An ornate private study or small room in a house where an intellectual may retire for contemplation.

Pioneered in the creative fecundity of the Renaissance, a person's studiolo is filled with valuable or inspiring works of art that stimulate the intellect and promote lofty thoughts. Many artists, philosophers and theologians possessed a studiolo as a workspace for sombre contemplation. Studioli were also popular among wealthy patrons who enjoyed the company of creative minds.

In the Sixteenth Century, a studiolo was more than a thinking person's snooker room: assuming that sufficient funds were available, a studiolo would be tailored to the nature of the owner. The dimensions of a room were often altered with inlaid wood panels (a technique known as intarsia) or faux marble to create a trompe l'oeil, maximising the period's penchant for "ideological and iconographic-space relationships" (Don Vincenzo Borghini) in interior architecture.

The popularity of the studiolo played an important role in the promotion of Renaissance art. Many patrons commissioned artworks for private studios; Isabella d'Este's impressive collection of Perugino, Mantegna and Correggio has given modern art historians numerous excellent examples of their work. Several studioli survive intact today: the study of the Duke of Urbino, Federico da Montefeltro (Italian, 1422-82) is on permanent display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Over time, the term has also come to represent a gathering or college of intellectuals, often in the arts. In his work 'Hannibal', Thomas Harris makes reference to "a small, fierce group of scholars who had ruined a number of academic reputations" known as the Studiolo in Florence, Italy. Dr. Hannibal Lecter, posing as the Tuscan art aficionado Dr. Fell, lectures them on 'Dante's Inferno and Judas Iscariot.'

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.