Maria Teresa Costa wearing a dark shirt and a necklace

Maria Teresa Costa

Visiting Scholar (Jan 2023-Dez 2023)


Maria Teresa Costa studied Philosophy at Padua University and at Humboldt University in Berlin, and obtained her PhD in Philosophy with a fellowship from Padua University with a dissertation on Walter Benjamin. After her PhD, she was awarded a series of postdoctoral positions at the Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung in Berlin and at the Forum für Kunstgeschichte in Paris, among others. From 2013 to 2018 she was Academic Assistant to the Director of the Kunsthistorisches Institut (KHI, Max Planck Institute) in Florence, Prof. Gerhard Wolf, and then Research Scholar at the KHI within the International Research Group "Bilderfahrzeuge. Aby Warburg’s Legacy and the Future of Iconology" (founded by the BMBF). As part of this project she spent six months at the Warburg Institute in London. From July to December 2016 Maria Teresa Costa worked as a Research Scholar in Department I at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, where she was a Visiting Scholar until February 2019. Before joining the GMPG in March 2019 she spent three months at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome (Max Planck Institute for Art History).

A strong interdisciplinary character marks out her research, which is located at the crossroads between philosophy, art history, and the history of science and includes works in aesthetics, political philosophy, epistemology, art theory and historiography, as well as in Translation Studies. Her current focus is on the history of art history from the nineteenth century onwards. In the context of the GMPG group, she worked until 2022 on the history of art history and of the architecture of buildings, infrastructures, and real estate of the Max Planck Society.


No current projects were found for this scholar.

Art History around 1900 as Art’s “Transcultural Reflection” avant la lettre


Selected Publications

Renn, Jürgen, Jeffrey Johnson, Jasper Kunstreich, Maria Teresa Costa, and Robert Schlögl (2024). “Orte der Wissenschaft — Bauen für die MPG.” In Die Max-Planck-Gesellschaft: Wissenschafts- und Zeitgeschichte 1945–2005, ed. J. Renn, C. Reinhardt, J…

Read More

Costa, Maria Teresa (2023). “The Debate on Technique in the ‘Kunstwissenschaft’ Around 1900.” In The Making of Technique in the Arts: Theories and Practice from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century, ed. S. Dupré and M. Hendriksen , 165–184…

Read More

Costa, Maria Teresa, ed. (2023). Benjamin, Walter: Il compito del traduttore. Edizione criitica. Milano: Mimesis.

Read More

Costa, Maria Teresa (2023). Wissenschaft und Bau(t)en im Zeitwandel. Eine kleine Architekturgeschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft . Preprint : Ergebnisse des Forschungsprogramms zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (GMPG) 23. Berlin:…

Read More

Past Events




Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities


Biennial Conference of the International Walter Benjamin Society (IWBS), Max Planck Institute for the History of Science / Akademie der Künste, Berlin

Lessico Warburghiano. I prestiti delle scienze negli scritti sull’arte di Aby Warburg

Accademia La Colombaria, Florenz (invited chair)

Organizer and Chair of the Panel Spaces of Visual Epistemology

9th Conference of the European Society for the History of Science „Visual, Material, and Sensory Cultures of Science”, University of Bologna (virtual platform)

Autotraduction: perspectives intertextuelles, transactions esthétiques, circulations transculturelles

Université Jean Moulin- Lyon 3 (invited speaker) – canceled

Lessico Warburghiano. I prestiti delle scienze negli scritti sull’arte di Aby Warburg

Accademia La Colombaria, Florenz (invited chair) – postponed

The Making of the Humanities VIII, “Decentralizing the History of the Humanities”

University of Cape Town, Africa (invited speaker – not attended)

The disciplinary formation of art history through the lens of its first international conferences

International Conference “The Making of Art Expertise”, Utrecht University/ Amsterdam University (invited speaker)

A Transcultural History of Art History from the 19th Century and Beyond

“The Making of the Humanities VII", Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of the Humanities, University of Amsterdam

Art histories around 1900

Panel talk “Expertise in Art and Science II: Art (History), Conservation and Modern Science and Technology,” at the Annual Meeting of the History of Science Society, Seattle, USA

Images on the Move: Depots, Routes, Borders, Spaces

International Conference, Warburg Institute, London (co-organizer and chair)

Bilderfahrzeuge Projekt

Images on the Move: Depots, Routes, Borders, Spaces, Warburg Institute London

The debate about technique in the Kunstwissenschaft around 1900

International Workshop “The Making of Technique in the Arts: Concepts and Practice from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century,” Utrecht University (invited speaker)

Ein Jugendwerk Heinrich Wölfflins

Workshop “Die Jugendwerke Michelangelos (1891),” First Meeting of the Edition of Wölfflin’s Gesammelte Werke, Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome (invited speaker)

Lesbarkeit als epistemologisches Paradigma für mentale und materielle Bilder

International Walter Benjamin Society Conference 2017 “Walter Benjamin and Method,” Worcester College, University of Oxford (invited speaker)

Coordinator of the Reading Group on Warburg’s Sandro Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” and “Spring.” An Examination of Concepts of Antiquity in the Italian Early Renaissance

Warburg Institute, London

Subject and Subjectivisation in Philosophy and Art (History)

 International Workshop at the KHI Florence, MPI (organizer and chair)

Metamorphosis of Ruins. Some Reflection on Reconstruction Practices around 1900

International Conference of the Reseach Group Bilderfahrzeuge “Das Verirrte Kunstwerk. Funktion und Rezeption vom Wege abgekommener Bilderfahrzeuge,” Warburg Haus, Hamburg

Rebuilding Ruins, Rethinking Time

Interdisciplinary Workshop “Materialität im Prozess,” a cooperation between the DFG-Graduiertenkollegs Materialität und Produktion of the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf and the KHI Florenz, MPI

Introduzione ad Aby Warburg e all’Atlante Mnemosyne

Seminario permanente di Estetica, University of Florence

Tra-durre. La scrittura della metamorfosi

International Conference “Pensare tra le lingue,” University of Padua

Benjamin’s Spaces of Thought – Space as Epistemo-critical Category

International Conference of the Walter Benjamin Society “Spaces, Places, Cities, and Spatiality,” The Hebrew University of Jerusalem/ Tel Aviv University

Event Videos

Nachrichten & Presse

Tagesspiegel berichtet über die diesjährige Tagung der Internationalen Walter Benjamin Gesellschaft


Tagung der International Walter Benjamin Society, 4–6 November 2021