Dr. Prof. Grazia Marchianò studied philosophy in the University of Milan and graduated from the University La Sapienza, Rome, with a thesis on “Anti-humanism in the poetics of post-war literature” supervised by Prof. Armando Plebe. As a recipient of a two-year research fellowship by ISMEO ,she attended courses in comparative philosophies and religions at Vishva Bharati (Tagore) University, Shantiniketan, India. In the subsequent years she attended courses in Centers for Advanced Studies in comparative philosophies and religions across India specializing herself in the field of East-West studies. At the same time by approaching Indian masters of Advaita Vedanta in traditional contexts, she practiced deep concentration and meditation.
Upon returning to Italy, while contributing to various literary supplements of daily newspapers and magazines, she published in succession the books in Italian : The Code of Form (Dedalo, Bari 1968), Aesthetic Harmony: Outlines of a Laotzian civilization, and Word §Form (sanskrit Nama-Rupa) with the same publisher (1968-1977). Volumes:Aesthetic cognition between East and West ( Guerini, Milan ), and Creativity: the poietic bases of mind (Riza, Milan) followed in 1987. After her appointments as associate professor of aesthetics at Calabria and Genoa Universities , she became full professor of Aesthetics and History§Civilizations of India and Eastern Asia at the University of Siena-Arezzo (1990 – 2002).
In those same years while serving in the Board of the International Association for Aesthetics (IAA) and as President of the Italian Associaton for Aesthetics (AISE), she promoted a number of bilateral conferences in the Humanities between Kyoto and Siena Universities, and Aesthetic conventions in Arezzo the Proceedings volumes of which she edited with Trauben Publisher, Turin. Throughout her academic career she played a vital role in introducing and promoting various schools and currents of Asian Aesthetics and philosophy in Italian and international scholarly circles. In recognition of her contribution to East-West Studies, she received an honorary doctorate from the Open University, Edinburgh, in 2004. Her more recent philosophical oeuvre in Italian: Inwardness and Finitude. The Path of Consciousness: Eurasian Horizons (Rosenberg&Sellier, Turin 2022) has been awarded the Eugenio Montale Prize, 2023. Her main work recipient of the Hanbury and Fiesole prize in 1995 is On the Oriental Sources of thought : how to experience enlightenment in Nature and Arts, published in the six-volume series she directed with Rubbettino (1993-1996). She also authored :The Oriental Renaissance . Pioneers across Three Centuries and Aesthetics East&West (International Polygraphic Institutes, Pisa-Rome, 1996-1997). A number of her contributions in Italian and English are published in the ERANOS Yearbooks, Eranos Foundation, Ascona, CH (2016-2021).
Her intellectual partnership with eminent thinker Elémire Zolla (1926-2002), lasting a quarter of a century, reinforced her vision of a humanism without borders and a commitment to disseminating the great Asian philosophical and non dogmatic spiritual legacies. She collected and commented on all of Zolla’s writings that appeared in the journal “Conoscenza religiosa” he founded in 1969 and directed up to 1983 (Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, Rome 2006), and edited his complete works published by Marsilio (Venice) since 2012. Zolla’s intellectual biography “The Knower of secrets” belongs to the same series. She also covered the omonymous heading in the “ Encyclopedia of Religion” (Thomson,New Yok, 2004 ). In the twentieth anniversary of Zolla’s death, whose work was recognized by UNESCO as a “world cultural patrimony” she organized an international conference by the title : “The Knower of secrets :Elémire Zolla (1926-2002)” at the premises of the Vivarium novum Academy (Villa Falconieri, Frascati),in whose care is Zolla’s library of 10000 volumes donated by Marchianò in 2021.
Her initiation into Japanese “Shingon” Buddhism in a Koyasan monastery (2006-2008) opened up avenues of research that combine philosophical enquiry, awakening to awareness and meditative practice. For her latest book, Interiority and Finitude.
Grazia Marchianò has long been an advocate of reconciling advanced paths of science with traditional pan-Asian spirituality.