From Piero della Francesca to Caravaggio: The Italian Renaissance and Beyond – Tuesday 15 – 22 – 29 June

Tuesday 15 June; 22 June; 29 June


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.

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Spotlight Lectures

Our series of spotlight lectures offer an in-depth look at some of the topics we discuss in our virtual tours.

Lasting between 40 and 60 minutes plus a live Q&A session, they offer a focussed study of aspects found in art, history and literature while combining our exclusive filming, advanced visual aids and the enthusiastic expertise of our lecturers.

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Your Lecturer

Dr Eireann Marshall

Dr Eireann Marshall is a Research Associate and Associate Lecturer with the Open University. She has published a number of articles on Ancient North Africa, and co-edited volumes on 'Death and Disease in the Ancient City' and ‘Women’s influence on Classical Civilisation’. Eireann has led many tours for specialist tour operators, to Italy and North Africa. In 2019 she was awarded Wanderlust Magazine's Top History & Culture Guide at its World Guide Awards.

Event Details

Day 1: 15 June 2021

Day 2: 22 June 2021

Day 3: 29 June 2021

Start time: 18:00 BST

End time: 19:30 BST

Venue: Zoom Lecture


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When you book one of our lectures you are automatically registered to the Zoom Meeting with the email you used to indicate the Attendee. You will receive a confirmation email with a ticket and a link that will allow you to join the live lecture over Zoom.

You can read our extensive dedicated Zoom instructions here.

We recommend participating using a large screen in order to make the most of the video and photo content that will be used during the lecture. You will also need a stable and fast internet connection. We recommend a connection with a minimum speed of 5.0 Mb/s to enjoy the streamed content in HD.

The webinar link will be active 30 minutes before the beginning of the lecture to ensure everyone's connection is working properly.

Should you have any queries or need any assistance setting up Zoom and accessing our lectures, get in touch at

Cancellations and refunds

You may cancel your attendance up to 24 hours before the class begins and request to receive a full refund.

If you cancel after 24 hours before the start of the lecture we might not be able to issue a refund. 

Our places are limited but we may not always be able to refill a spot at short notice. You can however transfer your place to a friend if you are unable to attend. Let us know by email so we can send the link to attend to the correct email address.

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