Della Seta, Alessandro

views updated


DELLA SETA, ALESSANDRO (1879–1944), Italian archaeologist. Della Setta was born in Rome to Giuseppe Della Seta and Rachele Rosselli. In 1901, he took a degree in archaeology and history of Greek and Roman art under Emanuel *Loewy's direction. In 1909, he qualified for university teaching in archaeology. In addition to his prolific and remarkable scientific production he worked as inspector of the National Museum of Villa Giulia, in Rome. In 1913, he held the chair of archaeology at the University of Genoa. During World War i, he attained the rank of artillery officer and received a War Cross. From 1919, for 20 years, Della Seta was head of the Italian Archaeological School of Athens. In 1926, his university chair was transferred from Genoa to Rome. In 1930, he was made a member of the Academy of the Lincei; he was also a member of the Greek Archaeological Society and a member of the technical committee of the Enciclopedia Italiana, directing the archaeological section from 1925 to 1930. The anti-Jewish laws of the Fascist regime put an end to his academic career as well as to his scientific production.

Della Seta was eminent both as a field archaeologist and as an art historian. In the 1930s he directed the important excavations at Paliochni, a site on the island of Lemnos, Greece. As an art historian he was particularly concerned with tracing the origins, development, and history of ancient classical art. Among his works are La genesi dello scorcio nell'arte greca (1907); Religione e arte figurata (1912); Italia antica (1922), a survey of Italian civilization from prehistory onward; I monumenti dell' antichitā classica (1926); and Il nudo nell'arte (1920).


Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, 37 (1989), 476–481 (includes bibliography).

[Massimo Longo Adorno (2nd ed.)]