The Pietà by Michelangelo
The return of the papacy in the 15th century transformed Rome from a dilapidated town littered with ruins to a city at the center of the Renaissance movement in Europe. The pope and cardinals spent lavishly as Bramante, Michelangelo, and Raphael were given one commission after another to complete and beautify the city of God. Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in early-Renaissance art, examines this pivotal time in art history as it swept across Rome.
Ruggiero, who divides his time between Italy and the United States, has lectured on Italian art and architecture for American university programs in Italy for the past 20 years, including those of Syracuse, Kent State, Vanderbilt, and Boston College.
10–11 a.m. Renaissance Ambassadors to Rome
Decades before Michelangelo climbed up on the nearly 70 feet of scaffolding to adorn the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, a veritable all-star team of late-15th-century Florentine artists had already decorated its walls. Artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Perugino, and Signorelli were sent to Rome by Lorenzo “il Magnifico” de’ Medici to pay homage to the original patron and namesake of the chapel, Pope Sixtus IV. Ruggiero examines the early-Renaissance artists who introduced the movement to Rome at the end of the 15th century.
11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Michelangelo and the High Renaissance in Rome
The arrival of Michelangelo in Rome in 1496 marked the beginning of the period known as the High Renaissance. Beginning with his Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica and then later the Sistine Chapel ceiling and Moses, Michelangelo elevated both painting and sculpture to an unprecedented level of beauty, expression, and power. He also transformed Rome into the leading art capital of Europe.
12:15–1:15 p.m. Break
1:15–2:30 p.m. Raphael: The Prince of Painters
In 1507, a 24-year-old Raphael Sanzio exploded onto the art scene in Rome when Pope Julius II awarded him the contract to fresco the walls of his personal apartments. The results were some of the most beautiful paintings of the Renaissance—including his famous School of Athens, in which he depicted some of the greatest philosophical and scientific minds of the ancient world.
2:45–4 p.m. Building St. Peter’s
After 100 years of construction and the reign of 18 different popes, and the direction of 12 different architects, St. Peter’s Basilica was finally completed in 1626. Measuring more than two football fields in length, it was by far the largest church in Christendom, and a fitting monument to the burial place of the first pope. Ruggiero explores the dramatic construction history of this great church, which began with its commissioning in 1505 to Donato Bramante by Pope Julius II and its eventual completion under the direction of Michelangelo and Bernini.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1 credit*
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