Bespoke Programmes

BESPOKE PROGRAMMES cater our educational services to visiting school groups, societies, associations and companies, and include semester abroad programming, short courses, individual lectures and guided visits to Florentine monuments and galleries. Programme scheduling is tailor-made to fit the needs of each group, taking place through direct liaison between the group and the British Institute of Florence History of Art department staff. In some cases it is possible to join these programmes even if you are registered at a different university so please contact us if you would like further information.

 

Our international team of lecturers offers a spectrum of expertise and individual approaches to teaching, while our ‘house style’ is informal, relaxed, engaging and participatory. Our courses are accessible to those coming to the subject with no previous background in History of Art, but are at the same time pitched at a level that will engage all those who are already familiar with the subject. 

 

The History of Art Department has arranged activities and courses for previous and returning groups including:

The University of Bristol · The University of Buckingham · The London Mayors’ Association · Farlington School · Godolphin and Latymer School · Downe House School · Dulwich College · Harrow School · The Russian Academy of Art in Florence · Creative People in Florence · Painting in Italy

 

 

NOW ACCEPTING ENROLMENTS FOR: 

100 TREASURES IN FLORENCE

Short Courses

 


Designing an itinerary for your school or association? Popular lectures and visits available for bespoke programmes include:

 

 

Session Format 

Title

Duration

€ per session

 

 

 

 

Lecture:

The Role of the Renaissance Artist

(1 hr)

125

 

“Posessing to divine and wondrous and intelligence….” These words from Vasari’s Lives of the Artists, first written in 1550, describe the artist, inventor and polymath Leonardo da Vinci; however they also stand for the new ideal of the High Renaissance artist as a protean innovator who, in addition to mastering all the visual arts, was to be well-versed in a variety of intellectual and creative pursuits including literature, music and philosophy. The new expectations of the training and temperament of the artist differed fundamentally from that of the Medieval and Early Renaissance painter and sculptor. In a concentrated effort to render their profession more intellectual and more creative, the status of the contracted craftsman/painter/sculptor was elevated to that of a ‘universal professional artist’, competent in all fields, who was imbued with special creative impulses and under the direct influence of the muses. This talk will explore this new definition and the transition of the role of the artist through analysis of the works of Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, Filippino Lippi, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Vasari and Titian.

 

 

Lecture:

Renaissance Portraits: Traditions and Innovations

(1 hr)

125

 

When we look at a Renaissance portrait we see the expression of profound emotions, the spirit of discovery and the love of antiquity that pervaded all aspects of life during this period. While the Renaissance was a deeply religious time, the educated lay population became progressively more concerned with understanding the real world around them and the human beings who inhabited it. In the arts, this was manifested in a new interest in naturalism, which the Italians found in their ancient Roman past and in the observation of nature. This lecture considers the intersection of classicism and naturalism as one of the principal factors that defines the look of Renaissance portraiture, and there is perhaps no other art form that so successfully engages and reconnects the viewer to both the extraordinary accomplishments and the everyday lives of the men, women and children of the age.

 

 

Visit:

Galleria dell’Accademia

(1 hr)

125*

 

This visit focuses on Michelangelo’s David, made upon his return to Florence after his first sojourn in Rome. We will discuss the circumstances of its creation, the significance of the David for the Florentines of the early 16th century, and the artistic achievement of Michelangelo with his Gigante. We will also discuss Michelangelo’s important tomb project for Pope Julius II della Rovere by looking at the unfinished Slaves, also located in the Accademia. Finally, we will focus on some 16th century paintings executed by Michelangelo’s contemporaries and a large plaster study by Giambologna, made for his Rape of the Sabine Women.

 

 

Visit:

Palazzo Vecchio

(1 hr)

125*

 

Originally referred to as the Palazzo dei Priori, after the group of priors elected to govern the Florentine commune during the 13th century, the building to this day is the seat of Florentine government. With its imposing stone façade, the Palazzo Vecchio, as it is now called, built in the 1290s, recalls the earliest history of the warring Guelph and Ghibelline factions of Dante’s day (1265-1321). The interior of the palazzo tells an even more complex story, with elements of Florence’s republican past in the sleeping quarters and chapels of its priors, who were required to live onsite, through the Salone dei Cinquecento, built under the influence of Girolamo Savonarola in 1494 to hold meetings of the Great Council of the Republic. The walls of that hall were to be decorated by Leonardo’s Battle of Anghiari and Michelangelo’s Battle of Cascina, which along with the latter’s statue of David (1501-1504) placed at its entrance, was to celebrate the brave, triumphant Florentine Republic. However, the building is also testament to the frailty of Florence’s democratic enterprise and the ambition of the Medici family, who overthrew the Republic in 1530, establishing hereditary rule of the Medici over the Grand Duchy of Tuscany over the course of the following two centuries. Throughout the Palazzo Vecchio are portraits, statues and frescoes celebrating the achievements of Cosimo I (1519-1574), the first Grand Duke, Giovanni de’Medici, who became Pope Leo X in 1513, as well as other members of the dynasty. Until Cosimo I’s wife Eleonora of Toledo purchased the Pitti Palace for the family’s residence in 1549, the Palazzo Vecchio was also the official residence of Florence’s ‘First Family’. We will visit the living quarters of the Duchess and her children, featuring Bronzino’s stunning paintings in the Chapel of Eleonora of Toledo.

 

 

Visit:

The Brancacci Chapel

(1 hr)

125*

 

According to Giorgio Vasari, Masaccio was to early Renaissance painting what Brunelleschi and Donatello were to architecture and sculpture. With his paintings, Masaccio sought to combine influences from antiquity, Brunelleschi’s architectural forms, and Donatello’s emotional force. Masaccio achieved a new sense of monumentality in his paintings, rendering figures as if they were three-dimensional objects in a naturalistic and measured pictorial space. He was the first painter of the Renaissance to apply Brunelleschi’s perspective grid to his compositions and therefore he reached new heights in storytelling and achieved layered illusionistic depth. This visit considers the most important example of Massacio's work: the fresco programme depicting scenes of the life of Saint Peter in the Brancacci family chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine. 

 

 

Visit:

Piety, Penance and Charity in Fifteenth-century Florence

(2 hrs)

250*

 

Florence has a long tradition of Christian confraternities (lay associations approved by the religious authorities) providing social services to the city’s disenfranchised. For wealthy citizens concerned about the future of their souls, confraternities provided an excellent opportunity to expiate or do penance for their sins. This visit begins at the Oratory of San Martino where Domenico Ghirlandaio’s assistants frescoed scenes of the Seven Works of Mercy for the charitable confraternity of the Dodici Buonomini. These frescoes depict evocative images of the everyday life of Florence’s “shame-faced poor” within the context of the confraternity’s dedication to Christian charity. We will then progress to Piazza Santissima Annunziata, home to an important 15th century “buca” – a confraternity dedicated to prayer, social work and even entertainment. The visit will end at the most imposing and famous example of Florentine charity, the Ospedale degli Innocenti, an orphanage financed by the Silk Guild and designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1419.

 

 

Visit:

Florence Cathedral Square

(2 hrs)

250*

 

This visit explores the Piazza del Duomo as it was during the Renaissance. We will begin by visiting the Baptistery of San Giovanni, with its Romanesque architecture and stunning mosaic cycles commissioned by Florence’s Calimala Guild of wool importers. As the city increased in economic and political importance, Florence outgrew both its medieval city walls and its old cathedral, so by the end of the 13th century the comune decided to expand both. This visit considers the burgeoning population, along with a great influx of travellers, merchants, and pilgrims, that made Florence one of the five most populous cities in Europe and caused Florentines to create a number of charitable institutions to provide social services for such a large number of people, including the 14th-century Confraternity of the Misericordia and the hospital and orphanage of the Bigallo that had their headquarters here in Piazza del Duomo.

 

 

Visit:

Galleria degli Uffizi

(2 hrs)

250*

 

This visit covers the development of Italian High Renaissance painting in light of what is commonly known as the ‘Vasarian Paradigm’. According to the 16th century artist and historiographer Giorgio Vasari, Italian art developed along a highly defined series of stylistic parameters, which created a qualitative template by which art could be judged, culminating in the “perfect” works of the 16th century. This approach became the standard until relatively recently. The goal of this visit is to reconcile the Vasarian Paradigm with more recent contextual analyses of the High Renaissance collection of the Uffizi. Artists featured are Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Pontormo, Parmigianino, Rosso Fiorentino and Titian.

 

 

Visit:

Galleria Palatina at Palazzo Pitti

(2 hrs)

250*

 

This visit concentrates on four of the most important painters of the beginning of the 1500s - Raphael, Titian, Andrea del Sarto and Pontormo. Initially we will explore the difference between the Florentine tradition of disegno (drawing) in the paintings of Raphael, concentrating specifically on a number of his portraits, such as those of Agnolo Doni and Maddalena Strozzi, and a number of his madonnas, in particular the Madonna of the Seggiola. We will then compare this with Titian’s paintings and his use of Venetian colorito (colouring) in several of his portraits. Finally we will be able to view Mannerist works of Andrea del Sarto, such as his Saint John the Baptist, and Pontormo’s Adoration of the Magi, to get a complete view of the shift from High Renaissance painting styles to Mannerism.

 

 

Visit:

Museo Nazionale del Bargello

(2 hrs)

250*

 

This visit offers a comprehensive look at the development of Renaissance sculpture through exploring the works in the Bargello National Sculpture Museum. Beginning with the competition pieces by Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi for the Baptistery doors, the visit will then follow the development of early Renaissance sculpture by analyzing the works of Donatello’s Davids, Luca della Robbia’s glazed terracotta reliefs and Verrocchio’s David. Themes covered will be the technical aspects of sculpture such as bronze casting, carving marble and working in terracotta, and the general movement towards the acceptance and celebration of the classical nude.

 

 

Visit:

The church of Santa Croce

(2 hrs)

250*

 

This visit will consider Santa Croce’s role in late medieval Florence as spiritual and artistic centre. Discussion will initially focus on the nature of Franciscan spirituality and how it might have influenced the creation of works of art and architecture at Santa Croce, with an in-depth look at Giotto’s revolutionary frescoes in the Bardi and Peruzzi chapels and Taddeo Gaddi’s later Baroncelli chapel and Cimabue’s damaged Crucifix recently re-located to the Sacristy. The visit will conclude with Gaddi’s ground-breaking Last Supper in the refectory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Entry costs, reservations and headset costs are not included and will be calculated based on the individual group. Rates vary depending on group number, age of participants and site requested.