ICONS, SYMBOLS and SIGNS
Tracing the history of art from the Renaissance to the present day.

Online course with art historian Alessandra Montalbetti
January–February 2024

how to participate

Can an image range across the entire history of art? How does its depiction change over time? The new art history course organized by art historian Alessandra Montalbetti analyzes certain images and symbols recurring in the artistic production of painters and sculptors over the centuries, and how they have changed and been reinterpreted.

From Piero della Francesca to Francesco Hayez, from the Impressionists to contemporary artists such as Anselm Kiefer and Francesco Vezzoli, the course identifies and traces the images and symbols that we often recognized in works by different artists from different periods in history. A shared vocabulary that ranges across the history of art and evolves alongside it.

Piero della Francesca, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, and Pietro Longhi

January 29, 7 pm

What impact did commission have on the artistic production and creation of visual formulas of these great Italian artists? This first lecture explores how the visual language of these painters was shaped by the specific requests of those who commissioned their work, as well as what was a product of their own imagination.

Risorgimento, the Macchiaioli, and Impressionism

February 5, 7 pm

The second lecture explores and analyzes the work of very different painters, such as Francesco Hayez, Silvestro Lega, Claude Monet, and Pierre Auguste Renoir, highlighting how historical events can influence a shift in the meaning of an image.

Twentieth Century Avant-Gardes

February 19, 7 pm

In the early twentieth century, an important paradigm shift was caused by artists’ refusal to work on commission. This choice led artists such as Umberto Boccioni, Giorgio de Chirico, Filippo de Pisis and many others to develop specific and highly personal pictorial languages.

Contemporary Artists

February 26, 7 pm

Free from canvases, paintbrushes, and all the restrictions of the art of the past, during the second half of the twentieth century artists drastically changed their pictorial language to directly involve the viewer. This artistic revolution, seen in the work of Anselm Kiefer, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Francesco Vezzoli and many others, led artists to ground their compositions on specific images as reassuring cardinal tenets.

Alessandra Montalbetti

Alessandra Montalbetti entered the Education Department of the Superintendence of Artistic-Historical and Demo-Ethno-Anthropological Heritage of Milan in 1982. She creates didactic materials for schools of every grade level and, specializing in contemporary art history, teaches contemporary art lessons in the refresher course for secondary school teachers organized by the Superintendency with the support of the Amici di Brera Association. From 1983 to 1990 she designed the first educational courses for schools for the Civico Museo d'Arte Contemporanea (Cimac) under the Direction of the Civic Museums. In 2000, she participated in the working group of the Superintendence, preparing intercultural teaching materials for primary and lower secondary schools (project "A Brera anch’io"). Since 1983, she has collaborated with important Italian associations and museums (Associazione Amici di Brera e dei Musei Milanesi, Italia nostra, Anisa, Associazione Milano Cultura e Natura, Università Unitre, Associazione Amici del Loggione - Teatro della Scala, Associazione Volarte, Associazione Amici del Museo Bagatti Valsecchi, Rotary Club and, since 2012, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection) while continuing her research and publication work.

how to participate
  • The online lectures are in Italian and last one hour. Participants will receive a Zoom invitation.
  • The course is for members only.
  • Donation of 60€ for the whole course (50€ for teachers with proof of employment released by a school or institute, 25€ for Young Pass members). It is not possible to attend a single lecture. It is not possible to register for single lectures.
  • Participants can join mid-course and receive recordings of previous lectures.
  • Payment can only be made by credit card. Donations to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Venice branch, at Dorsoduro 701, 30123, Venice, fiscal code 80014020277, are tax deductible as they are made to a foundation whose statutory objective is the promotion and protection of artistic heritage, according to Legislative Decree n. 41 of January 22, 2004.
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Contact us

For more information
Federica Gastaldello
+39 041 2405429
membership@guggenheim-venice.it