Roberto Longhi (1890 - 1970) was an Italian academic and art historian. The main subjects of his studies were the painters Caravaggio and Piero della Francesca. Whilst establishing himself as a notable Caravaggio scholar, Longhi retained a lively interest in Piero della Francesca, publishing a monograph in 1928, representing him as the leading painter of the Quattrocento. He believed Piero played a decisive role in the development of Viennese painting. This monograph, which Kenneth Clark opined could hardly be improved upon, is a classic of art-historical literature.
When Longhi died in 1970 he left his collections of art, photographs and books "for the benefit of future generations" in his villa in via Fortini which is now the site of a foundation bearing his name.
This villa was the residence of Longhi and his wife Lucia Lopresti (the writer Anna Banti). The Foundation's preferred sphere of interest is art historical research. It also focuses on artists and specific artistic themes, including contemporary art and artists.
The Roberto Longhi Foundation of Historical Studies art collection
This art critic’s private collection is on display in Florence’s Villa il Tasso, an ancient building which used to be known as Villa il Ficalbo. The name Ficalbo came from the fico bianco (white fig tree) which grow locally, just as the current name comes from the Italian word for yew tree. Over the centuries, the villa has belonged to the Alberti family, to the del Paradiso monastery and, in 1480, to Cristoforo Landino. Landino was a Florentine poet, philosopher, linguist (he was well versed in both Latin and Greek), a commentator on the work of Dante and the teacher of Giuliano and Lorenzo de Medici. Following his ownership, the villa also belonged to the Guasconi family, the Marrocchi family, the Tolomei family, the Giorni family and the Campani family. The famous art critic, Roberto Longhi, lived in Villa il Tasso from 1939 to 1970. It was here that he gathered together a collection of important works of art that date from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. The part of the villa which faces Florence was built in the fifteenth century, while the opposite side of the building was added by Longhi. In front of the villa’s façade, there are still signs of the old Florence road which marked the edge of the villa’s gardens.