Discovering Renaissance Art in Florence

Table of Contents

florence's cathedral and dome

Description

The city of Florence – often called the ‘Cradle of the Renaissance’ – is home to some of Western civilization’s greatest works of art and architecture.

Let’s travel through the centuries to discover masterpieces by Florence’s praised painters, sculptors, inventors, and theorists – from Giotto to Michelangelo.

Included in the program: Guided Tours and entrance to Museums such as Galleria degli Uffizi, Opera del Duomo, and others.

Concept by: David Baroni

Topics included in the course:

  • Overview of Renaissance art and architecture in Florence and the ‘rebirth’ of beauty, truth, and wisdom;
  • Florence’s beginnings, starting with its foundation as a Roman colony;
  • The development of humanism and the progressive mindset;
  • Early Renaissance in Florence: Masters of the 14th and 15th centuries, from Cimabue to Botticelli;
  • The role of patronage in Renaissance art, the Medici family, and the Platonic Academy;
  • Late Renaissance in Florence: Art history’s famous competing geniuses, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo;
  • An introduction to Mannerism.

Learning outcomes

Participants of this course will learn to:

  • Provide historical context for topics concerning Italian Renaissance art;
  • Guide students in the interpretation of artworks in order to strengthen their visual thinking skills;
  • Lead students in art activities inspired by classical works of art.

Tentative schedule

Day 1 – Course introduction & precursors to Renaissance art

Course introduction

  • Introductions and presentations of participants’ schools.

Precursors to Renaissance art in Italy

  • Precursors to Renaissance art in Italy: Roman, Romanesque, and Gothic art and architecture;
  • Florence’s beginnings, from its foundation as a Roman colony, to the wool trade, to the introduction of a banking network;
  • Visit to San Miniato al Monte with a panoramic view of Florence. Romanesque architecture, mosaics, and Byzantine iconography.

Day 2 – Florence during the Middle Ages and the shift to naturalism

  • 14th-century Florence: The Black Death, Boccaccio and The Decameron; Petrarch and humanism; Cimabue and Giotto;
  • Early Renaissance in Florence: Naturalism and the art of sculpture: Donatello, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti and the Gates of Paradise;
  • Visit to Basilica di Santa Croce: Cimabue, Giotto, Brunelleschi, Donatello.

Day 3 – The rediscovery of perspective

  • Drawing, painting, the rediscovery of perspective, and the chiaroscuro technique: Brunelleschi, Leon Battista Alberti, Masaccio, and Paolo Uccello;
  • Visit to Basilica di Santa Maria Novella with art activity in the cloisters.

Day 4 – Neoplatonism and symbolism in art

  • Visit to San Marco Museum: Michelozzo, Fra Angelico, Ghirlandaio, Girolamo Savonarola and the campaign for Christian renewal;
  • The role of patronage in Renaissance art, the Medici Family, and the Platonic Academy. Botticelli, symbolism, and storytelling through painting;
  • Late Renaissance in Florence: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raffaello.

Day 5 – Mannerism

  • Introduction to Mannerism with visits to the Bargello Museum and Loggia dei Lanzi;
  • Visit to Museo dell’Opera del Duomo;
  • Group brainstorming: How to incorporate Renaissance art history into classroom activities. Suggestions of low-cost art projects inspired by classical art.

Day 6 – Course closure & Excursion

  • Course evaluation: summary of acquired competencies, feedback, and discussion;
  • Awarding of the course Certificate of Attendance;
  • Final visit to the Uffizi Gallery Museum.

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