Gemma Tronfi studies the role of proto-industrial craft-making in the early history of Italian capitalism, Quattro-Seicento. She is particularly interested in how the organised production of high-end artifacts, sometimes including paintings, anticipated the European sumptuary manufacturers of the XVIII century and even possibly gave birth to what we now capitalistically call the “cultural industries”. Related questions concern the coeval literary construction of a taxonomy of what can be considered art, including the notion of ‘major’ and ‘minor’ arts, and the ideological assumptions brought by economic historiography on Early modern collecting practices.
Gemma holds a BSc and a MSc in Economics from Bocconi, Milan, and has been working in some of Italy’s eminent private and public art collections including Gallerie dell’Accademia di Venezia, Gallerie degli Uffizi, Gagosian Rome, and Santa Maria Novella. She was born in Florence, Italy, grew up in Paris, France, and has spent years living in Milan, Palermo, and Venice before moving to the United States.