Claude Monet house from the garden
Did the houses, gardens, and locations where Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, and other leading artists lived directly influence their work? Is there a link between their personal environment and their genius? Janetta Rebold Benton, distinguished professor of art history at Pace University, New York, surveys the private residences—and private lives—of painters, sculptors, and architects from Fra Angelico to Philip Johnson to explore this artistic connection.
10–11 a.m. Italy
Fra Angelico, a pious Dominican monk, frescoed the walls and individual cells at San Marco monastery in Florence where he lived, and used its architecture as the setting for his Annunciation. Andrea Mantegna's mathematical interests are reflected in the house he designed for himself in Mantua, based on a circle within a square. Raphael's multi-story childhood home in Urbino is an impressive 15th-century city dwelling. Leonardo da Vinci’s life began in rural, rustic Vinci, but concluded in his own château, the Clos Lucé in Amboise, as the guest of King Francis I of France. The great biographer Giorgio Vasari painted his houses in Arezzo and Florence with an eye to elevating his social status.
11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Northern Europe
Albrecht Dürer, whose scientific interests equaled those of Leonardo da Vinci, lived in a large half-timber house in Nuremberg. Peter Paul Rubens made a fortune and displayed it in his home and studio in Antwerp, as well as his country château, Het Steen. Rembrandt, a brilliant painter who lacked Rubens's financial skills, was forced to declare bankruptcy and lost his fine brick townhouse in Amsterdam.
10–11 a.m. France
In Giverny, Claude Monet lived in a house painted in vivid colors, and the garden he designed for it includes the now-iconic lily pond that appears in his paintings. After achieving financial success, Pierre-Auguste Renoir built a house with an extensive garden at Les Collettes in the idyllic southern-French town of Cagnes-sur-Mer. Auguste Rodin lived in his little Villa des Brillants in Meudon, outside Paris, where he had his sculpture studio, and also had a Paris residence. Vincent van Gogh had 38 addresses in 37 years including Mons, Paris, Arles, St-Rémy, and Auvers, where his troubled life ended tragically.
11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. North America
Frida Kahlo, who was born and died at the Blue House in Mexico City, chronicled her difficult life in intimately personal paintings. Georgia O'Keeffe found the solitude and open space she craved at Ghost Ranch and Abiquiú in New Mexico. Frank Lloyd Wright created his own distinctive homes at Taliesin East and West in Wisconsin and Arizona. Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut is a touchstone of midcentury modern architecture and design.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1 credit*
- If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
- Unless otherwise noted, registration for online programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
- Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org.
- Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
- View Common FAQs about our online programs presented on Zoom.
*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.