Learn Italian with Art

So you love Italy, and you like art... why not learn Italian through art? In this series we take you on a journey where you can enjoy the beauty of famous masterpieces and at the same time learn the language that you need to understand the description of a painting, a sculpture, or a building. This will enrich your expressive ability and take your Italian to the next level!
You will soon find out that formal, academic Italian, filled with Latin-derived terms that have close English equivalents, may actually be easier to understand than colloquial speech.

In Episode 1, available in full, we cover some general grammar concepts and explain recurring words that are often found in this context.


In this 26-minute video Anna reads a short text in Italian about Sandro Botticelli and his masterpiece Nascita di Venere, then she translates it and explains the most important words and grammar points. The video is divided into 3 parts that you can watch in separate sessions in order to absorb more easily all the concepts explained.

Part 1: Oggi incontriamo un artista...
Part 2: L'opera che ammireremo oggi...
Part 3: Botticelli divenne in quegli anni...

Episode 2 discusses the amazing Brera Madonna, by Early Renaissance master Piero della Francesca. Did you notice the egg hanging from the ceiling? What does it mean? Find out about the religious symbols of this work and learn how to form and use present and past participles in Italian.

Episode 3 is all about Raffaello's wonderful works. His iconic angels are part of pop culture. By discussing his relationship with our time, we learn about the Italian passato prossimo - a past tense that often implies a connection with the present.

Episode 4 takes us to the dark alleys of Rome in the 16th century. Looking at Caravaggio's powerful works, we learn the words used to describe strong emotions and we discuss the Italian imperfetto, a tricky past tense that is often used incorrectly.

In Episode 5 we describe the astonishing beauty of Michelangelo's David. Inspired by Greek and Roman classics, Michelangelo takes the art of sculpture to unparalleled heights. With the help of this masterpiece, we learn many new words and we unlock the secrets of the Italian past conditional.

Episode 6 takes us to the most famous wedding feast in history: Wedding at Cana by Paolo Veronese. This gigantic painting covers an entire wall at the Louvre, and it's full of fascinating details. In this episode we learn new vocabulary and we discuss the tricky particle NE.

About this series

Learn Italian with Art will include 6 30-minute videos with 2 accompanying PDFs each, and will be available for purchase by summer 2021.

Topics:

  1. Sandro Botticelli
  2. Piero della Francesca
  3. Raffaello
  4. Caravaggio
  5. Michelangelo
  6. Paolo Veronese

Downloads

Episode 1 is accompanied by 2 PDFs with video transcript, English translation, references, credits, a biography of Sandro Botticelli, grammar expansions, and a glossary. The full text is reserved to our patrons, but you can download samples here:

Our patrons also get a bonus PDF with additional grammar explanations and interesting art history tidbits for each of the other episodes. Visit our Patreon page to become a patron.

Questions?

Guide to Italian Art

Language Intro