The Aristocratic Families That Shaped Rome: A Four-Part Course with Cecilia Martini

The Aristocratic Families That Shaped Rome: A Four-Part Course with Cecilia Martini


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

From the Middle Ages through the 12th century, a select number of aristocratic families ruled the roost in Rome. They built palaces and chapels, creating art collections that are among the city’s most beautiful jewels. From Caravaggios to Titians to Raphaels, we’re lucky that many of these collections still live on in private collections today.
In this four-part course, led by art historian and native Roman Cecilia Martini, we will delve into the most beautiful private palaces and art collections of Rome that still exist today. We will also use these artworks to connect to related pieces around the globe. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of Rome and the role of its aristocracy in the patronage of art.

Lecture 1 The Colonna family
The Colonna is one of the most ancient families in Europe: we can trace their history back to the 12th century. In a rare case, they still live in their family palace and own their original art collection. We will learn about the most famous members of their family; we will explore their stunning palace ( Rome’s Versailles) and discover the jewels of their collection, such as the Bean Eater by Carracci and Bronzino’s Venus and Satyr.
Lecture 2 The Farnese family
The Farnese family has enough stories to inspire several novels. As a papal family raised in Renaissance, their story begins with a woman and ends with a woman. They were the patrons of Antonio da Sangallo and Michelangelo, of Salviati and Annibale Carracci. They owned the second-most fabulous collection of the antiquity of the world, after the Pope. We’ll virtually visit their Renaissance palace with its magnificent frescos and discuss their ancient art collection (the jewel of the Archeological Museums of Naples).
Lecture 3 The Borghese and the Barberini families
In the 17th century, new papal families rose to power. When a member of the family reached the apex of power to become Pope, the family celebrated this latest achievement by building a palace and amassing a vast art collection. Their patronage in art shaped Rome: Bernini and Caravaggio, Borromini, and Pietro da Cortona are just some of the artists who worked for them. This lecture will explore two families that still exist today, the Borghese and the Barberini. We’ll study their residences and art collections, now owned by the Italian State and open to the 
Lecture 4 The Doria Pamphili family
Along Rome’s main street, via del Corso, lies a large palace door with an elegant green courtyard: here lies the Doria Pamphili Palace. Still owned by the princes, this treasure chest of the 17th century has an eye-opening art collection that boasts the paintings of Caravaggio, Titian, Raphael, Brueghel, and Velasquez. This lecture will dig into just what is behind the closed palace doors.

Cecilia is an art historian and a native Roman with a Master's degree in Medieval and Renaissance art from the Sapienza University of Rome. Although her specialty is painting and decorative arts, she has a broad knowledge of the history of Rome and a personal passion for ancient history, which she shares on many antiquity-themed itineraries. Cecilia has worked actively in the past as a lecturer, teacher, and curator of exhibitions. She had been a staff member of the didactive service of the Vatican Museums, the Galleria Doria Pamphili and the Galleria Colonna where she still frequently consults. As a licensed guide for Rome and Florence and with a specialized teaching degree, she has more than 20 years of experience in leading highly-qualified tours.

How does it work?
This is a four-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture. 

When will I receive the Zoom link?
Your link to enter the Zoom room will be the same for all sessions. It will be sent to the email address used to place your order 30 minutes prior to each lecture's start time.

Is there a reading list in advance?
Though the course is open to participants with no background on this topic, there are suggested readings for further investigation. These will be provided at the course's conclusion.

How long are the lectures?
Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?
The course is $140 USD for four lectures.

Is a recording available?
Yes. All registered participants will be sent a recording link within 48 hours of each session's conclusion.

Are there additional seminars, courses, and in-person experiences being led on the topic of Italian History?
Yes!  Context Experts will be leading several virtual experiences in the coming weeks. Details are available here.

Our Context Tours of Italy are available to explore here. 

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 47 reviews
91%
(43)
9%
(4)
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C
C.F. (Santa Monica, US)
Absolutely wonderful in presentation, information and enjoyment.

This four part series with Dr. Martini was excellent. The presentation, artworks, history, architecture and cultural aspects were very clear and enjoyable to watch. Dr. Martini is a great expert on all things Rome and it showed in this course.

M
M.S. (Tucson, US)
The Aristocratic Families That Shaped Rome IV - Barbarini & Pamphilji

The final episode of this series continues with abundant illustration and rich contextualization of works of architecture and art, organized around family structure, politics and patronage. The presenter, Cecelia Martini, has a deep knowledge of the subject, and great facility in aligning the many parts and making connections across subjects.

R
R.Y. (Albuquerque, US)
New information about places I've been

I've been to the places highlighted in this class but never knew about the families that created these art collections and buildings. A fascinating course combining art, social and political history. Cecilia Martini is an immensely knowledgeable lecturer and fascinating to listen to.

D
D. (Portland, US)
Fantastic

Ms. Martini brought ancient Rome to life! Grazie mille!

M
M.S. (Tucson, US)
The Aristocratic Families That Shaped Rome III - Borghes & Barberini

As with the previous two sessions of this series, it was informative and richly illustrated. The web of political, social, and religious history adds considerable depth of understanding to the works of art. And... who can resist Bernini's dynamic sculpture that seem to burst the limits of a block of stone!

Customer Reviews

Based on 47 reviews
91%
(43)
9%
(4)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
C
C.F. (Santa Monica, US)
Absolutely wonderful in presentation, information and enjoyment.

This four part series with Dr. Martini was excellent. The presentation, artworks, history, architecture and cultural aspects were very clear and enjoyable to watch. Dr. Martini is a great expert on all things Rome and it showed in this course.

M
M.S. (Tucson, US)
The Aristocratic Families That Shaped Rome IV - Barbarini & Pamphilji

The final episode of this series continues with abundant illustration and rich contextualization of works of architecture and art, organized around family structure, politics and patronage. The presenter, Cecelia Martini, has a deep knowledge of the subject, and great facility in aligning the many parts and making connections across subjects.

R
R.Y. (Albuquerque, US)
New information about places I've been

I've been to the places highlighted in this class but never knew about the families that created these art collections and buildings. A fascinating course combining art, social and political history. Cecilia Martini is an immensely knowledgeable lecturer and fascinating to listen to.

D
D. (Portland, US)
Fantastic

Ms. Martini brought ancient Rome to life! Grazie mille!

M
M.S. (Tucson, US)
The Aristocratic Families That Shaped Rome III - Borghes & Barberini

As with the previous two sessions of this series, it was informative and richly illustrated. The web of political, social, and religious history adds considerable depth of understanding to the works of art. And... who can resist Bernini's dynamic sculpture that seem to burst the limits of a block of stone!