Rossella Bondi

Rossella Bondi



Thesis title: The impact of French avant-garde on Alberto Savinio’s work

Start year:


Research topic

My PhD thesis is designed to illuminate what is the significance of the Italian writer, musician, playwright and painter Alberto Savinio in the international Avant-Garde movement and what is the importance of his contribution to the definition as well as the practice of modern art during the years 1911–1937.

I explored Savinio’s interaction with the Parisian Avant-Garde movement he came in contact with during his stay in Paris from 1911 until 1915 and the historical and artistic context of these encounters. I offered an insight on the impact of the Italian avant-garde Futurist movement on Savinio and the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire. I introduced the complexity of the relationship between Savinio and Apollinaire examining in particular their condition of Apatridisme or Statelessness: the former born in Athens from Italian parents, the latter son of a Polish woman. I established common themes and differences such as multi-linguism, nomadic lifestyle, orphism, the poet’s solitude and the mannequin. This character celebrated by the futurist movement as an embodiment of optimism, faith in modernity and progress, becomes the faceless man in Apollinaire’s and Savinio’s work. But Savinio’s faceless man shows a deep sense of disillusion, death and desperation compared to Apollinaire’s and Marinetti’s idea of progress and modernity. By following Savinio’s friendship with the chief of the surrealist mouvement André Breton and his collaboration with surrealist journals such as Nord-Sud and La Révolution surréaliste, I showed Savinio’s steady interest in the subconscious, esoteric doctrines and black humour, all common traits to surrealism. In fact Breton regarded Savinio’s play Les Chants de la Mi-Mort as a work anticipating psychoanalytic theories. Lastly by focussing on the relationship between Savinio with his world renowned brother Giorgio De Chirico, the metaphysical painter associated with the French Avant-Garde, it will be revealed what a fundamental part Savinio played in elaborating the metaphysical aesthetic usually attached to his brother’s oeuvre.


French, avabt-garde, literature, twentieth century, art, France, painting

General research interests

European art, literature, theory, aesthetic, analysis

Work in progress

Currently working on the end of the fifth chapter.

Teaching experience

  • Full-timet music teacher in Secondary School since December 1979

Academic and professional training

  • First Class Honours Degree at Oxford Brookes University in French Language and Literature, 1997
  • Ba Honours Piano Performance 1986 at Naples Music Academy

Scholarships and prizes

  • 1976–1977 University of Naples scholarship