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Virtual Lecture Series - The Italian Renaissance

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Exploring the culture and history of the Italian Renaissance as it developed in Italy’s city states from the 14th to the 16th centuries

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January 13, 2022 - Florence and the Birth of the Renaissance

Why did the Renaissance first become visible in Florence at the beginning of the fourteenth century? We will focus on the development of the Florentine republic to illustrate how new cultural models and a new vocabulary for secular life animated the ruling elite. A new ideology known as humanism and based on antiquity combined secular, mercantile and individualistic culture. We will look at the spread of humanist values and how these became the culture of the elite.

January 20, 2022 - Florence and the Medici Dominance

Florence not only cradled the Renaissance but also institutionalized its values, so the city itself became a Renaissance work of art. This lecture will follow the Medici family as political powerbrokers and as patrons of art and architecture. Social status became increasing identified with a cultivated style of life, enabled by wealth and learning. One result was the competitive search for ever-greater painters, architects and sculptors.

January 27, 2022 - Rome: The Rebirth of Ancient Glory

The rebirth of classical antiquity was an essential element of Renaissance culture. Nowhere was that heritage more visible than in Rome. We will learn how ancient structures were used and reused to create a Renaissance monument to the classical past and papal present. These became a source of inspiration for Renaissance artists and architects. After the mid-fifteenth century, the papacy used the memory of Rome to define a universal papal authority in which the pope was the successor to both St. Peter and the Emperor Constantine.

February 3, 2022 - Rome and the Papacy

The emperors of Rome gave way to popes as rulers of the eternal city. This lecture will show how ancient structures, learning and humanist principles were used by the Roman church to create a new imperial papacy with strong memories of the ancient past. The return of a single pope to Rome in 1420 was the impetus to revive Roman power and splendour. The subsequent need to confront the disasters of the Protest Reformation and the 1527 Sack drove popes to attempt to reshape Rome into a new imperial capital to rival the ancient centre of the Roman Empire.

February 10, 2022 - Renaissance Venice

As a fabulously wealthy maritime republic with strong local traditions, Venice was the mediator between East and West. Until the 14th century Venice had enjoyed a unique vocabulary and style, supported by the vast wealth of its mercantile class. Because of its early Eastern connections, the Renaissance came late to Venice, but when it did its style transformed the aloof character of the republic and brought Venice into the culture of the Italian mainland.  A Venetian Renaissance emerged, heavily dependent on classical models but idiosyncratic, as with all things Venetian.

February 17, 2022 - Mantua

The small, highly cultivated courts of the princes of Renaissance Italy developed a culture all their own, taking ideals of civic humanism and art as propaganda and applying them to their particular needs. Mantua is an ideal example. The ruling Gonzaga family lived by mercenary warfare but needed the patronage of art and culture to celebrate their dynasty and give them status. Fortunately, the wealth and cultivation of the Gonzaga marquises and dukes permitted the employment of geniuses who transformed the small Lombard city into a living work of art during the 15th and 16th centuries. Mantua enjoyed a period of fame, which cemented it to the mental geography of Italy and Europe.

February 24, 2022 - Courtly Culture: Urbino

Under Duke Federigo da Montefeltro, Urbino was one of the most civilized places in human history. We will visit the court of Urbino in the second half of the fifteenth century to experience this court culture that was built into the very bricks and mortar of the great ducal palace. And we will meet some characters formed in this environment who changed the nature of the Renaissance: Piero della Francesca, Raphael and Castiglione.

March 3, 2022 - Domestic Life in Renaissance Italy

Most people in the Italian Renaissance cities lived their lives in the contexts of their own homes and families, rather than in courts and magistracies. This illustrated lecture will bring the Renaissance home. By investigating a wide survey of images, we will look at how birth, marriage and death were portrayed and how the physical environment of the privileged home reflected the values of Renaissance humanism.

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Organizer Lifelong Learning Mississauga

Organizer of Virtual Lecture Series - The Italian Renaissance

LIfelong Learning Mississauga was formed to engage older adults from Mississauga in continuous learning.  We offer informative and affordable lecture series on a wide range of themes and topics. Talks are led by recognized leaders in their field in a relaxed, social atmosphere.

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