Dario Donetti is a historian of Renaissance and contemporary architecture. The primary goals of his research are to understand the interdependence between graphic experiments and conceptual achievements in design practice, as well as to investigate the role of draftsmanship in architectural production, with a focus on issues of authorship and materiality.
Reassessing the function of drawing as a primary instrument of inquiry for architectural avant-gardes across time, Donetti’s studies have covered a wide range of topics, including: the activity of Tuscan and Roman architects in the sixteenth century, such as Bramante, the Sangallo family, and the circles of Raphael and Michelangelo; the history of collecting, photo-reproduction technologies, and the development of historiography in Germany and Italy in the nineteenth century; the analogical methods of representation of monumental architecture in Fascist Italy; the relationship between radical utopias of the 1960s and their consequences for subsequent architectural theory. Among the results of these studies are the exhibition catalog Giuliano da Sangallo: Disegni degli Uffizi (Giunti: 2017, coauthored with Sabine Frommel and Marzia Faietti) and the monograph Francesco da Sangallo e l’identità dell’architettura toscana (Officina Libraria: 2020). Donetti is also the editor of the volumes Architecture and Dystopia (Actar: 2019) and Building with Paper: The Materiality of Renaissance Architectural Drawings (forthcoming from Brepols: 2021, with Cara Rachele).
Currently, he is working on the critical edition and commentary of the Codex Mellon of the Morgan Library: a sketchbook produced in the circle of Raphael during the reconstruction of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican during its sixteenth-century reconstruction. Parallel to this, he is developing a project for the mapping of domed structures in the Mediterranean world, in collaboration with the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz—Max-Plank-Institut and the Shahid University in Tehran, with the aim to illuminate the migration of technical knowledge from the Ilkhanate to late medieval and early modern Italy.
Having trained as an architect in Paris and Florence, where he obtained an MA in Architectural History from the Università degli Studi di Firenze (2008), Donetti subsequently received his PhD in Art History from the Humanities Division of the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (2016). He has been the recipient of fellowships and grants from the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia University, the Italian Art Society, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio. Before joining the University of Chicago as a Harper-Schmidt Fellow, he was a research associate at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz and a member of the "Rinascimento conteso" research group.