Maria Luisa Catoni is Full Professor of Ancient Art History and Archaeology, Coordinator of the PhD Program in Management and Development of Cultural Heritage at IMT Lucca and permanent fellow at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America (Columbia University), New York. Among her international appointments: fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin; professor of Iconography of Ancient Art at Pisa University; fixed-term researcher at the Scuola Normale Superiore where she received her education in Classics and Art History; Senior Research Associate at the J. Paul Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.
Her research interests center around four main areas:
- The status of artifacts, images and texts as documents historians and art historians use to reconstruct specific social interactions and contexts in Antiquity. In particular, she has been working and publishing on the functions of the mimetic arts in ancient political practice, the construction of ancient scientific theories (physics, mathematics and cosmology), the power ancient political philosophy attributed to non-verbal communication as a tool of education and diffusion of common ethical and civic values and the crucial function of objects and images for élite definition, identity and practices in Antiquity.
- The reuse and manipulation of ancient values, ideas and images in post-antique western civilization and art.
- The history of protection of Cultural Heritage in a comparative European perspective.
- The comparison between ancient Greek theories of mimesis and contemporary theories of perception based on neurophysiology, evolutionary biology and psychology.