Concept by: Robin DeSantis
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 prided painters, sculptors, inventors, and theorists – from Giotto to Michelangelo.
Visits to Florence’s museums and basilicas are an integral part of this course.
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.
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.
The schedule describes likely activities but may differ significantly based on the requests of the participants, and the trainer delivering the specific session. Course modifications are subject to the trainer’s discretion. If you would like to discuss a specific topic, please indicate it at least 4 weeks in advance.
Day 1 – Course introduction & precursors to Renaissance art
- 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 & course closure
- Introduction to Mannerism with visits to the Bargello Museum and Loggia dei Lanzi.
- Grand finale: 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.
- Course evaluation: summary of acquired competencies, feedback, and discussion.
- Awarding of the course Certificate of Attendance.
Day 6 – Excursion
Excursion and other external cultural activities.