Dr Federica Gigante

Research Associate

I am an (art) historian of the material and intellectual exchanges between the Islamic world and Europe. I am interested in how things, people, and ideas moved across the Mediterranean and were adopted and adapted in new cultural contexts. I specialise in Islamic art and Islamic scientific instruments and worked for several years as a museum curator.

My current project focuses on the role of Muslim galley slaves in the transmission of Islamic material culture and technical and scientific knowledge in Europe in the early modern period. In Cambridge I am a member of the research project 'Objects and Spaces of Encounter in Renaissance Italy,' funded by the AHRC, and I work partly in collaboration with The Fitzwilliam Museum.

My research has been supported by the Royal Society, the Renaissance Society of America, the Delmas Foundation, the Max Planck Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, the Research Center for Anatolian Civilisations of Koç University in Istanbul, and I Tatti –  The Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (2024–2025).


Islamic Objects in 17th-century Italy: Ferdinando Cospi, the Bologna Collection, and the Medici Court. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, [forthcoming]

Journal articles

Federica Gigante and Andrew Burnett, "Casaubon on Arabic and Turkish Coins: a European Network." Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, (2024) [forthcoming].

Federica Gigante, "A Medieval Islamic Astrolabe with Hebrew Inscriptions in Verona: The Seventeenth-Century Collection of Ludovico Moscardo." Nuncius, 39 (2024): 163–192. https://doi.org/10.1163/18253911-bja10095

Federica Gigante, "The rediscovered Islamic manuscripts of the Cospi Museum in the University Library of Bologna." Journal of the History of Collections 35 no. 2 (2023): 211–226. https://doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhac038

Book chapters

Federica Gigante. "The tradition of the Fixed Stars in astronomical instruments and celestial globes". in The Stars of Samarkand – Ulugh Beg’s Book of the Fixed Stars by Al-Sufi, Müller und Schindler [in press]

Federica Gigante. "Medici Patronage and Exotic Collectibles in the Seventeenth Century: the Cospi Collection". In Medici Patronage and Exotic Collectibles in the Seventeenth Century, edited by Francesco Freddolini and Marco Musillo, 48–66. London, New York: Routledge, 2020.

Federica Gigante. "New and rare items coming from India and Turkey : Changing perceptions of Islamic artefacts in early modern Italy". In Constantinople as Center and Crossroad, edited by Olof Heilo and Ingela Nilsson, 170–178. Stockholm: The Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, 2019.

Federica Gigante. "Trading Islamic artworks in seventeenth-century Italy: the case of the Cospi Museum". In The Mercantile Effect: on Art and Exchange in the Islamicate World during the 17th-18th centuries, edited by Sussan Babaie and Melanie Gibson, 74–85. London: Gingko Library, 2017.


Dimensions: The Mathematics of Symmetry and Space (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 16 March–9 June 2018) https://youtu.be/aFHdrwfsB-A 

From Istanbul to Oxford – the Origins of Coffee-Drinking in England (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 28 September 2019–15 March 2020)

Cultures in Conversation. Precious and Rare Islamic Metalwork from The Courtauld (History of Science Museum, Oxford, 9 October 2020–10 January 2021) https://youtu.be/nYVnhWB8yEQ