Tuesday 15 June; 22 June; 29 June
10 AM PDT
1 PM EDT
6 PM BST
7 PM CEST
With Dr. Eireann Marshall
Few artistic movements have been more magnificent and influential than the Renaissance, whose flowering was above all evident in Italy from the late 14th century. This series of three lectures explores this fantastic period by considering the works of three of its most important exponents, and their followers, in great detail.
Day 1 – Tuesday 15 June – Piero della Francesca
Our first lecture will focus on Early Renaissance by exploring the sublimely understated, calm work of Piero della Francesca who revolutionised art in the way that few artists before or after him have done.
Known principally as a mathematician during his lifetime, Piero helped to introduce linear perspective as well as the mastery of light to 15th century art, paving the way for the great flowering of art produced at the height of the Renaissance. This lecture explores Piero’s humanism and his transformative ideas, focusing on some of his masterpieces, including the True Cross fresco-cycle in Arezzo.
Day 2 – Tuesday 22 June – Raphael
In the second lecture, we continue on to the height of the Renaissance, epitomised by the figure of Raphael, whose tomb in the Pantheon immortalised his fame, the epitaph of which says “Here lies that famous Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and when he was dying, feared herself to die.” The goal of the art of the High Renaissance was impeccable verisimilitude captured with ideal, exquisite beauty. Raphael’s attention to perfection of execution and beauty of form, which was both admired in the centuries following his premature death in 1520 and reviled by 19th-century critiques such as Ruskin, made him the foremost painter of his age, even though Michelangelo was perhaps more influential.
Day 3 – Tuesday 29 June – Caravaggio
ìIt is this idealised beauty which the Baroque painter, Caravaggio, reacted against. In our third and finale lecture of the series we will look at Caravaggio, a tortured genius famous for his colourful life who dramatically changed art in the end of the 16th century with his radical naturalism and his quick-working artistic technique. With Caravaggio we see, for the first time, painted on canvas, ordinary looking people, brought to life in graphic detail, including dirty nails and goitres. This radical realism is accompanied by an offering of real psychological insights not witnessed in earlier artists.