Scuola internazionale delle Arti e della Cultura italiana

dante e madonneHenry Holiday: First Meeting of Dante and Beatrice (1877) - Image posted by Victorian British Painting

Florence is a city incredibly rich in history and charm. Its beauty and the vibrant ferment that has always animated it have inspired entire generations of poets, architects, musicians, sculptors and painters. But what do we know about the women who have populated it and their fundamental contribution in making it that precious treasure chest of culture and art that we all know?

Among the best known, there is undoubtedly the famous Bice Portinari, Dante’s Beatrice, to whom the Supreme Poet dedicated verses and "sweet" rhymes, represented as a frigid and angelic woman, in full stilnovo register. Daughter of Folco Portinari and wife of Simone de' Bardi, Beatrice died during childbirth at a young age, but her historic figure remains indelible in the history of Italian literature, thanks to Dante’s "Vita nova" and “Commedia”.

Another Florentine woman of absolute depth was Anna Maria Luisa, the last representative of the Medici family. Known as "l'Elettrice Palatina", she left the vast family art collection in the Tuscan state, inherited in turn in 1737 by her brother Gian Gastone, the last grand duke of the family. It is in her honor that every year on February 18th, on the anniversary of her death, the Musei Civici Fiorentini can be visited for free.

But that is not all! The history of Italian art is, in fact, studded with incomparable portraits of "Madonnas": from Filippo Lippi to Raffaello Sanzio, up to Botticelli. And the latter has made immortal a woman of such beauty as to remain unchanged over the centuries. This woman is Simonetta Cattaneo Vespucci, sister-in-law of the navigator Amerigo and immortalized as Venus and Spring in the wonderful Botticellian frescoes.

A woman, on the other hand, "on the other side of the canvas" was Artemisia Gentileschi, painter, innovator and great pioneer in art history. Daughter of the Pisan painter Orazio Gentileschi, she moved to Florence after marrying Pierantonio Stiattesi. Her portraits in Caravaggio style, of the "Maddalena" and of "Giuditta and Oloferne" are exhibited in the Uffizi Gallery.

From art history to science, in a decidedly more modern era: the great Margherita Hack, a true Florentine, was among those women who helped make Florence a true epicenter of culture. Astrophysicist and the first Italian woman Director of the Astronomical Observatory of Trieste, she perfectly embodied the ideal of the free and unconventional woman, combining a great and exemplary social commitment to the incessant life of scientific research.

These are just some of the many Florentine women of the past and present to be inspired by and take an example from. We'll explore this in the new section "Florentine Madonnas" on our blog! Don’t miss it!

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The Accademia Europea di Firenze is an International School of Italian Arts and Culture.
Founded in 2005 as a school of Italian for foreigners, over time it has expanded its offer to Italian art and culture, music and dance.
The AEF also offers three-year Certificate Programs in Voice & Opera, Drawing & Painting and Dance, a Semester Certificate Program for Italian as a Second Language (CILS), Study Abroad Programs in collaboration with prestigious American Universities, Summer and Winter Programs and Joint Academic Programs developed with university institutions all over the world.
The experiential approach and the quality of the professors make this school, strongly rooted in Italian history and culture but endowed with European academic standards, an international environment in the city of the Renaissance and of widespread beauty.

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