Born and raised in Rome, Italy, where he received his primary and secondary education, Giancarlo Maiorino did his graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he earned three Master's degrees (Italian, 1968; Comparative Literature, 1970; Art History, 1972) and two Ph.D.s (Italian, 1970; and Comparative Literature, 1973). Professor Maiorino joined Indiana University in 1972 to develop comparative arts. His other area of specialty is the Renaissance. In 1989, he was appointed Director of the graduate program in Renaissance Studies. In 1999, he was appointed Director of the Center for Comparative Arts. In 1999, he also became Editor of the Journal of Comparative and General Literature.
He has lectured in Germany, England, Austria, Holland, and Canada, and his publications have been translated into French, German, and Japanese. He has published seven books on such authors and topics as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Arcimboldo, The Picaresque, Mannerism, and the Baroque. He has published in scholarly journals such as Comparative Literature Studies, The Journals of the History of Ideas, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Rivista di Studi italiani, The Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, Revue des etudes italiennes, and Gazette des Beaux Arts. Professor Maiorino has organized and participated in national and international conferences on Mannerism (1991), the Picaresque (1992), The Renaissance Society General Meeting (1996), and a forthcoming conference on Comparative Arts (2001).