Venice: the Art and Architecture of La Serenissima


Our Public Walking tours of Dublin history and architecture, and our live, in-person art tours of the National Gallery of Ireland are both winding down for the winter season, with just 2 or 3 events remaining this year.   (You can see remaining events here. )   But for Art lovers we have another, very big treat coming up.   Every winter, starting soon after Christmas, Dublin Decoded run an acclaimed online Art History and Appreciation Course, with one live talk each Tuesday afternoon for 8 weeks.   We usually focus on the art of Italy.   These talks (and the lavish quantity of beautifully illustrated artworks that accompany them)  are well-known for making interesting ideas about art and art history enjoyable and accessible.

Each talk can be joined live and/or they can be watched later, as a recorded version.  

Every ticket holder is automatically sent the links for both the live and recorded versions, every week.   

Our first talk this winter takes place (live) at 2PM on Tuesday 10th of January, 2023. 

We are thrilled to announce our theme this year will be:

Venice: the Art and Architecture of La Serenissima

Over eight weeks we’ll discuss and explore together the unrivaled art of the watery, fabled Italian city of Venice – “the most Serene Republic” as it stood as a fiercely independent republic and proud maritime superpower for over a thousand years of Independent existence.    Venice, with its dazzling Gothic, Byzantine and Renaissance palaces and churches, its astonishing treasures like mosaics and sculpture, and of course, its paintings.  These paintings were executed by legendary names like Giorgione, Titian, and the Bellini family, Carpaccio, Paulo Veronese and Tiepolo, Canaletto and many others. We will use over twenty years experience,  explaining, teaching and illuminating art, to bring these works to life,  giving you layers of context, symbolism and meaning,  to understand and enjoy these artworks as never before.

We are still putting the finishing touches to the talks.   But the outline of talks and images will be along these lines:

Talk 1  Tuesday 10 January:  Inside the Basilica San Marco.

Expect treasures from Byzantium and ancient Rome; ill-gotten gains from the era of the Crusades, shimmering mosaics and golden icons.   This first talk will help us understand Venice better, its art, and its unique historical context, all seen through the prism of Basilica San Marco: one of the world’s most beautiful and unique sacred buildings.


Talk 2- Tuesday 17 January: Venetian Painting:  Part I, from Paulo Veneziano to the Bellini Family.

Understanding the “Italo-Byzantine tradition”;  symbolism and “attributes”  in altarpieces and polyptychs.  And then understanding the innovations of the early Renaissance.


Talk 3- Tues 24 January, Sculpture and Architecture in Venice, Part I: 1028 to 1500

From Byzantine through Gothic to the Early Renaissance and the example of Donatello.  Featuring giant equestrian statues, wonderful Gothic churches, and the mighty, carved Medieval and Renaissance tombs of the Doges, at the huge church of San Giovanni e Paulo and elsewhere.


Talk 4-  31 January:  Venetian Painting:  Part II:  (c1450-1515)  

discussing Andrea Mantegna, and his in-laws, the legendary Bellini Family of painters, their portraits and great altarpieces, their influences and their contemporaries and circle.  The Art of the Renaissance established in Venice: Vittore Carpaccio, Titian and Giorgione.


TWO-WEEK break:   NO TALK on Tuesday 07 February.  Talks resume Tuesday 14 February.  See Below.




Talk 5-  Tuesday 14 February:  Sculpture and Architecture in Venice Part II, c1500- 1830.  

Venetian Sculpture and Architecture, from the High Renaissance through the Enlightenment to neo-Classicism.  Sansovino, Sanmichele, Andrea Palladio, Antonio Canova, and more.


Talk 6- Venetian Painting Part III: Tintoretto, Paulo Veronese and others. 

Including visits to the Doges’ Palace; and several palazzi on the Grand Canal.


Talk 7-  Masks, carnivals, casinos and ridotto:  Art, Social Life and the Grand Tour Tradition in Venice during the 18th century: 

Featuring artists from the 1700s, like Tiepolo, Canaletto, Francesco Guardi, Pietro Longhi, and more:  Venetian Art, Culture and Social life in the Grand 18th century.  Inside the art collections of the Ca’ Rezzonico Palace.


Talk 8: Venice: an art lover’s guide: my top Tips and Treats” 

Enjoying Venice in small details and its hidden treats, an imaginary tour, of the fabled city’s less obvious gems.




Note on sources and locations:  countless artworks, complete with overviews and close-ups of telling details,  with examples drawn from the the city’s many great art museums, such as the Museo Correr; the Galleria della Academia or the art collections at the Ca d’Ora.   Other examples from the great museums of the world, including, inter alia, the Uffizi,  the National Gallery of London,  National Gallery Washington; the Louvre and the Met in New York.    Finally, one of the best things about Venice is how many superb art works remain in the locations they were created for, like aristocratic palazzi and- best of all- the city’s many wonderful churches.

We won’t just show you the painting or sculpture, we’ll show you the church as well, and indeed its whole setting as well, giving you a real sense of the streets, square, bridges and canals of Venice.


Course Summary:   8 talks in total.
Course break-down as above, subject to small changes and adjustments.
Talks run at 2pm live each Tuesday afternoon, starting Tuesday 10th January, 2023.


As with last year, every talk is will be available live: with a link for the live talk sent out several hours before it begins: and just as last year, every talk is also recorded, and then soon after every live talk has concluded, a separate link to the recorded version will be sent out to all ticket-holders, within a few hours.

Weekly Q&A:  Just as in previous years, there is also a Q&A after each live talk, where guests may ask questions or make observations.   Everyone is welcome to stay and participate in this, although there is also never any pressure to do so.     The Q&A is not recorded and so it is not part of the recording sent out later that day.  You make speak, make observations,  and/or ask questions freely!  🙂

Buying tickets   It’s unfortunately not possible this year to buy tickets for each single, individual talk.    There are three ticket options.  Talks may be purchased either in a block of 4 talks for €50 (Talks 1-4;  then (if desired) a second, separate ticket for €50 again for Talks 5-8)    Or as a block ticket for ALL 8 TALKS at €100.  (Equivalent to €12.50 per talk).

GIFTING:   It is also possible to buy any of those three tickets types, then during the purchase to gift them to a friend of family member.  (Just tick the “gifting” check box, during your online purchase and follow the prompts,  being especially careful to enter the correct email, for you buy also for your intended recipient)

8-in-1 block ticket: for the entire course of talks now available at €100 plus booking fee (less than €6)  These 8-in-one tickets available here,  until lunchtime on Sunday the 9th of January only (24 hours prior to the first talk, the next day) 

4-in-1 block ticket for Talks 1 to 4 are available here.  (Also available up until lunchtime Monday 9th of Jan.)

4-in-1 block ticket for Talks 5 to 8 are available here:   (This ticket type available until Mon 13 February:  24 hours prior to Talk-5 )


Gifting options Good Christmas News: gifting options now available! 

All three types of tickets:  the 8-in-1 block ticket and the 4-in-1 block tickets can also be purchased as gifts.  Just tick the check-box on the online purchase page;  then follow the prompts, to fill in the name and email address for your intended recipient!   It is important to enter the precise and correct email address please for the person who wish to gift these talks to.  These are the addresses we send the weekly emails to, with the links to the Zoom class-talks; and the later video links too.    So please, take extra-special care to double- check and enter their email correctly.  Thank you.

We look forward to seeing some of you art-lovers in early January.  This is our third year, running these talks,  and the response the previous two years was outstanding.   We can not wait to go again.

It is going to be a treat!


images:  above: the Friari Triptych, by Giovanni Bellini, 1488. below: an image of the Piazza San Marco, in the 1700s, by Antonio Canale (detto Canaletto) 

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