Italian Culture

Past Events

Learning about Italian culture helps to provide context to the language.

We’re constantly creating new opportunities to experience the culture. You can see some past examples below and upcoming ones here.

ART: Witchcraft – A Female Heresy

In this first talk we turn the clock back to the 1400s to understand where the modern idea of witches was born. Most people might not know that before the Renaissance, witches did not even have to be women, and the church used to pay no attention to this “myth.” As women with some medical knowledge were quickly depicted as witches brewing love potions, we cannot help but wonder how the whole symbology of witchcraft aimed to undermine the power of women during an historical time where women themselves started to be first celebrated, then quickly demonized.

ART: Women in Power

Despite the restrictions imposed by their patriarchal society, women gained more visibility during the Renaissance. Some of them even managed to gain the same fame and power as their male counterparts. This talk examines some examples of “extraordinary” women that distinguished themselves in their roles as intellectuals and artists, rulers and patrons, lovers and companions. Is there a pattern that brings them together? Were their stories a point of reference for other women?

ART: L’arte della Pirografia

In this conversation, with artist Carlo Proietto, we will take a journey through the lesser-known world of pyrography. This artform involves applying a heated element to a surface, most often wood, manipulating the burn marks and temperatures to mold the tint, thickness, and movement. This practice’s sharp strokes and clean shapes may evoke woodblock printing but its process is far more intriguing. Proietto, a passionate advocate of pyrography’s major artistic merits, makes his best arguments for the medium in his work, which abounds in infinitely sensitive modulations of ton and line, closely packed complex elements alongside gracefully molten movements.

You can find Carlo’s art at the Agora Gallery in NYC.

ART: Fashion and Transgression

In the Renaissance the concept of fashion as an identity statement grew stronger. What you wear would determine not only your profession but also your social status and cultural background, and was a powerful instrument of communication in the genre of portraiture. Strict norms were introduced to determine propriety and control excesses, especially through sumptuary laws, even though these were frequently broken. In this talk we will explore some interesting “fashion statements” of the time and will show how exuberance and glamour were often not only tolerated but admired, especially in positions of power.