
relating to ' Herbarium illuminated by Federico Cesi, found among the
papers of Cassiano dal Pozzo. The work was presented in London,
Buckingham Palace, and Rome, the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.
She designed and supervised the construction of several exhibitions,
including one at the Library Este of Modena in 1984, three at the
Prints and Drawings of the Uffizi, respectively, in 1984, 1990 and
1992, one at the Italian Cultural Institute of Washington in 2001 and
at the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 2002.
She was named as a foreign expert in Higher Education Evaluation
Committee of the French research AERES (Agence d'évaluation de la
recherche et de l'enseignement supérieur). She organized and
participated in conferences nationally and internationally and has
given lectures and seminars in several universities, cultural
institutions and museums, Italian, European, American and South
American. It is part of the editorial board of 'Journal of Garden
History' and directs the series 'Garden & Landscape' Editor Olschki of
Florence. It's academic routine of the Academy of Art and Design,
Academic corresponding Georgofili Academy and a Fellow of the Linnean
Society of London. For these reasons, the Academic Senate awarded the Order of the
Cherubim Professor Lucia Tomasi Tongiorgi.