Art historian of classical art. Educated at the University of Rome under Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli (q.v.), Becatti was appointed to the Superintendency of Ostia in 1938 at a time when Mussolini sped up excavations in order to showcase them at the (unrealized) International Exposition in Rome. Becatti altered his publishing interests from Etruscan subjects to Roman Ostia as a result. He also contributed the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum volume on the museums of Duomo di Orvieto, Museo civico di Spoleto, Museo comunale di Terni, and the Museo comunale di Bettona. After the war, Becatti moved to chair the department at the University of Milan in 1953. He succeeded Bianchi Bandinelli in his positions both in Florence (1957) and the university in Rome (1964). Becatti continued to publish on and excavate Ostia throughout his career. He retired from teaching in 1969. He succeeded the editorship of the prestigious Enciclopedia dell'Arte Antica (1958-1966), also from Bianchi Bandinelli. He was a visiting professor in the United States at Princeton University and the University of Chicago. His studies of jewelry (Oreficerie antiche, 1955) are among his most frequently consulted. Becatti and Hans Jucker (q.v.) were among the first to trace the dependence of late Republican and early Roman Imperial art on Greek models.
[collected articles:] Kosmos, studi sul mondo classico. Rome: Bretschneider, 1987;L'arte dell'età classica. Florence: Sansoni, 1971, English: The Art of Ancient Greece and Rome: from the Rise of Greece to the Fall of Rome. London: Thames and Hudson, 1968; L'arte romana. Milan: Garzanti, 1962; La colonna coclide istoriata; problemi storici, iconografici, stilistici. Studi e materiali del Museo dell'Impero romano 6. Rome: Bretschneider, 1960; Meidias: un manierista antico. Florence: Sansoni,1947; Oreficerie antiche dalle minoiche alle barbariche. Rome: Istituto poligrafico dello Stato, 1955; Corpus vasorum antiquorum. Italia. Musei comunali umbri. Rome: Libreria dello Stato, 1940.
Serra Ridgway, F. R. "Giovanni Becatti." Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Nancy Thomson de Grummond, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996, p. 136; Brilliant, Richard. "Introduction." Roman Art: from the Republic to Constantine. New York: Phaidon, 1974, p. 16, mentioned.