Renaissance in Venice

Venice_Grand_Canal

 

I’m planning a philosophical conclave in Venice on December 13th – 20th. Each morning will start with Italian lessons for those who want them, from 9am – 11am, run by a local. During lunch, we will have visiting scholars in art, philosophy, and history. Afternoons are for wandering and shivering in the Venetian air. Dinners will include wine-tasting and wonderful fresh Italian food, at restaurants or at home.

VeniceApartment2We will stay in a lovely, centrally located apartment, where will also gather for our conversations. More details on the place, which has WiFi and other amenities, are here. The apartment has three large, comfy rooms, and the price for lodging will be $800 / week for a room that fits two people. You are free, of course, to stay somewhere else in Venice if you like, and join us in daily discussions.

 

We will share other expenses, including food, wine, Italian lessons (if you want them), and visiting scholars (probably 2-3 per week, focusing on Venetian history and art). The latter two I expect to be quite affordable because we are there during the off season.

 

VeniceWinterI know it’s not the standard time to visit Venice, but I figure most of us have seen Venice in summertime and this will be a chance to see another, misty side of the city, devoid of tourists and the smell of the lagoon. We will spend some time wandering about, but also will sit in our cozy apartment conversating into the night and around fireplaces at nearby restaurants. December – January is also opera season, so we may also choose to tickle our ears with one of these.

Here are some tentative ideas for readings that will form the basis of nightly dinner discussions. Our goal is not to provide a comprehensive look at the Renaissance, but rather to focus on a few key ideas through some selected texts (I will provide a “Reader” in advance), and to use these as a starting point for larger discussions. We will also pay more attention to Venetian artists and thinkers than most standard overviews of the Renaissance. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which the classical world impinged upon the thought of this period.


Day 1: The Origins of the Renaissance
Readings: Selections from Will Durant, The Renaissance; Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern.

Day 2: The Literature of the Renaissance: Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio
Readings: Selections from Divine Comedy; On the Solitary Life, and The Decameron.

Day 3: The Philosophy of the Renaissance
Readings: Marsilio Ficino, Three Books on Life.

Day 4: The Painters of the Renaissance 1: Veronese and Tintoretto
Readings: Vasari, Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects.

Day 5: The Painters of the Renaissance 2: Titian
Readings: Vasari, Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects.

Day 6: The Architecture of the Renaissance: Palladianism in Venice
Readings: Andrea Palladio, The Four Books of Architecture.


 

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