WEEK TWO: 21-25 July 2014

Course 9: Caroline Brooke

Art, Money and Power: Medici Patronage in Florence c. 1420-1570


The name ‘Medici’ is synonymous with artistic innovation and achievement during the Renaissance in Florence. This course examines the art patronage of more than five generations of the dynasty, from the emergence of the family as a political force early in the Renaissance, to the establishment of the grand duke dynasty that reigned for almost two centuries. It focuses on the commissions of Cosimo the Elder, Piero the Gouty, Lorenzo the Magnificent, and Cosimo I Grand Duke of Tuscany, in order to consider how the political, religious and social aspirations of individual members of the Medici family shaped the cultural and artistic life of the city. The works of major Florentine artists such as Donatello, Fra Filippo Lippi, Michelangelo and Bronzino are examined in relation to the tastes and aspirations of their patrons, as manifestations of civic pride, devotion, and personal ambition. Issues such as familial pietas, the varying fortunes of the Medici bank and the political climate of the period are also considered in relation to the development of Medicean patterns of patronage. Visits include the British Museum, the National Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Please note that Dr Scott Nethersole’s Study Tour to Florence from 4 – 6 September will pursue some of the themes of power and patronage discussed during the week.  Both course and tour are, however, entirely freestanding events and attendance at one does not require attendance at the other.

Course 10: Dr Miriam Di Penta

‘The Marvel of the World’: Art and Politics in Baroque Rome


Around 1595 two young, ambitious artists moved to Rome from their native cities of Bologna and Milan: Annibale Carracci and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Thanks to the patronage of cardinals, popes and secular aristocrats, these painters and their pupils would lay the foundations of a new pictorial language. Their individual and opposing classical and naturalist styles, blended with the vital Colorismo of Rubens’ altarpieces of 1608 for the Chiesa Nuova, provided the Catholic Church with a highly effective new instrument of Counter-Reformation propaganda: the glorious art of the Roman Baroque. The course will look at its development from the papacy of Paul V to the triumphs of the Barberini and Chigi pontificates and beyond, with an in-depth analysis of the works of Caravaggio and his circle, the Carraccis, Bernini, Borromini, and Poussin, among others. We will also consider the politics of vision, and the shifting relationship between art, power and tradition. We will discuss the development of art collecting, art criticism and the art market and how the revolutions in philosophy, science and poetry influenced art and society at large. Visits include the National Gallery, Apsley House, the Wallace collection, Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Baroque galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum.


Please note that Dr Di Penta will also lead a Study Tour to Rome from 9 – 12 October 2014, exploring the Baroque in situ.  As always, participation in the tour does not require prior attendance of the Summer School course.

WEEK THREE: 28 July - 1 August 2014

Course 18: Dr Susan Jones

Art and Society in Renaissance Bruges



This course will consider how objects in a range of media were used, viewed and understood in fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Bruges.  Over five days, we will study works of art that illuminate five different but overlapping spheres in the life of this important Netherlandish trade emporium and cultural centre: the town government, the Burgundian court, international trade, the church and privately-funded projects. For each of these areas, we will select objects and related documents which can help us to understand rituals, ideas, values and beliefs that characterized contemporary Bruges society. These will include some of the most splendid and exquisitely-crafted objects of a period in which the love of materials was matched by a growing awareness of  the unique artistic skill of individual  craftsmen: illuminated manuscripts by the Ghent-Bruges school,  the fifteenth-century stained glass windows from the Chapel of the Holy Blood, exquisite enamel silverware from the Burgundian court, and, of course, the sophisticated and technically brilliant panel paintings of Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christus, Hans Memling and Gerard David.  We will visit the rich collections of objects made in Bruges and Flanders in London collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Gallery and the British Library.

Please note that Dr Jones will also explore the great artistic tradition of Bruges during a Study Tour from 12 – 14 September 2014.  Both Summer School course and Tour are entirely free-standing and one does not require participation in the other.