Venice: Literature, Art, Architecture


Venice has long held a special place in the western cultural imagination. The dreamlike city on the water was a republic for more than a thousand years. It was a great empire in the Middle Ages. It has been the home of some of the world’s finest artists and architects, and the inspiration of authors from Shakespeare to the present. The study of Venice is the study of European culture as it intersects with the rich influences of the East. Following a brief historical sketch, we will read the Venetian impressions of two great writers, John Ruskin and Henry James. From there we will view the artistic treasures of Bellini, Titian, Giorgione, Veronese, Carpaccio, Tintoretto, Canaletto, Turner, and the Impressionists. Finally, we will explore the city’s magnificent works of architecture from the Byzantine, Gothic, and Renaissance periods.




Readings by Ruskin, James, and a variety of experts on Venetian art and architecture will be made available electronically on the course website.

About the Instructor

David Spurr, Professor Emeritus of Letters at the University of Geneva, has long been obsessed with Venice. His publications include a number of essays on this “impossible city.”




David Spurr



1:00-2:30 p.m.
6-week course begins Nov. 8



On Zoom