Giancarlo Benevolo, BCSP’s art history professor, is the new curator of Bologna’s Museo del Tessuto e della Tappezzeria “Vittorio Zironi” (museum of textiles and tapestries) housed within the elegant Villa Spada. The museum was closed for many years, and Professor Benevolo played a vital role in its reopening to the public. He presided over the renovation of the villa and restoration of the collection.
Vittorio Zironi, an important historical figure of Bologna, was a craftsman and collector, held prisoner of war in a concentration camp in Poland. After hearing about the destruction of a museum in Berlin, while imprisoned, Zironi vowed that if he returned home he would establish a museum of tapestries.
Professor Benevolo shares and carries on Zironi’s devotion to museum conservation and the ancient art of textile design and production as it continues to impact the technological industry of today. The collection also boasts an impressive display of antique textile machines for spinning, weaving and pattern printing.
Current BCSP student, Gianna Van Heel (BCSP AY 2017-18, University of Notre Dame), a French and Italian major, will assist Professor Benevolo with the preparation of a guided tour for U.S. university students studying engineering and the history of textiles.
Last semester, Nina Stemwedel (BCSP Spring 2017, University of Wisconsin), an Art History major, performed a special, “sneak-peek” guided tour of the museum, prior to its official inauguration, for BCSP and UNIBO friends.
Professor Benevolo continues to oversee the historical archives of Bologna’s Museo Civico Medievale (medieval museum). He teaches the cultural component of BCSP’s Presession in September and Art and Society in Italy from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance course offered in the spring.
Nina at work behind the scenes and giving a guided tour of the museum to fellow students: