Dawn of the Renaissance

DAWN_webThis course covers the dramatic awakening of Italian art during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, particularly in the vibrant, independent city republics of Tuscany. Against a backdrop of rapid economic growth, turbulent political change, famine and war, artists including Cimabue, Arnolfo di Cambio, Giotto, Andrea Pisano, Duccio, Simone Martini and Ambrogio Lorenzetti skilfully catered to new contemporary religious, cultural and political aspirations, forging a new style and marking the beginning of the dominant figurative tradition in Western European art. This course includes on-site visits to the Baptistery of San Giovanni, the church of San Miniato al Monte, the Palazzo Davanzati, the church of the Ognissanti, the church of Santa Maria Novella, the church of Orsanmichele, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo and the church of Santa Croce. 




Scroll through the calendar below to locate individual sessions, as well as cultural events at the Harold Acton Library:


View meeting points for course visits and further sites of interest:


Access course notes and slides below (available for enrolled students):





What are the most valuable aspects of this course?


It was very exciting to hear about the Giotto’s crucifix from one that actually restored it!! (…) The staff of the Institute is extremely kind and welcoming.

H.C. – England


The course is very well structured, with the topics linking together very clearly. Across the programme, very clean key issues and themes have emerged which have been clearly emphasized in a variety of different ways. This meant that by the end, I really felt I had gained a good breadth and depth of understanding. The outings are fantastic. It’s really valuable to have discussed something in class and then see it in reality, with someone who can answer your questions. I also felt that this helps create a lovely camaraderie among the class, as we share our delight and understanding of what we’re visiting.

S.D. – Israel


What are the most valuable characteristics of our lecturers?


Their knowledge of their subject; their enthusiasm; their willingness to share their knowledge and experience; they truly care about us AND OUR experience.

M. T. – United States


It is obvious that they are all have done a lot of study and research but what was getting us all more involved is the passion and enthusiasm they had.

O.W. – Israel


Love the passion.

C.T. – Singapore