I declare
That later on
Even in an age unlike our own
Someone will remember who we are



The images of women within the Acton Collection of Villa La Pietra are numerous and richly varied.  From a predominance of religious iconography in fine and decorative arts, to mythological and allegorical depictions, portraiture and scenes of domesticity, every room in the collection of some 6000 objects provides documentation through which to explore the symbolic function of gender roles and relationships across centuries.  While we can enjoy the Acton Collection on the level of an aesthetic experience, a display of collecting taste, or an archive of historic art, as active viewers we become aware of a crucial tension between the gender constructions these images represented when created and their meaning and resonance in contemporary social and political contexts today.

Using the Acton Collection as both a productive and discursive site, this project examines the depiction of women with a transhistorical perspective, adding into the Villa’s collection contemporary responses by artists and poets in an effort to investigate, challenge and expand upon received art historical categories of iconography, patronage, material and function.  With the undergraduate population of NYU Florence and La Pietra Dialogues, this project will explore the issues of gender, power and representation evident in the collection and search for reverberations of this visual history in contemporary artistic, social and political contexts.

Image Credit: Patricia Cronin, Shrine For Girls (Uttah Pradesh), Saris and framed photograph
Venice Biennale, Chiesa di San Gallo, 2015

Born to Describe

A Dialogue with Writer and Poet Eileen Myles on Women and Poetry.
Feb 01, 2017 / 18:00 – 20:00 / SALONE

Followed by:
February 2 at 5:00 pm – Poetry Workshop and Reading: How We Write, With Eileen Myles and Elisa Biagini (NYU Florence) – This workshop is for NYU Students Only.

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Iconography of Violence – Reading the Rotunda Frescos

A conversation with Prof. Silvia Giorgi, NYU Florence and Prof. Marilena Caciorgna, Università di Siena.

Feb 07, 2017 / 18:00 – 19:30

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Refragmenting. Collage Workshop

A workshop for NYU Students only, with photographer Bärbel Reinhard.

Feb. 14, 2017 / 12:00 - 14:00

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Women on the Fringes: Heretics and Witches

A conversation with Prof. Matteo Duni, NYU Florence.

Feb 14, 2017 / 18:00 - 19:30

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A Creative Response to Representations of Women in the Acton Collection, with readings and a performance with Christina Malvasi, Language lecturer, Expositori Writing Program, NYU and Visiting Faculty Fellow, Global Reasearch Institute, NYU Florence

Feb. 20, 2017 / 17:30 - 18:30

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Between Representation and Re-Interpretation: Women and Photography in the Acton Photo Archive

A conversation with Alessandra Capodacqua, Photographer and NYU Florence.

Feb. 20, 2017 / 18:30 - 19:30

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Rebel Girls: U.S. Working Women and the Struggle for Social Justice

A conversation with May-Ann Trascuattu, Hofstra University.
Feb. 21, 2017 / 18:00 - 19:30

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Depicting Women in Film: Where are We Now?

A conversation and screenings with Gail Segal, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts.

February 27, 2017 / 18:00 - 19:30

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Women and Violence: Politics and Gender in the Twilight of Modernity

A conference organized by Debora Spini, NYU Florence

March 8, 2017 / 10:30 - 17:00

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Reframing Beauty: Intimate Visions

Contemporary Artists Respond: Artist Talks – with Deborah Willis, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts

March 14, 2017 / 18:00 - 19:30

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Social Justice and Aesthetic Responsibilities

A conversation with Patricia Cronin, artist.

April 11, 2017 / 18:00 - 19:30

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Vital Voices: Women and International Leadership Development

A conversation with Alyse Nelson, President, Vital Voices Global Partnership

April 19, 2017 / 18:00 - 19:30

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Empowering Women in STEM

A Student dialogue organized by: Yana Chala and Alice Huang, NYU Florence students, with guest speakers: Anna Caroline Dahl, OrtrudMedical, Patrizia Guaitani, IBM Italy, and Svetlana Videnova, Amadeus IT Group.

April 16, 2017 / 18:00 - 19:30

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Regarding Women in the Acton Collection

Regarding Women in the Acton Collection

June 26, 2017 / Dec. 14, 2017

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Art from the Acton Collection

The images of women within the Acton Collection of Villa La Pietra are numerous and richly varied. This gallery contains a selection of images that will serve as a starting point for the exploration of this theme during the Spring 2017 semester.

NYU Florence Students - Join the Project!

As part of the Picturing Women: Constructions of Gender in the Acton Collection and Contemporary Society series, NYU Florence students are invited to respond creatively to the representations of women in the art of Villa La Pietra’s Acton Collection and to participate in an end of semester Exhibition in the Villa’s Collection alongside professional artists.

How to Participate