The Art of Sprezzatura featuring Alexandria Brown-Hejazi

“I really felt like I came alive here. Life felt simultaneously easier and harder, but underneath all of that, more inspiring and enlivening. And it’s something that I just couldn’t leave.” Alexandria Brown-Hejazi

In this special, long episode featuring art historian Alexandria Brown-Hejazi, we begin by speaking about her journey from California to Italy, in the midst of the pandemic, and the challenges she encountered when she first arrived, alone with a small child, trying to move her research forward and advance her academic career while raising a child in a foreign country. We also cover a wide range of topics from finding and building community, to the differences between raising kids in Italy and in the US, to “checking out of the matrix,” and to planning — or not — for the future. We also discuss where she is right now and dig deeper into her research and her teaching. We chat about aesthetics and meraviglie and what she is doing to bring students closer to art history through new, inclusive, and diverse perspectives that inspire young scholars to look at, feel, and experience what they are seeing in Italy every day in a profoundly personal way that transforms their study abroad journeys into passages of true self-discovery and awareness.

Alexandria Brown-Hejazi Biography

Alexandria specializes in early modern art and architecture of the Mediterranean basin and eastern Islamicate world, with a particular focus on the arts of Italy and Iran. She teaches art history in Florence, where she is also an Associate Scholar at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz. Alexandria is also the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, as well as the Henry A. Millon Award in Art and Architectural History from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. Her research has been supported by the Hoover Institution, the American Association of Iranian Studies, and the Mellon Foundation. She has curated two exhibitions on the theme of cross-cultural early modern exchange. At the Cantor Arts Center, Alexandria directed the first exhibition on Persian art in Crossing the Caspian: Persia and Europe, 1500-1700. She also curated an online exhibition on Islamic mapping practices at the David Rumsey Map Center in her show Mapping the Islamic World: the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires. She received her PhD in Art History from Stanford University, her MA from Harvard University with Distinction, and her BA from the University of California Berkeley.   / alexandria-brown-hejazi-33a50049  

Recorded November 28, 2023 @ Musikalmente Firenze

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