Skip to content

ACE2472 Renaissance Florence and Rome; Art, Patronage, Culture (Central Library Grand Parade)

Started 31 Jan 2024

Sorry! The enrolment period is currently closed. Please check back soon.

Full course description

Course Overview:

This course will examine the art and society of Florence, its surrounding area and Rome from the Early Renaissance to the High Renaissance. A particularly exciting moment in the history of Europe, the Renaissance saw the birth of modern banking, the revival of ancient texts and vigorous developments in the visual arts. In the course of eight weeks, we will discuss the social, political and philosophical underpinnings of this period, focusing on how these were given visual expression in the art of such cities as Florence, Bologna, Siena and Rome. Art patronage will emerge as a prominent theme throughout this course and we will discuss the self-fashioning practices of bankers, statesmen, de facto rulers and popes, who exploited the arts to secure status for themselves and their families. During this course, we will encounter the work of such artists as Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, Giotto, Donatello, Masaccio, Jacopo della Quercia, Michelangelo, Raphael and others.


This course will provide an interesting and enjoyable look at one of the key episodes in our Western culture. Participants will gain a deep understanding of the intricacies of a work of art by examining some of the most ground-breaking and beautiful works ever completed. This course will also broaden participants’ ability to reflect critically on visual culture and historical ideas.


Course Practicalities:


Classes will be delivered on Wednesdays, 10.30am-12.30pm for eight weeks, 31st of January to 20th March 2024.


Venue: Central Library, Grand Parade, Cork City 


Closing date for applications: Monday 22nd of January 2024



Course Content:

Week 1: Late-Medieval beginnings: art, society and humanism in and out of Florence from 1250-1350.

Week 2: The Early Renaissance: patterns of patronage in Florentine art.

Week 3: Lorenzo de’ Medici and his artists: the invention of a humanist “court” in Florence.

Week 4: The Renaissance beyond Florence in the Quattrocento: Bologna, Lucca, Siena.

Week 5: Early Renaissance Rome and the return of the Pope from Avignon.

Week 6: The emergence of the High Renaissance in Rome: artists & patrons.

Week 7: Sacred and secular: the restoration of the church and the revival of the ancient villa in Renaissance Rome.

Week 8: The Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica: restoring Rome as the true centre of Christendom.


Course Lecturer:

Dr Matthew Whyte is an Art Historian specialising in the art and culture of Italy from the late medieval period to the Renaissance. He earned his PhD in History of Art from University College Cork. His current research focuses on questions of religious reform in fifteenth-century Italy, with an emphasis on visual culture and artistic anachronisms. He lectures across the undergraduate degree programme in the Department of History of Art, UCC, and is Coordinator of the Diploma in European Art History with Adult Continuing Education (ACE) at UCC. He frequently leads tours around cultural sites across Italy, and he serves as Historian and Lecturer with Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic.


Entry Requirements:

Applicants must be at least 18 years old at course commencement.

Contact Details for Further Information


Please note our refund policy as follows
100% refund  if student cancels before course commencement
100% refund if student's course is cancelled due to insufficient numbers. 
If the student cancels after the first week of the course - full refund minus €50 processing fee