One Art History and One Italian History Course

I received some birthday money so was able to buy two of The Great Courses on sale for 90% off with an additional $15 off coupon. It didn’t save me from the $25 shipping but it helped.

The first course I bought with 24 lectures of 30 minutes each, was Italians Before Italy: Conflict and Competition in the Mediterranean. The Professor, Dr. Kenneth R. Bartlett, is from the University of Toronto, so I felt obliged to check him out, since I grew up in Toronto.


In November 2003 when I bought the Leonardo Da Vinci Tarot, I did a few personal studies of some of the historical characters on the cards. On the King of Swords was Bartolomeo Colleoni, a professional soldier for hire, a mercenary at a time when the various Italian city states always seemed to be at war. They called these soldiers condottieri and they served rulers under contract, often switching sides. Their treachery and political canniness was well known and you can see this in Colleoni’s face, which is best known from the equestrian statue by Verrocchio. Yes, he doesn’t look like a man you would mess with.


So, you see why I wanted this course, I’ve always found the subject interesting. The course discusses both the Sforza family and the Este family, notables in tarot and art history as well. Mostly though, it was the intrigue of these city-states that grabbed me; I’d like a visual meander through the history of it all.

We are still viewing the first two art history courses I bought, but I saw they had The Art of the Northern Renaissance on sale, so I had to get it. It has 36 lectures and covers several artists like Dürer, Bosch, and Bruegel, artists whom I also own card decks and books about, plus it also covers woodcuts and religious paintings that I find interesting.


That’s it then, birthday money spent, but providing many, many enjoyable hours of learning. I know many people prefer to buy clothes or wine or dinners out with birthday money, but I like to buy things like books that you can revisit and continually learn with.



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2 Comments on “One Art History and One Italian History Course”

  1. raggedpoet Says:

    With you all the way… keep me informed! I love the history and dark mystery of Venice so if you come across anything juicey!! Happy Birthday… it is my sons birthday today 🙂

    • JJ ColourArt Says:

      Thanks for the birthday wishes. Hey, there can never be too many Leos in the world, right? Hope your son has a happy day.

      Lecture 4 covers Venice itself but I’m sure it pops up throughout the course.

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