Course Description

This ten-day drawing workshop will offer a broad overview of the major art and architectural works has Florence to offer. The ever-changing city is a rich palimpsest of historical layers dating from antiquity to the present. Using Renaissance art and architecture as an anchoring point, this workshop will examine historical continuity and change by considering influences that shaped Florentine art and history from both within and without Florentine society. 

This is essentially an endeavor in learning Art History by Drawing; where drawing is a means of Seeing. Drawing the exemplary surfaces and spaces of Florentine art is a unique way of observing their nuances while also venturing speculations of how they were conceived in the first place. Not only will each student learn about methods of drawing used from antiquity to the present, but also cultivate their own methods and perceptions. Indeed, much would remain unseen if undrawn. We will explore the relevance of ‘treatises on drawing’ by Florentine masters such as Leon Battista Alberti, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti and others; and ultimately compare them with contemporary methods and styles from around the globe, including students’ own. Thus, we will explore history itself as an open set of questions, issues, methods, and processes rather than a closed book of facts. 

An important aspect of the course is challenging the dominant Euro-centrism of art. Florentine art has been shaped by numerous influences from across lands and seas, and the workshop will investigate and highlight these influences. Parallels will be ‘drawn’ between motifs of Renaissance art and architecture to those from other geographical and historical contexts. To ‘draw’ analogies between motifs, styles, and technical methods of drawing and building is to pursue decolonization by situating history itself as an open, inconclusive, inclusive, and global field.

The first six days will consist of walking tours in Florence where, following short lectures, students will draw both on-site and in studio. The final day in Florence will be dedicated to an intensive drawn thesis (or analysis) of a single selected artwork or theme. The instructor will provide individual critiques and the day will culminate in a celebratory drawing exhibition. The program will culminate in Venice with a visit to the Venice Architecture Biennale 2020.


This workshop is for both beginner and intermediate students of art and/or art history interested in augmenting their knowledge of Renaissance art and architecture and situating it in a larger historical and global geographical context; for those interested in learning or improving upon their drawing; for those seeking tactile methods to pursue historical education; and simply for connoisseurs of sumptuous, immersive, and exemplary art.

What is included:

Studio Access 

Local Excursion costs and facilitation

Travel to Venice

Entry to the Venice Architecture Biennale 2020

What is not included:

Accommodation in Florence and Venice

Airfare and other travel 

Meals or beverages


We are all hoping this will be a successful venture. Please understand, however, that OCAD U reserves the right to modify or cancel the course  should the enrolment be insufficient to cover costs. If the course be cancelled you will receive a full tuition refund. 

OCAD U is unable to reimburse students for flights booked so please contact us to ensure the course is confirmed to run before booking your flights.  

For more information, please contact Jennie Suddick, Manager, International Projects & Partnerships, jsuddick@ocadu.ca, 416-977-6000, ext 2451.

Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrollment. Please fill out the course inquiry by clicking the link below so that we may promptly notify you when enrollment opens.