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SC2006 Renaissance Florence and Rome: Art, Patronage, Culture (morning)

Ended 15 Mar 2021

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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 Schedule 


Classes will be delivered online on Mondays 10.30am-12.30pm for eight weeks from 25 January to 15 March.


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

Matthew Whyte is a PhD candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant with the Department of History of Art, specialising in the art and culture of the Italian Renaissance. He holds a Master’s degree in High Renaissance art, with a specialisation in the work of Michelangelo. With History of Art and the Centre for Adult Continuing Education he has delivered courses up to final year undergraduate level, participating in and leading academic field trips to Florence and Rome. He is also Coordinator of the Diploma in European Art History with ACE, and Art Historian/Lecturer for Zegrahm Expeditions.

Entry Requirements

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


Short courses are not assessed. Students will receive a UCC Certificate of Attendance upon completion.

Closing Date for Application

Monday 18 January

Contact Details for Further Information

Regina Sexton, Phone: 021-4904700, Email: