Keywords: Leopoldo Cicognara; Johann Joachim Winckelmann; History of Art; Christian Gottlob Heyne; Pietro Giordani.
Cicognara came into contact with Winckelmann's work for the first time in Rome, at the end of the Eighteenth Century. Since then, he encountered it throughout his literary activity. Like most Italian intellectuals, however, his position towards the German art historian is rather ambivalent. On the one hand, he recognizes the decisive role played by Winckelmann in the creation of a new discipline, the history of art; on the other, he openly criticises some of his main theoretical and methodological contentions. A thorough examination of Cicognara's work reveals that the most important source of inspiration for such a highly critical attitude was the great German scholar Christian Gottlob Heyne.