Mary and Bernard Berenson Before and After I Tatti

16 February 2022 - 18:00

Wednesday Lecture, on Zoom and at the British Institute Library

by  Carl Strehlke


The lecture will look at the early lives of two  Americans transplanted to Europe:  Mary Smith Costelloe (née Smith) in England and Bernard Berenson in Italy. Their meeting in Sussex in 1890 led to a life-time relationship and collaboration on the study of Italian painting. The death of Mary's first husband paved the way for their eventual marriage in December 1900 and led them to Villa I Tatti which they first rented and eventually bought. There they created a way of life surrounded by a collection of paintings and books and filled with guests who took either chauffeured cars up to the door or the tram from downtown Florence to Ponte della Mensola where a walk up the hill through the garden awaited them.    


Carl Brandon Strehlke, curator emeritus of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, co-wrote the catalogue of the paintings collection of Villa I Tatti with Machtelt Brüggen Israëls (2015). He recently curated an exhibition on Fra Angelico at the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, and is preparing an exhibition for the Royal Academy, London. 


 If you are in Florence and would like to attend the lecture in person at the British Institute Library, please register here or send an email to

Please note, only people with confirmed registrations can attend the lecture in person. The registration fee is 10 Euro per person.

Please note that, following national regulations, all attendees will be required to show a Super Green Pass (or equivalent International certification) for entry and will have to wear a FFP2 mask throughout the event.  No food or drink will be served at events.


To join this  lecture with Zoom (no reservation necessary), simply click on this link: at 18:00 on Wednesday 16th February. 

A recording of the virtual lecture will be published on our YouTube channel. Clicking on the link above, you authorise the British Institute of Florence to use your image, name and comments.
There is no charge to attend the event on Zoom, but we ask you to consider making a donation to support the Institute and its beautiful library if you wish to attend an event.