Florence Architecture: Brunelleschi with Kate Bolton-Porciatti - Context Travel

Florence Architecture: Brunelleschi with Kate Bolton-Porciatti

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Filippo Brunelleschi transformed the cityscape of Florence with an architectural style inspired by a pagan world: the palaces, basilicas, and temples of Ancient Rome. Yet in the churches and chapels he designed for his native Florence and, above all, in the iconic cupola of the city’s cathedral, his use of light, ‘divine’ ratios, and symbolic forms offered a glimpse of heaven.

Cultural historian Kate Bolton-Porciatti traces the formation of one of the most brilliant minds of the Renaissance: the architect and engineer Brunelleschi. He changed the physical landscape of Florence from a maze of medieval towers and fortress-like structures to a harmonious Renaissance city where balance, proportion, and geometry suggest the greater order of things.

We’ll trace his early work as a goldsmith and sculptor in Tuscany, his formative experience in Rome as a ‘treasure hunter’ discovering ancient ruins, and his return to Florence where he masterminds some of the city’s most majestic monuments: the Foundling Hospital, the churches of San Lorenzo and Santo Spirito, the Pazzi Chapel and the cupola of Florence’s cathedral, which - when it was finished in the 1430s - was the greatest dome in the world: a vision of heaven on earth.

The seminar will also enhance a broader appreciation of the architecture and ideals of Renaissance Florence. Led by Kate Bolton-Porciatti, a cultural historian specializing in medieval and Renaissance Florence, this interactive seminar will explore Brunelleschi’s monumental genius. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with a deeper understanding of Florence’s historic cityscape.

Kate Bolton-Porciatti is a professor of Italian cultural history and music at the Istituto Lorenzo de’Medici and at the British Institute in Florence. She has published extensively as an academic, a critic, and a journalist, and is a regular contributor to BBC Music and The Daily Telegraph. From 1989, for 17 years, she was a producer and broadcaster for BBC Arts & Classical Music in London. She did her MPhil thesis in Italy, exploring the musical and cultural landscape of 15th-century Florence.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.