Renata De Benedetti Gaddini

(1919 – 2013)


Renata De Benedetti Gaddini passed away at home at the age of 94 after a short illness, sustained until the end by the affection of her loved ones. Renata Gaddini attended meetings at the Italian Psychoabalytic Association with lucidity and enthusiasm until June last year, and those who knew her will remember her charismatic presence enhanced by an uncommon beauty and elegance as well as a vivacious intelligence. She continued to be attracted by anything innovative emerging in the world of culture and in the development of the psychoanalytic movement.


Renata De Benedetti Gaddini was an authority on infantile psychopathology and child psychoanalysis of international renown and a member of the IPA for over forty years, actively participating at meetings. She contributed in various ways to making Italian child psychoanalysis known on an international level and wrote numerous papers and monographs which, through her observations as a paediatrician and during her psychoanalytic work, document her research on the origins of the Child-Self within the mother-child relationship.


She was Professor of Psychopathology of the Age of Development, first at the University of Padua and then at the University of Rome La Sapienza, where she was also head of the mental health unit. During recent years, she served with profound civic devotion as advisor to the Italian Bioethical Commission.


It was Renata Gaddini who promoted Donald Winnicott’s thought in Italy and, as he did, she moved from paediatrics to psychoanalysis. Among her major contributions to child psychoanalysis were her theoretical position on the indivisibility and interdependence of psyche and soma in the attainment of a child’s psychic health; the important concept of the precursory object; her studies on potential space; the role which the mother-child relationship plays as a disorder factor in emotional development and in the lack of symbolic codification which is at the base of psycho-pathogenesis in infantile psychosomatic disorders.

Renata and Eugenio Gaddini were united in both their life and their passion for psychoanalysis which helped to render their contribution to contemporary psychoanalytic thought productive and innovative.


Teresa Carratelli, AIPsi