The Art of Venice – in Chepstow

Detail of Madonna and Child with Two Saints, by Giovanni Bellini
Detail of Madonna and Child with Two Saints, by Giovanni Bellini, Galleria dell’Accademi.

New Year – Try something new! Thinking about discovering different things? Learning something for the sheer pleasure of it? Try Chepstow Museum’s art history course, you don’t have to know anything about art or history, and you can spend 2 hours in good company soaking up wonderful images on a Monday afternoon!

From January, the art of the most seductive city in the world – Venice – comes under scrutiny in a new art appreciation course at Chepstow. From golden Byzantine mosaics, through the elegance of the Early Renaissance to the drama of Titian, Venice produced some of the greatest art of the Western world.

The ten-week course, which is run by Chepstow Museum, will take us from the year 1000 through 600 years of art. It will explore how ‘La Seremissima’ became a city of trade and ideas from the so called ‘Dark Ages’, when settlers escaping invading tribes took sanctuary on the islands of the marshy Venetian lagoon. Links with Constantinople and the Eastern Mediterranean brought rich mosaics and colour to the city, while some of its architecture developed a distinctly eastern feel.
As the wealth of Venice developed in the 14th and 15th centuries, so its art grew, reaching a pinnacle in the painting of Giovanni Bellini, whose work is as serene as the city itself. And then came the first superstar artist, Titian, who was feted by Europe’s rulers from Spain to Germany for his extraordinary colour and vitality. The course concludes with the huge frescoes and paintings of Tintoretto and Veronese, which still today adorn the walls of Venice’s churches and palaces.
The course, taught by popular local lecturer Eleanor Bird, is suitable for every level of student, from beginner to connoisseur. There’s no homework – just a chance to explore some of the greatest art and buildings the Western world has produced. Eleanor also teaches art history in Monmouth, Ross-on-Wye and Abergavenny.

Detail of Bacchus and Ariadne, by Titian, from the National Gallery
Detail of Bacchus and Ariadne, by Titian, from the National Gallery

Classes begin at the Drill Hall, Chepstow, on Monday 15th January 2018. The fee for the term is £100 (just £5 an hour), including tea and coffee. You can try the first session as a ‘taster’ for £10. Please reserve a place in advance by contacting Chepstow Museum, telephone 01291 625981 or e-mail

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