What a Thing is Man?
The Christian Humanism of Michelangelo
September 13-20, 2009
In the late summer of 2009, a small group of inquirers will gather in Florence and Rome to explore the life and achievements of the sculptor, painter, architect, and poet, Michelangelo Buonarroti.
A towering figure whose life spanned the period from the heyday of Florentine humanism to the stormy Reformation and Counter Reformation eras, Michelangelo stood at a turning point in Western history.
In his works we see the dignity of humanity and its fall, the emergence of the individual and the dangers of individualism, and a fierce struggle to harmonize beauty with goodness and truth. Yet for all the conflict and tension in his work, Michelangelo left us with exquisite images of how God’s grace can transform human experience.
Throughout our week together we will reflect on how Michelangelo’s incarnational vision of art inspired by faith can inform our own efforts to bring about cultural transformation today.
We will undertake this journey in the two cities that laid claim to Michelangelo—Florence, the birthplace of Renaissance Christian Humanism, and the “Eternal City” of Rome.
Faculty and Program
Our week in Italy will begin with a couple days in Rome, where we will visit the Vatican and other sites associated with Michelangelo. The remainder of the week will be spent in Florence, where we will visit the great churches and museums featuring the artist and enjoy exquisite meals at restaurants in the city and the surrounding area.
Monsignor Timothy Verdon is a priest in residence at the Duomo in Florence and a renowned expert on Renaissance art. A Yale-trained art historian, he is the author of several books, including Mary in Western Art; Michelangelo the Theologian; and Art, Faith, History: A Guide to Christian Florence.
Gregory Wolfe is writer in residence at Seattle Pacific University and the founder and editor of Image, one of America’s leading literary quarterlies. He also directs the Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing at SPU and recently served as a judge for the National Book Awards. His essays, reviews, and articles have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.Our week in Florence will involve a variety of activities, from lectures and visits to the great churches and museums, to a field trip to Assisi, to exquisite meals at restaurants in Florence and the surrounding area.
Our residence in Rome will be the Domus Sessoriana, a former basilica surrounded by the ruins of the last Roman emperors. Now a modern hotel with all the amenities, it is still attached to the working monastery and beautiful basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.
Our home the rest of the week in Florence will be Villa Agape, the former estate of the Duchess D’Aosta, now a place of hospitality run by the nuns known as Suore Stabilite nella Carita.
Set on a hillside just south of the Arno, it is surrounded by beautiful ornamental gardens, statuary, and an olive grove. A ten-minute walk brings you to the church of San Miniato al Monte, where Benedictine monks continue their fifteen-hundred-year history of work and prayer.
At Villa Agape we will take our meals together in the formal dining room, meet in the library, and relax on the spacious, open-air terrazzo.
The rooms are simple but clean and bright. Each has a private bathroom and shower.
And views that are unforgettable.
Registration for the Florence Seminar, excluding airfare, includes seven nights accommodation, all breakfasts and dinners, and transportation and entrance fees to all sites. Fees are $4,250 per person for a shared room or $4,500 for a single.
Deadline: Spaces are still available for the 2009 seminar. Registrations are accepted on a first come, first served basis. A receipt will be mailed to confirm your registration, followed by an informational packet.
Payment: A $2,000 deposit ($500 non-refundable) must accompany your registration in order to reserve your space. The balance is due by July 15 (after July 15, balances are due in full upon registration). Please make checks payable to Image, or phone us to pay by credit card.
Refunds: Between June 1 and July 15, a 50% refund will be paid upon cancellation. No refunds are available after July 15.
Transportation: We will provide transportation for group excursions throughout the week. Because traffic is limited in many historic areas, we’ll do a moderate amount of walking to get to key sites.
Waiting List:: If the seminar is full, we will contact you and place you on a waiting list. We will let you know as soon as space opens up.
For more information or to request a brochure, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206.281.2988.
To download the 2009 brochure, click here.