Floris Meens has been awarded a PhD for his research and dissertation into the life and work of the Roman countess Ersilia Caetani-Lovatelli (1840-1925). In addition to his post as Cultural History lecturer at ArtEZ University of the Arts, Meens also works as Assistant Professor at Radboud University Nijmegen and as Cultural History lecturer at HAN University of Applied Sciences.
Born into one of Italy’s most famous families, between 1870 and 1915, Ersilia Caetani-Lovatelli received at her palace representatives from the Italian and European cultural, intellectual and political elite. With them, she would discuss the political situation of the Fin de siècle, but also about developments in religion, the arts and science. Caetani-Lovatelli was also the first woman to be admitted into the male-dominated archaeological science, making her a role model for Italian feminists. This biography is not only a description of Caetani-Lovatelli’s exceptional life and work, but also offers a unique glimpse into the cultural, political and intellectual life in Rome, Italy and Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century.
For his Master’s thesis, Floris Meens had already studied the life of Ersilia Caetani-Lovatelli: the Italian salonnière and archaeologist.Therefore, his external PhD candidate research was the natural next step. With scholarships from the Royal Dutch Institute in Rome, the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund and the Royal Society he spent various periods in Rome, Naples, Florence, Vienna, Paris and London. He presented his results at conferences in Rome and London and published articles and reviews in, among others, The European Legacy; Incontri. Rivista europea di studi italiani; Austrian Studies; Historica and Roma Aeterna.