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Sep 30 - Sep 30 2023

The Great Cathedrals and Basilicas of Italy

Host: Smithsonian Associates
Date: September 30th
The churches of Italy are renowned for their artistic treasures, from Giotto’s 14th-century frescoes in Florence, Padua, and Assisi to Giacomo Manzu’s great 20th-century bronze doors for St. Peter’s in Rome. Some churches are known for a specific space or work that makes a pilgrimage a necessity, such as Masaccio’s Brancacci Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence. Others, such as the Florentine Santa Maria Novella or the Frari in Venice, showcase virtually the entire history of the art and culture of their respective cities. In a splendidly illustrated seminar, art historian Sophia D’Addio of Columbia University explores churches of Venice, Siena, Florence, and Rome that represent some of Italy’s greatest repositories of sacred art. 10–11:15 a.m. The Basilica of Saint Mark and the Treasures of Venice From the ducal chapel to the great Gothic basilicas to smaller but equally remarkable structures, the churches of Venice are known for both their majestic architecture and the works of art within. Giovanni Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese are only a few of the brightest stars in this galaxy of extraordinary artists. 11:30 a.m.–12:45 p.m.  The Gothic Dream: The Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta in Siena Contained within this magnificent cathedral are significant masterpieces by Duccio, Donatello, Ghiberti, Bernini, and Michelangelo. The lesser-known Piccolomini Library, decorated with frescoes by Pinturicchio, would be worth a Sienese pilgrimage alone. 12:45–1:15 p.m. Break 1:15–2:30 p.m. The Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Riches of Florence Brunelleschi’s majestic dome rises above the cathedral for which some of Western art’s greatest masterpieces were created, including works by Donatello, Verrocchio, and Michelangelo. The gothic basilicas of Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella are also treasure troves of works by such Renaissance masters as Giotto, Ghiberti, Masaccio, and Fra Angelico. 2:45–4 p.m. St. Peter’s and Rome, the Eternal City Saint Peter’s is only one of Rome’s churches built and enriched by papal munificence, as well as the commissions of other prestigious patrons. Special emphasis is given to the works of Raphael, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and Bernini.
  • Sep 30 - Sep 30 2023




The Great Cathedrals and Basilicas of Italy