Ariane Varela Braga
Ariane Varela Braga2022-2023
Ariane Varela Braga is an art and architectural historian. She has taught at the universities of Zurich (2014-2019), where she is preparing her habilitation thesis, and Geneva (2019-2020) and as a visiting professor at the University of Milan (2022). Her research has been supported by the Max Planck Institute for Art History-Bibliotheca Hertziana, the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Gandur Foundation for Art. In 2021 she was awarded an André Chastel Fellowship by the Villa Medici and the National Institute for Art History. A former member of the Swiss Institute of Rome, she is an associate researcher at HISTARA/EPHE and co-founder and coordinator of NeReMa-International network for research on marble and decorative stones.
Her research lies at the intersection of art history, architecture and material culture. Her doctoral thesis, defended at the University of Neuchâtel in 2013, was published under the title Une théorie universelle au milieu du XIXe siècle. The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones (Campisano, 2017). She is the author of several articles and books on the theory of ornament, Orientalism in the decorative arts and architecture, and marble. In parallel to her research activities, she is an independent curator for exhibitions on the arts of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Her research project at Villa Medici, entitled “MARBLE. Identity, Memory and Materiality, from Italian Unification to Fascism”, focuses on the symbolism of marble and its use in Italian architecture, from the unification of the nation to Fascism. It aims to explore the link between material, materiality and collective identity at a time when the search for an Italian artistic and cultural identity, between tradition and renewal, became crucial. Focusing on Rome, the project considers the emblematic uses of marble in monumental and institutional architecture from the end of the 19th century to the Ventennio period (1922-1943), the narratives and discourses developed around its use, from a perspective at the crossroads of art and architecture history, memory studies and anthropology. The aim is to understand the mechanisms, practices and ideological, political, economic, technical and artistic issues that led to the “creation” of marble as a “national” material representative of Italian culture and identity.
© Daniele Molajoli