Rome, Florence and Venice: Three Crucibles of the Renaissance


This course will explore the art and architecture of the Italian Renaissance: as it found expression in three crucial regional centres. We will look first at the architecture, sculpture and painting of Quattrocento Florence. Here the works of Alberti, Brunelleschi, Donatello and Botticelli will come to the fore. The focus will then shift to Rome: we will explore the works in art and architecture of Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo. Finally we will acknowledge the unique contribution of Venice to the Renaissance. Here the works of the Bellini’s, Palladio and Titian will occupy centre-stage. In each instance the central question posed will be that of how far the products of each of these great artistic and cultural centres can be regarded as distinct from those of the other ‘crucibles’ of the Italian Renaissance.

Programme details

Session 1

Course Introduction: ‘Three Crucibles’

Session 2

Quattrocento Florence (i): Alberti & Brunelleschi

Session 3

Quattrocento Florence (ii): Donatello & Botticelli

Session 4

Renaissance Rome (i): Leonardo & Raphael

Session 5

Renaissance Rome (ii): Michelangelo

Session 6

Venice (i): Bellini & Palladio

Session 7

Venice (ii): Titian

Session 8

‘Three Crucibles’ Comparisons & Contrasts (i)

Session 9

Site Visit to the National Gallery in London

Session 10

Site Visit to the National Gallery in London

Session 11

Three Crucibles’ Comparisons & Contrasts (ii)

Session 12

Course Conclusion: Sensuality & Rationality


* Please note that students will be required to pay for their own train fare to London when attending the class trip to the National Gallery.


Description Costs
Programme Fee (No Accommodation - inc. Tuition, Lunch & Dinner) £850.00
Programme Fee (Standard Single Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1485.00
Programme Fee (Standard Twin Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1245.00
Programme Fee (Superior Single Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1600.00
Programme Fee (Superior Twin Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1345.00


Dr David Morgan Morgan


David Morgan has taught Art & Architectural History for OUDCE since 2004. He has also taught courses for Birkbeck College, University of London, and for the WEA. His recent publications have centred upon the history of British visual satire.

Course aims

This course aims to introduce students to the distinct aesthetic character of Italian Renaissance art and architecture, as practiced in Rome, Florence and Venice, respectively.

Teaching methods

All summer school courses are taught through group seminars and individual tutorials. Students also conduct private study when not in class and there is a well stocked library at OUDCE to support individual research needs.

Learning outcomes

After taking this course students will:

  • Be able to identify the chief artists and artworks covered during the course
  • Be able to critically analyse given artworks in a systematic and scholarly manner
  • Be able to distinguish, in broad terms, between the respective aesthetic characteristics of Renaissance art and architecture as practiced in Rome, Florence and Venice, respectively

Assessment methods

Students are assessed during the summer school by either a 1500 word written assignment or a presentation supported by individual documentation. To successfully gain credit (10 CATS points) students should attend all classes and complete the on-course assignment. There is also a pre-course assignment of 1000 words set. Although this does not count towards credit, it is seen as an important way of developing a student's ideas and therefore its completion is mandatory.