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Alessandra Russo

Alessandra Russo is a professor at the Institute for Latin American and Iberian Cultures. Her research deals with the theory, practice and representation of the arts in the early modern period, with a particular focus on artistic dynamics in the context of Iberian expansion.

Professor Russo is the author of the books The untranslatable image (Texas University Press; French edition: The image is intduisible , Les Presses du Réel), Circular realism (IIE-National Autonomous University of Mexico) and co-editor of Pictures take flight (Hirmer Verlag-distr. University of Chicago Press; Prize for the best book in 'Theory of Art' and Grand Prix du Jury at FILAF and Honorable Mention, ALAA Book Award). She's just finished A new antiquity. Art and humanity as universal (1400-1600) . The book addresses the active role that the encountered - but also looted and collected - artifacts played in the global context of the Iberian expansion in America, Africa and Asia for the modern art idea. She suggests that its circulation, observation, and description have spawned radically new theoretical approaches to human art (see ' An artistic humanity '). Another book in the works called The great keeper , is a study of the arts and geopolitics of the 17ththeCentury under the direction of Sebastiano Biavati, the manager of the museum of the baroque collector Ferdinando Cospi (see ' The curator's eyes '). Professor Russo has written numerous articles in international journals, books and exhibition catalogs. Your most recent article is' Lights on the antipodes '( The Art Bulletin , Dec. 2020).

With the support of a Getty Foundation Collaborative Research Grant, Professor Russo curated the exhibition together with Gerhard Wolf and Diana Fane The flight of images. Feather art in Mexico and Europe. 1300-1700 (Museo Nacional de Arte). She also worked with Serge Gruzinski on the Board of Trustees of Métis Planet (Museum Quai Branly, Paris).

Research group 'Spanish Italy and Iberian America' (2016-2021)

Alessandra Russo and Michael Cole received a grant from the Getty Foundation 'Connecting Art Histories' for a project about the artistic interactions between Spanish Italy and Iberian America In the 16th century. In its first phase (2016-2017), the project brought together younger scholars from Italy and Latin America with a group of distinguished lecturers to explore the artistic links between these two regions. After supporting trips to Milan and Naples and a first workshop in NYC, the Getty Foundation generously offered a second grant to continue the project (2018-2021) with a special focus on Sardinia and Puglia.

The project is now disseminating the group's research through public initiatives, including digital publication, which includes: a catalog of essays written by participants on objects, monuments, maps and prints; a bibliography; and a photo library.

Research, teach and advise

Professor Russo was trained in art history and historical anthropology at the Universitá di Bologna, the Universiteit Leiden and the École des Hautes tudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. She was a visiting researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas / UNAM in Mexico, where she conducted intensive archive and field research. She was a research assistant at the Wissenschaftskolleg-Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin and visiting professor at the ESBA Geneva and at the Institut National d'Histoire de l’Art as well as at the EHESS.

At Columbia, Professor Russo teaches Bachelor's and Master's degrees in the early modern period with a special focus on artistic dynamics in the context of Iberian expansion. She designed the course for Columbia College's Global Core Artistic humanity which it usually offers once a year.

' For me, research and teaching are related thinking activities. I design all of my courses (both bachelor and master’s) in close dialogue with my ongoing writing projects - that's why they always are Research courses . In this way, students participate in the discovery of materials and in the creation of new questions and analysis. You are in touch with the latest ideas and archives that I think about myself. However, the curricula are always designed to introduce students to broad topics of the early modern period, in which they can also discover their own interests. During the semester and the following years I help the students to give shape to their own topics and hypotheses. I do not assign any paper or thesis topics. I would prefer kick out the first idea or question a student shares with me and together we work from there. I find this to be the most rewarding consulting experience: seeing how new thinking and potentially substantive research topics emerge from the students' initial interests, intuitions, and work. '

Other affiliations

  • Society of Fellows in the Humanities (Columbia University), Board member.
  • Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, European Institute, Institute for Latin American Studies (Columbia University), Associate Faculty.
  • Center for Research on American Worlds-EHESS, Paris, Associate Researcher.



The untranslatable image. A Mestizo History of the Arts in New Spain (1500-1600) , Austin, University of Texas Press, 2014 (374 S., 150 Bild).

The image is intduisible . A Métis History of the Arts in New Spain (1500-1600), Dijon, The Presses of the Real. Collection of works in society, 2013. (496 pp., 150 ills.)

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Circular realism. Countries, spaces and landscapes of the cartography of New Spain. 16.-17. century , Mexico, IIe- ONE, 2005. (S. 250, 351 Bildb. (60 Sp., 291 s / w))

Alessandra Russo, Gerhard Wolf, Diana Fane (editor), Pictures take flight. Feather art in Mexico and Europe 1300-1700 , Munich, Hirmer / KHI / MUNAL / distr. Chicago U. Press, 2015 (480 pp., 271 color images).


'Multilingual Dialogues Between Artifacts and Words in the Early Modern Age', in Robert Brennan et al., Editors, Art history before English: negotiation of a European lingua franca from Vasari to the present day (Milan: Officina Libraria, 2021), 107-122 and 2 plates.

' This world machine '. Thresholds and requirements through Spanish Italy and Iberian America ', in Michael Cole and Alessandra Russo, Spanish Italy and Iberian America , 2021, digital publication.

Lights on the antipodes. Francisco de Holanda and an art history of the universal, The Art Bulletin , Dec. 2020, Vol. 102, Issue 4, 37-65.

“This is [not] a crown. Annunciazione with Donors', in Michael Cole and AlessandraRusso, Spanish Italy and Iberian America , 2019, Digital Publication.

The curator's eyes. Sebastiano Biavati, guardian of a heterogeneous art world, in The importance of the little things , herausgegeben von Luisa Elena Alcalá und Ken Moser, Madrid, Ediciones El Viso, 2018, S. 150-158.

Time on the move in Carmen Bernand et al., Editor, Serge Gruzinski. The persistent ferryman , Paris, CNRS, 2017, S. 11-25.

A contemporary art from New Spain, in Alessandra Russo, Gerhard Wolf, Diana Fane (editor), Pictures take flight. Feather art in Mexico and Europe 1300-1700 . Hirmer / KHI / MUNAL 2015, published by Chicago University Press, pp. 4-49.

Inventory of preserved feather mosaics from Mesoamerica and New Spain, with Alessandra Russo, Gerhard Wolf, Diana Fane (editors), Pictures take flight. Feather art in Mexico and Europe 1300-1700 . Hirmer / KHI / MUNAL distributed by Chicago University Press, 2015, pp. 452-468.

An artistic humanity. New positions on art and freedom in the context of the Iberian expansion (1500-1600), Res, anthropology and aesthetics , 65/66 (2014/2015), S. 353-363, Harvard University Press.

These statues were commonly called them jaw . A new object at the crossroads of languages The Challenge of the Object Edited by Ulrich Grossmann, Petra Krutisch, Nürnberg, 2013, pp. 45-49.

From tlacuilolli . Renaissance Artistic Theory in the Wake of the Iberian Global Turn, in Jill Casid, Aruna D’Souza, Hrsg., Art history in the course of the Global Turn . Clark Institute / distributed Yale University Press, 2013, pp. 20-39.

Cartography: Spanish America (couple entry on cartography with Ricardo Padrón) for the Lexicon of the Hispanic Baroque: Technologies of a Transatlantic Culture, Editors: Kenneth Mills and Evonne Levy, Austin, Texas University Press, 2013, pp. 28-32.

Tradition, The Art Bulletin , (Notes from the Field), Dezember 2013, S. 540-543.

Recomposing the image. Gifts and absences in the Mass of Saint Gregory , Mexico, 1539, in: Synergies: creating art in a common culture , Hrsg. Manuela De Giorgi, Annette Hoffmann, Nicole Suthor, ( Studies in honor of Gerhard Wolf ). Florence, Kunsthistorisches Institut-Max-Planck, 2012, pp. 465-481.

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Uncatchable colors, postface to Colors between two worlds. The Florentine Codex by Bernardino de Sahagún , Florence, Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies / Kunsthistorisches Institut-Max Planck, (distributed Harvard University Press), 2012, pp. 388-410.

Exit the maze. Tradition and Contemporaneity in the Proposals of Three Mexican Artists, Chapter 3, Bouncing borders. Mexican local creations and globalization , herausgegeben von Patrice Giasson, México, CONACULTA, 2012, S. 116-144.

Cortés' objects and the idea of ​​New Spain: inventories as spatial narratives, Journal of Collection History (Lia Markey, Jessica Keating, Herausgeber, Sonderausgabe „Captured Objects: Inventories of Early Modern Collections“), Oxford University Press, 2011, S. 229-252.

(with Barry Flood; David Joselit; Alex Nagel; Eugene Wang; Chris Wood; Mimi Yiengpruksawan), The Global Before Globalization, OCTOBER - (MIT Press), 133 (Summer 2010), pp. 3-19.

All over this New Spain . Expansion and articulation of an artistic world, Source. Notes on art history , New York, Ars Brevis Foundation, vol. V.XXVIII, No. 3 (spring 2010).

Horizon line, point of no return. The arrival of the Spaniards on the coast of Mexico in the illustrations of Codex Duran , in the The sea, exchange and the limits of representation , Berlin, Diaphanes Verlag, 2009, pp. 311-322.

Figures, mosaics and queros ... other painting arts in the kingdoms, Painting the kingdoms. Common identities. Hispanic World Territories, 16th-18th centuries century , (edited by Juana Gutiérrez, with an introduction by Jonathan Brown), Fomento Cultural BANAMEX, 2009, vol. III, pp. 775-819.

Pen picture, relic time? Tangibility of an aesthetic story, Traditions and temporalities of images (Ed. By G. Careri, F. Lissarague, J-C. Schmitt, C. Severi), Paris, EHESS, 2009: Chapter 9, pp. 153-164 + 6 p. Color illustrations.

Through the picture. Invention and manufacture of intersections, Métis Planet , Exhibition catalog published by Serge Gruzinski, Actes Sud / Musée du Quai Branly, 2008, pp. 90-105.

The Codex Borbonicus , Body document: anatomy of the visual, Métis Planet , Exhibition catalog published by Serge Gruzinski, Actes Sud / Musée du Quai Branly, 2008, pp. 25-31.

The accordion time, i.e. the Codex Borbonicus , Maps crossing (directed by Serge Gruzinski), special issue TDC , November 2008, S. 25-28.

Hiking in the country, unknown again, everything changed: the invention of landscape painting in New Spanish cartography, 16.-17. Century ', in Terra Brasilis, magazine for the history of geographical thought in Brazil . Jahr VI-VII-VIII, Nr. 7-8-9 - Iberoamerikanische Karografien , Rio de Janeiro, 2008, S. 97-120.

A story of two bodies. On the aesthetic condensation in the Mexican colonial graffiti by Actopan, 1629, RES. Anthropology and aesthetics (Harvard University-Peabody Museum) 49-50 (2006), S. 59-79.

Plums of sacrifice. Transformations in Sixteenth Century Mexican Feather Art Res. Anthropology and Aesthetics 42 (2002), Harvard University-Peabody Museum, S. 226-250.

'Numbers and their understanding'. Creation of a study on graffiti from the colonial era, Annals of the Institute for Aesthetic Research , n. 73 (1998), IIE-UNAM, pp. 187-192.

The vegetable renaissance. Trees of Jesse between the old world and the new, Annals of the Institute for Aesthetic Research , n. 73 (1998), IIE-UNAM, pp. 5-39.

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