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Great Italian Dynastic Art Collectors: Their Palaces, Villas And Chapels

1 June 2023 - 29 June 2023

10.45 – 12.45 Thursdays

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Raphael and Workshop, Portrait of Pope Julius II, 1511-12

This series has been postponed until further notice. Please contact [email protected] or telephone 0770 288 7383 for more information.


This series of illustrated lectures surveys the collecting cultures of Renaissance and Post-Renaissance Italy by focusing on the artistic production and consumption of five powerful Italian dynasties and their artists.  Some of the original more portable works have been dispersed to the art market over the centuries and we will study the subsequent provenance of some of this work.  Fortunately, the more permanent and site-specific interior decoration has often survived allowing us a glimpse of the former magnificence of the collections and their architectural frames.

“Quite the most fascinating and well delivered lectures I’ve ever been to!”

Course Outline

01 June 2023 – The Pope In The Vatican And Avignon

We tell the story of the greatest synchronic Italian art collector of all, the Pope.  We will look at both the historical development of the Papal collection from the Renaissance love of classical antiquities through the production of contemporary art during the Renaissance, Baroque, Mannerist and Neo-Classical periods.  We will also look at the Papal Palace (Palais des Papes) when it temporarily removed to Avignon in the C14th.


08 June 2023 – The Barberini In Rome

We focus on the Barberini family and their Palazzo Barberini in Rome. Today it is the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica the equivalent to the National Gallery London.  The first part will look at the C17th Baroque building of the architects Maderno, Borromini and Bernini, its interior decoration and (now mostly dispersed) art collection. The second part will look at today’s historical collection of paintings.


15 June 2023 – The Farnese In Rome And Naples

We turn our attention to the collecting culture of the Farnese family, their palace in Rome, their country villa at Caprarola and the subsequent removal of their renowned collection of antiquities from Parma to Naples.


22 June 2023 – The D’este In Ferrara And Tivoli

The D’Este family’s main Renaissance centre was Ferrara and this session will look at their art collections at various locations in Ferrara and subsequently in Modena. The iconography of the interior and garden fountain decorations of the Villa d’Este at Tivoli will also be studied.


29 June 2023 – The Gonzagas In Mantua

The last session is dedicated to the Gonzaga family’s Ducal Palace at Mantua with its famous Mantegna frescoes, the exquisite studiolo of Isabella D’Este and the palace’s (now dispersed) art collections. The series ends with the exhilarating fresco cycles of the Gonzaga’s suburban villa the Palazzo del Te executed by the great Mannerist architect, painter and pupil of Raphael, Giulio Romano.


This series has been postponed until further notice. Please contact [email protected] or telephone 0770 288 7383 for more information.


1 June 2023
29 June 2023
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Dr. David Bellingham