Say Florence and your second thought is undoubtedly art. Year after year, century after century, the art enamored have moved to the Tuscan capital, delving into boundless artistic heritage and getting to grips with world-renowned masters. It’s never been easier to access expertise with the outpouring of online talks that have sustained us through these months of gazing forlornly at the shuttered fronts of museums and galleries. As we begin to peer hopefully back into illustrious halls, ensure that you’re as knowledgeable as possible to make the most of your upcoming gallery explorations.
Access art from wherever you are
Renaissance art historian Paola Vojnovic’s Studiolo offers intimate and insightful interviews with arts and cultural figures that leave a lasting impression. Inspired by the Renaissance concept of a studiolo (study), guests are welcomed virtually into the cozy space for all those fascinated by the Renaissance. Talks look at Florence, Venice (a masterclass on Venice is planned for June) and other Italian cultural centers. Upcoming sessions see William E. Wallace, author of Michelangelo, God’s Architect; Gary Radke, who will speak about Rome’s “Two Michelangelo’s”; Ross King, author of the recently released The Bookseller of Florence; Gert Jan van der Sman will speak about his book Lorenzo and Giovanna; and David Wilkins will share his thoughts on Rewriting the Renaissance Art History.
With Michelangelo mastered, it’s time to turn to Donatello with Rocky Ruggiero’s ‘Discovering Donatello: His Life, Works and Legacy’. The biweekly online course takes place from April 26 to June 2, with two time slots to choose from, plus the option to catch missed courses upon signing up. June is set to see a focus on Artemisia Gentileschi with Dr. Meghan Callahan, while for younger learners, the online art history summer camp ‘Art Rocky’s Way Jr.’ in July offers either week-long art access, or even a whole month to make use of the school-free summer.
Art historian Elaine Ruffolo continues her ever-popular online courses with ‘The Princely Courts of Renaissance Italy’ beginning on May 12. With a look at the role of ruling families, their stories, secrets and projects, the focus is on how art was the product of political regimes during periods of warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed—it’s sure to be an engrossing course rife with dramatic tales.
The British Institute of Florence and their ‘Super Tuscans: Renaissance Tuscany’ programme is an all-encompassing deep dive into the period from 1100 to 2000 BCE. The three-times monthly online course takes place from May 10 to June 4, with classes held from 10am to 6pm. It introduces viewers to the major artistic figures in the famous centers of Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra, Arezzo, Cortona, Pisa, Livorno, Lucca, Pistoia and Prato, featuring leading names such as Botticelli, Plautilla Nelli, Vasari, Caravaggio and Cellini in the wide-ranging classes.
FLOE – Florence Local Experts take the art-curious through leading artistic figures, which are made easily understood when enthusiastically described. Held on May 8 and 15, the online classes titled ‘Art Under Attack’ strike the heart of the great rescue of art during World War II. Topics include works of art stolen in Italy (particularly Florence) during the World War II and the subsequent frenzy to find them. Tantalizingly, the “007 of Art”, Rodolfo Siviero and his intrepid rescue work will also be covered. Dante is the focus of the courses held on May 22 and 29 and June 2 and 12, as talks pinpoint the Divine Comedy’s enormous impact in the art world, from the 14th century to the present day, even taking in a virtual tour of the places that inspired and influenced his masterpiece.
Take part in person
For those seeking to improve their own skills, Angel Academy of Art located at via Nardo di Cione 10 offers the opportunity to learn drawing and painting using the techniques of the Great Masters. Whether it’s the first time you’ll pick up a brush or you’re an experienced scholar looking to further your career, the skills to succeed are readily available. Choose from the summer workshop, intensive course or full-diploma programme depending on your desires and perfect pictorial composition to bring life to your artistic visions under the guidance of experts.
With school holidays looming and parents in search of ways to keep kids content over the summer break, Accademia d’Arte Bianca Cappello has put together Art4Kids!, an in-person summer camp for children aged 6-13. Held from mid-June, 9am to 1pm, Monday to Friday, pupils draw, paint and immerse themselves in parks and piazzas to delve into the history of art in the Renaissance city. Ongoing art courses for all ages are also available, with children’s courses held on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays: free expression and creativity encouraged.
Fondazione Studio Marangoni presents a basic photography courses that enables you to capture your summer shots with style. The course grapples with the technical elements of camera use from the foundations up to post-production, with participants emerging confident in their snapping. Other classes are specifically created for teenagers, instructing them in practical exercises along with the study of leading photographers.
The Florence Academy of Art has ongoing classes and workshops that welcome everyone from beginners to advanced. Housed in the stunning 19th-century former customs house just outside the city center, the inspiring surroundings and soaring ceilings provide a remarkable setting for artistic endeavours. The Art Summer Workshops from June 28 to July 23 vary from art business and visual arts to ecorché sculpture, with an abundance of resources onsite.
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This article was published in Issue 278 of The Florentine.