Contemporary Art Quilting

This is a lecture that addresses the history of art quilts with images and explanations that take quilts off beds and onto walls and as sculptural artworks.

Fashionable Beauty in Botticelli’s Paintings

This session provides a close look at Sandro Botticelli’s techniques for rendering enchanting fashions in his paintings and drawings. By folding and pleating fabric with light and shadow, simulating colorful dyes with rich pigments, and weaving complicated patterns into his garments, Botticelli captured the alluring beauty of the textile industry in fifteenth-century Florence. This talk examines examples of garments … Read more

Illuminated Manuscripts

This talk examines the construction, writing, and illustration of illuminated manuscripts, particularly choral books, from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It provides examples for understanding page design and technical expertise. It also looks at the chronological development of illustration during this period.

Raphael’s Madonnas

Throughout his career, Raphael Sanzio created numerous sweet and beautiful Madonna and Child devotional paintings. This talk examines the development of devotional paintings in the Renaissance and their location within the domestic interior. It examines Raphael’s Madonna paintings in relation to devotional and artistic practices in Florence and Rome in the early sixteenth century.

Venus’s Verdant Virtues

Venus is a goddess of nature, who thrives in verdant places. Artists commissioned to illustrate her landscapes were challenged, not only in rendering specific atmospheric qualities but also in portraying a green geography that would remain evergreen. Green pigments, in fact, posed many challenges to fifteenth-century Florentine artists. If not bound properly or if exposed … Read more

Painting Skin: Complexions, Cosmetics, and Reproduction in Renaissance Florence

This talk explores Florentine portrayals of the female nude, including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, in relation to fourteenth- and fifteenth-century discourses concerned with skin, fertility, and the feminine toilette. It argues that these paintings 1) offered instruction to women in the arts of beauty and 2) provided a physical image that could aid in the … Read more

Michelangelo and his Marbles

This talk explores Michelangelo’s use of marble throughout his career. It looks at obtaining marble from the mines in Carrara and the marble itself as an artistic material. The talk provides an overview of how Michelangelo sculpted bodies in marble, drawing attention to his manipulation of anatomical form in sculptures, such as the Bacchus, Pietà, … Read more

Colors in Renaissance Florence

This talk examines the colors of Renaissance paintings, diving deeply into the natural origins of pigments. These colored substances, which could derive from minerals, semi-precious gemstones, plants, and insects, were bound with egg yolk, gum resin, oil, and lime water to create paint mediums for different surfaces in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This talk … Read more