The Uffizi Gallery is, perhaps, the greatest repository of Renaissance and Mannerist artworks in the world. First created by Cosimo de' Medici I as office space for Florentine magistrates, this immense space soon began housing the resplendent art collection of the Medici family and was officially open for public viewing in the late 18th century. During the course of our three-hour walk, we will encounter some of the most important works of Renaissance art in the world, including masterpieces by Botticelli, Michelangelo, Giotto, and Da Vinci. Along the way, we will explore concepts of beauty, technical mastery, and the deep relationship between art and politics in Renaissance society.
As time is of the essence, our experience begins inside the Uffizi itself where, armed with pre-arranged tickets. Our docent will narrate the history and evolution of Florentine art starting from the revolutionary new techniques introduced by Cimabue and Giotto, through the apex of harmony and naturalism, as symbolized by Botticelli and Lippi and ending with the exaggerated Mannerism of Parmigianino and Bronzino.
As a group, we will spend considerable time contextualizing these works within a discussion of the history of the city and movements within the entire history of art, generally. We will also look at the wider implications of these works in the social and political developments of the time. The goal of this walk is not to race through the corridors in an attempt to see "everything" but, instead, to observe select works in depth, in order to gain a full appreciation of their artistic and historical significance.
|Duration: 3 hours|
|Venues: Uffizi Gallery|
Anne Bahrenberg Barbetti
Originally from the United States, Anne came to Florence many years ago to study art history at the University of Florence. She became enmeshed in a long-term project researching Renaissance and Baroque embroidered fabrics, during which she has personally uncovered many hitherto unknown collections of antique fabrics. She is currently working on a catalog and book based on this work.
Kristin is originally from Wellesley, MA and received her PhD from Yale University in Italian language and literature in 2009. Her first taste of Italy came during a semester in Florence with the Georgetown University program at Villa Le Balze where she developed her love of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. After teaching Italian at Yale University, Kristin returned to Florence where she is currently teaching for several American university programs, including New York University and Kent State University. In addition to leading walks for Context Florence, she regularly takes groups of students to Siena to participate in the Palio from the "inside" with the "Contrada dell'Onda," into which she was 'baptized' in June 2006.
Lucia is a University of Florence PhD art historian who completed her dissertation on eastern art. She has worked and researched in the many state museums of Florence, with a particular focus on art therapy. She has also taught for Pepperdine University and the International Art University. Currently, she teaches Venetian art at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Florence. Lucia is a charming and extremely knowledgeable docent, and is a lover of ideas.
Jane is working on her dissertation for a PhD in architectural history from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. She currently teaches art history and architectural history as an adjunct faculty member at Syracuse University and New York University. She has lived in Florence for ten years, and has a young daughter named Olivia.
Cornelia has a PhD in art history from Columbia University and wrote her dissertation on Renaissance city planning. She is especially knowledgeable about Medici patronage. In addition to her research and teaching, Cornelia, a mother of a disabled child, runs an association dedicated to barrier-free travel in Florence and is author of "The Accessible Guide to Florence."
Alessandra is a native Florentine. She received her MA from the University of East Anglia in the UK, and has been lecturing and guiding in Florence for nearly ten years. She lived many years in the United States before returning to Florence and her little house in Settignano that was once owned by Michelangelo.
Monica completed her PhD in 2009 in the the history of art and architecture from the University of Virginia, specializing in the Italian Renaissance period. As a writer, she is interested in the literary culture of Florence as well as the city's art and architecture. Before coming to Florence, Monica lived in Rome, Venice, New York City, and Charlottesville, Virginia.
Elizabeth recently received her MA in Florentine Renaissance art from Syracuse University in Florence. Her interests include women's history and women artists, particularly by women in convents. In addition to leading walks, she also lectures at various universities and institutions in Florence.
Valerie received her BA with highest honors in art history and museology at the University of Florence, focusing on the Renaissance art market. Although German, Valerie was born and raised in Rome, making her eager to build bridges across different cultures. She also works for the educational department of the state museums in Florence, where her mission is to communicate art and culture as a means of understanding the visual signs that surround us.
Sheila (BA, Amherst College 1993; MA, MPhil, and PhD, Columbia University 2002) is Director of the Jane Fortune Research Program on Women Artists at the Medici Archive Project. At the archives she undertakes research on women artists, mentors younger scholars, and organizes publications, lectures, and conferences, often in collaboration with the Advancing Women Artists Foundation (AWA). She has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Medici Archive Project. Additionally, she has taught art history at several colleges and has managed the old masters gallery of Robert Simon Fine Art in New York. Her publications cover topics in Renaissance and Baroque art, Pope Urban VIII and politics, and medicine and pharmacy in the seventeenth century. Currently she is editing a book of essays on women artists in Early-Modern Italy and finishing an essay on Michelangelo's "Battle of Cascina."
Elizabeth is originally from Massachusetts where she earned a BA and MA in Art History. Living in Florence since 2007, she collaborates as a free lance educator at Foundation Palazzo Strozzi, and is currently completing her PhD in Art History at the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa.
Waldemar de Boer
Waldemar completed his PhD on a seventeenth-century art guide of Vicenza at the Dutch University Institute for Art History in Florence in 2005. He recently published a critical edition of Francesco Albertini's "Memorial of Many Statues and Paintings in the Illustrious City of Florence" (1510), which is considered to be the first guidebook to this city. Furthermore, he is conducting postdoctoral research on nineteenth- and early twentieth-century art auctions in Italy and works as a private art history teacher. Waldemar is also a certified cheese taster and organizes gastronomic holidays in Tuscany.
Lucia Picchi grew up in Rome where she graduated in 2001 with a thesis on Roman fresco decoration, after which she took part in an internship at the Louvre. In Florence since 2003, she expanded her passion for drawings thanks to a student's grant at the Longhi Foundation of Art History. In this city, she has also continued building on her knowledge of minor arts with a Masters program at the University of Florence, and an additional license in wood restoration. In the last few years, Lucia has been strongly interested in the movement of artworks for temporary exhibitions.
Patricia holds an MA in Italian Renaissance history from Cornell University, and another in Italian Renaissance art history from Syracuse University. Both of her theses were on Florentine topics. She also writes about Florence, Tuscany, and Emilia-Romagna for a popular guide book, has led wine tours in Chianti, and has cooked in several Florentine trattorie. She lives in the Tuscan countryside with her husband and six dogs.
Born and raised under the shade of Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome in Florence, Siro belongs to an important Tuscan family of art nouveau artists. After a diploma in ceramic decoration obtained in 2000, he has worked in a typical Florentine workshop. He received his BA at the Università di Firenze and in 2008 published his research about the Richard-Ginori porcelain production that was commissioned by the vice-king of Egypt upon the celebrations of the opening of the Suez Canal. In order to share his passion and love for art, culture, and the Florentine lifestyle, Siro is professionally trained as a tour guide for his hometown.
Molly holds an MA in Italian literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she completed her PhD coursework and exams with a specialization in Renaissance and Early Modern periods. She spent a year in Venice as an undergraduate while at the University of California-Santa Cruz and afterwards worked in Siena for two years for the University of California Education Abroad Program. She later went to graduate school and, after finishing her studies in Madison, found herself back in Venice once again for another year, this time conducting archival research for her doctoral dissertation. She has remained in Italy ever since, has taught courses in Renaissance history in Florence, and is a licensed tour guide of Florence and its province.
Born and raised in Florence, Alessandra has a degree in art history from the University of Florence with a specialization in seventeenth-century painting. She obtained an MRes from the European University Institute in Florence, where she defended her PhD in history, focusing on the patronage of Tuscan nobility in Europe during the seventeenth century. In addition, she holds a diploma in archival administration, palaeography, and diplomatics from the State Archive in Florence. She has been teaching art history and Italian for several years in various schools and institutions in Florence.
Amal El Khoury
Amal first came to Florence in 1982 on a scholarship for a one-year ‘Restoration of Architectural Monuments’ course. She has been living in Florence ever since. She was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, where she began her university studies in Architecture. She obtained her MA in architecture from Virginia Tech in 1980. Her experience varies from work in architectural studios to technical illustration to film subtitle translation. She is a professional licensed tour guide for Florence and enjoys sharing her passions for history, art, and architecture with all visitors to Florence. Amal is fluent in Arabic, English, and Italian, and is also good in French and Spanish. She has several years of international experience as a leader in children’s camps, youth interchange programs with CISV (Children’s International Summer Villages), and Lions International Youth Camps in Italy.
Originally from Parma, Laura has been living and working as an art historian in Florence since 2007. She has an MA in medieval art history and a PhD in medieval history. She works on the history of medieval and early-modern images and saints’ iconography and hagiography, and collaborates with the University of Bologna and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence. Since 2009 she has been teaching medieval and modern art history in Parma, Pisa, and Florence for American colleges and universities.
After studying Italian literature at the graduate level, Alexandra made her permanent home in Florence where she teaches journalism, contemporary Italian culture, and travel writing courses at several local universities. A member of the council of advisors for the Advancing Women Artists Foundation, she is particularly interested in female artists and patronage in Florence and Tuscany. In addition, she has written on several of the city’s most important restorations and has enjoyed getting to know many of the experts in the restoration field. She is a licensed professional guide for Florence and its province and is the editor-at-large of the English language newspaper, The Florentine.
Born in the UK Helen moved to the USA to attend college. First the Rhode Island School of Design for her BFA in Painting and then Indiana University for graduate school. Helen remained in the USA for another twenty years teaching painting and drawing at the college level, initially at Kansas City Art Institute and the last seven years teaching drawing at Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia. During this time Helen exhibited her paintings in galleries across America including New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C and Chicago. Helen is continues to paint and exhibit and is currently represented by Gallerie Sparta, Beverly Hills.
In Florence Helen is part of a cultural group "I Buontalenti" and her paintings can be seen as part of an annual cultural celebration of the patron Saint of Florence, Saint John the Baptist and at other venues.
Helen has had a long term relationship with Florence and Italy; her first visit was as a study abroad student in Rome in 1987. Return visits ensued for teaching, fun and study, including a summer at The American Academy in Rome as a visiting artist/scholar and intensive summer workshops at The Florence Academy of Art. Helen is a licensed guide of Florence and the province of Florence and has made the city of Florence her home.
Maria Paola Maccallini
Maria Paola Maccallini worked in the many State museums of Florence and specialized in the Educational Department. Her ambition is to communicate art and culture so that people can understand the visual signs around them. From 1995 to 1998 she was guide at the Museo dell’Opificio delle Pietre Dure (Precious Stones Museum) in Florence and in 1998 received her tour guide license for Firenze and Fiesole. Maria Paola graduated from the University of Florence, where she was also a teaching assistant in the English Department within the School of Political Science. Her career began as a high school teacher in the Public School System where she developed her passion for education. The experience of writing her book “Il Matrimonio nell'Arte”, (Marriage in Art) and finally seeing it published, gave her even more enthusiasm for her job as a tour guide in the Florentine museums