SHORT COURSES are available on request and run as one-week to three-week bespoke programmes for individual groups. 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. Courses typically comprise a combination of interactive, illustrated lectures, as well as visits to key sites in Florence. Thematic Sessions can be scheduled on weekday mornings and afternoons, with the occasional Saturday session to accommodate limited opening times at specific sites. Sessions normally last an hour and a half to two hours, with lectures being held in the Harold Acton Library at the British Institute of Florence (Lungarno Guicciardini 9), visits beginning directly on site at designated meeting points, and technical art history workshops alternating between the Library and professional work sites in Florence.
Our international team of lecturers offers a spectrum of expertise and individual approaches to teaching, while the BIF ‘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.
Examples of previous short courses offered at the British Institute of Florence:
The ARNO UNLEASHED: Seven Centuries of Art and Floods in Florence
This 8-session short course is devoted to the historic floods of the Arno river within the larger timeline of Florence's artistic rebirth through on-site visits to local museums, monuments, conservation workshops and archives, as well as lectures held, on the Arno, at the Harold Acton Library.
MATERIAL CULTURE in Early Modern Italy:
Renaissance Art at the Italian COURTS:
This 15-session course explores the varied aspects of artistic activity at the princely courts in Italy during the 15th century providing a clear understanding of the special nature of Renaissance art produced in three 15th century Italian city states – Ferrara, Mantua and Urbino– which were ruled by individual families. We examine how and why court art differs from the art production in the republics such as Florence in the same period.
Florence in FESTIVAL:
This 10-session course surveys the rich calendar of liturgical, civic and dynastic festivals celebrated in Florence during the Renaissance. Rituals and traditions associated with feast days and other events including the festa degli omaggi of San Giovanni, the scoppio del carro of Easter Sunday, and the traditional processions and marking the Florentine New Year, on the feast of the Annunciation.
WOMEN in Renaissance Art:
This 10-session course focuses on the “Renaissance Woman” and her many contributions to artistic, domestic and courtly life during the 15th and 16th centuries. Women as artists, patrons of art, writers and musicians in their own right, particularly among the ruling families of Florence and the Northern Italian city states, will be examined through the examples of Lavinia Fontana, Sofonisba Anguissola, Vittoria Colonna, Gaspara Stampa, Veronica Franco, Isabella d’Este, Eleonora of Toledo and others.
MUSIC in Art:
This 10-session course explores, through illustrated lectures, musical examples and gallery visits, the “silent music” of Greco-Roman ceramics and sculptures, frescoes, manuscript illuminations and celebrated paintings from the Gothic to the Renaissance, while illuminating the fascinating web of connections between the visual arts, music and dance. Participants examine scenes of music-making and dancing, portraits of musicians and composers, and unveil the mysteries of musical symbolism and allegory.
Man in the MAKING:
This 10-session course explores the various methods, tools, and materials utilised by sculptors of the Renaissance to create the ‘bozzetto’, the preliminary model in clay or wax upon which sculptures in marble and bronze were based. Participants will each create their own model of a human figure in modelling wax (to keep), using the various techniques common in renaissance workshops: canons of proportion, anatomical study, the influence of the Antique, and use of the living nude model. The hands-on approach to the course is supplemented by lectures detailing the history of these techniques, as well as on-site visits in Florence’s historic centre.