Sarah Coviello

Phd Student

Professional passions: Anglophone and Italian Art Historians as Collectors and Philanthropists

Supervisors -  Rembrandt Duits Joanne Anderson

Research interests

History of Collecting |Objects Agency |  Art Historiography | History of Taste|  Collectors' Houses | Historic House Museums, Museum Studies|Exhibition and Display History |Venetian Art, Material Culture| Architecture and History 

My PhD research systematically investigates the phenomenon of collecting among art historians, identifying the recurring patterns in the biographies and afterlives of the collections assembled, with a focus on paradigmatic examples such as that of Bernard Berenson, Roberto Longhi, Kenneth Clark, and Federico Zeri. Through the lens of object-oriented ontology my research intends to reconstruct the dialogues established between objects and their expert in the field collectors, ultimately presenting Art History and collecting practices as intellectually and materially intertwined.


Yvonne Hackenbrock Student Support Fund 


Before starting her PhD, Sarah Coviello achieved her BA in Art History (summa cum laude) at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, where she was part of the state-funded (MIUR) university’s honour college, the Ca’ Foscari International College. She graduated with a dissertation on the iconography of the stories of St Mark in the mosaics of St Mark’s Basilica and in Paolo Veneziano’s Pala Feriale, written after an Erasmus-funded research term at the Universität Wien (Vienna). 

She then specialised in Museum Studies completing an MLitt (Distinction) in Museum and Gallery Studies at St Andrews University, writing a dissertation on collectors’  house museums entitled ‘From Collector’s House to Museum: the Identity of Historic House Museum in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Galleria di Palazzo Cini in Venice’.

Sarah further explored the topic of private domestic collections during her MA (distinction) in Art History, Renaissance Culture, and Curatorship at the Warburg Institute and the National Gallery in London  with her dissertation ‘A taste of the past: Mario Praz and Herbert Horne as collectors’.

Conference paper

‘When Objects become Connoisseurs: Herbert Horne and the Attribution of the Torregiani Panels’, Association for Art History Annual Conference, London, 5-7 April 2018.