This course will explore the development of art and architecture in Florence from the period ca. 1280- 1550. Through an in- depth analysis of the art and history of this period, we shall develop an understanding of Florence’s role in the overall development of Western civilization. Florence exhibits to this day a particularly well- integrated visual culture that integrates fully the arts of painting, sculpture and architecture. Taking advantage of this, we will use the city as our classroom in order to examine the development of Florentine art and architecture in context. In addition to aesthetic and stylistic themes, we will also explore social, political, economic and historical issues.
- Monday October 2, 2017 (9:00am-12:00pm) – Post Black Death Painting and Early Renaissance
Sites visited: The Church and Convent of Santa Maria Novella, Spanish Chapel and Brancacci Chapel | Duration: 3 hours
The “Black Death” of 1348 has been described as the single most important event in the history of Europe. An epidemic of cyclopic dimensions, it killed off nearly half the population of Europe in a single year. The effects of this plague on art have been the focus of much research. We will examine the frescoes in the Spanish Chapel at Santa Maria Novella as a possible testimony of a “post black death style”.
We will then continue on to the church of Santa Maria Novella to view one of the most important paintings of all times: Masaccio’s Holy Trinity. This is the first painting ever to make use of the tool of linear perspective. We will also view Masaccio’s revolutionary frescoes at the Brancacci Chapel.
- Tuesday October 3, 2017 (9:00am-12:00pm) – The Rise of the Medici: Palazzo Medici, San Lorenzo and San Marco
Sites visited: Palazzo Medici, San Lorenzo, San Marco | Duration: 3 hours
This lecture will examine the Medici family’s role and importance in the history of Florence. The Medici imposed de facto rule on Florence from 1434 until 1494. The family controlled the city’s political, economic and artistic policy. Their power and patronage is best expressed in their 15th century palazzo, their unofficial “official” church of San Lorenzo and the first monumental commission of individual patronage to rival communal patronage in Florence: the church and convent of San Marco.
- Wednesday October 4, 2017 (9:00am-12:00pm) –The Urbanism of Florence and the Florentine Romanesque: The Piazzale Michelangelo and San Miniato al Monte
Sites visited: Piazzale Michelangelo and Church of San Miniato al Monte | Duration: 3 hours
This lecture will examine the general Medieval urbanism of Florence from a bird’s eye view. Not only will the breath-taking panorama demonstrate why Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it will also reveal how the individual monuments relate to each other. We will then ascend the steep stairway up to the oldest church in Florence-San Miniato al Monte. Consecrated in 1016 A.C. as a Benedictine church and monastery, the church still stands as one of the prime examples of Romanesque architecture in Italy.
- Thursday October 5, 2017 (9:00am-12:00pm) – The High Renaissance and Florentine Mannerism: Santa Felicità and Palazzo Pitti
Sites visited: Church of Santa Felicità and Palazzo Pitti| Duration: 3 hours
In the wake of Michelangelo many young artists in Florence sought their own unique voice of expression. This inevitably led to many of them working in an unorthodox “manner”. Vasari was the first to collectively coin this style as “Mannerism”. This lecture will examine the High Renaissance works of Raphael in the Palatine Gallery and contrast them to contemporary Mannerist works, in particular Pontormo’s Capponi Altarpiece in the church of Santa Felicità.
- Friday October 6, 2017 (9:00am-12:00pm) – Siena, City of the Virgin: Day Trip to Siena
Sites visited: Cathedral, Museo Dell’Opera del Duomo, Piazza del Campo and Palazzo Pubblico | Duration: 3 hours
In the first half of the 14th century, the city of Siena was Florence’s main political, economic and artistic rival. Artists such as Duccio, Simone Martini and Ambrogio Lorenzetti were members of Europe’s most important school of Painting. The architecture in Siena also reflects the city’s international importance and civic pride.
This lecture will examine the religious and civic art and architecture in Siena in order to understand the city’s unique beauty and rivalry with Florence. We will visit the striking Gothic cathedral of Siena, and examine the various artistic works within including Nicola Pisano’s 13th century pulpit, which is one of the most innovative works of its day. In the Cathedral museum, we shall view what was once the largest Italian altarpiece ever created- Duccio’s early 14th century Maestà.
The lecture will then continue in one of Italy’s most beautiful piazza’s- the Piazza del Campo. Here we will discuss the civic architecture of Siena as embodied in the city’s most important civic structure- Palazzo Pubblico. This late 13th century building still functions as Siena’s town hall, and preserves some of the most important murals of the 14th Century. The lecture will conclude with an in- depth analysis of these murals, beginning with Simone Martini’s Maestà in the former room of the “Great Council” and the Allegory of Good and Bad Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti in the “Room of the Nine”- Siena’s medieval Oval Office.
PROGRAM “Florence: Masterpieces of the Florentine Renaissance” | October 2 – 6, 2017
– 15 CONTACT HOURS
– DONATION TO MUSEUMS FOR PRIVATE ENTRANCES
– ADMISSIONS TO ALL SITES AND MUSEUMS
– A WELCOME PACKET
– 2 EVENING EVENTS:
* WINE TASTING
* EVENING ART HISTORY LECTURE AT PALAZZO TORNABUONI