Art in Context 6-Part Lecture Series | Florence: A Renaissance City

Presented by Dr. Lisa Boutin Vitela, Professor of Art History, Cerritos College, Norwalk, CA
A quintessential Renaissance city, Florence provided an ideal stage for artists and intellectuals to flourish.

OCTOBER 23*, Part 4: High Renaissance Competition: Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael
By 1500, three great artists competed for the title of Florence’s greatest artist. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael experimented to create distinctive styles in historical and religious iconography and to encourage new approaches in portraiture. The artists also emulated each other and at times even blatantly appropriated revolutionary features or techniques from each others’ artwork. This competition for greatness came to a head when Michelangelo and Leonardo simultaneously designed battle scenes for the walls of the great salon in the city hall. Although this project was never completed, the surviving designs reveal the intensity of the competition between these Renaissance artists. 


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Course description:

The quintessential Renaissance city, Florence provided an ideal setting for artistic and intellectual flourishing through patrons, guilds, religious and political institutions, and the encouragement of competition. Civic activities centered around the city’s cathedral and city hall, which were built in the late medieval period with the intention of surpassing neighboring Tuscan cities. The Florentines survived the terror of the Black Death of the mid-fourteenth century, and artistic production resumed with vigor during the fifteenth century through the competitions of Donatello, Filippo Brunelleschi, and Lorenzo Ghiberti. The Medici family’s rise to power encouraged new directions of art patronage through interests in classical antiquity and the study of humanist philosophy. During the sixteenth century, intensive artistic competition continued through the painting and sculpture of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Pontormo, and Bronzino, as they vied for important Florentine commissions. The lecture series concludes with Florence’s transition from republic to grand duchy under the acquisitive patrons Cosimo I de’ Medici, Francesco I de’ Medici, and Ferdinando I de’ Medici.

About Dr. Lisa Boutin Vitela:

Dr. Lisa Boutin Vitela is an art history professor at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California. Dr. Vitela received her Ph.D. in Art History from UCLA with an emphasis in Italian Renaissance art. She has lived in Rome, Florence, and Mantua while conducting art historical research and teaching. She has published in academic journals, including Word & Image and Women's Studies, and presented at national and international conferences. Dr. Vitela has been interviewed about the Renaissance for the popular podcast "Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness" and is a researcher for the Isabella d’Este Archive (IDEA), a digital project dedicated to studying one of the most important Renaissance patrons.

Event details

October 23, 2019 11:00 am - 12:00 pm