Greek and Roman Gods and Heroes: Definition, Representation, Reinterpretation

Prof. Veronica Santini

DATE: 19th August 2019
TIME: 9:00 – 12:00 am
LOCATION: Don Orione Foundation, Venice

What’s God? What’s a Hero? How can we define these terms, and translate those concepts into art? We will take a deep look to the representation of Gods, Goddesses and heroes during Greek and Roman times: their symbols and iconography; the major shift occurred with the advent of Christianity, and thus the change in iconography and perception of the divine world. And finally, the Renaissance, when Greek and Roman culture and mythology were rediscovered and reinterpreted and the man was, once and for all, the “measure of all things”.

UNIVERSITY OF PADOVA, Padova, Italy ShanghaiTech Summer School project: organizing committee, lecturer on Italian Art and Architecture, curator and developer of website and book.

IIS SAVOIA BENINCASA, Ancona, Italy Teacher of Chinese Language and Culture and CLIL Teacher of Art History.

Veronica Santini obtained a BA in Chinese Language and Culture with a specialization in Far- East and Indian Art. Her dissertation: “The Representation of the Human Body: a cross-cultural approach between China and the West” is an in- depths cross-cultural analysis of philosophy, language and artistic development of the representation of the human body. The goal of her studies and researches has been to deepen her understanding of different cultures through the comparison and analysis of their works of art.

She has long experience of teaching and of freelance translator and interpreter in different languages. In the last few years, she has been involved in the ShanghaiTech Summer School project with Padova University as part of the organizing committee, in particular in charge of the artistic and cultural activities. She is a lecturer on Italian Art and Architecture, with emphasis on Venice and the Venetian Renaissance. She is as well curator and developer of the website and the final book of the summer course.

Currently she is teacher of Chinese Language and Culture in courses addressed to Italian students to develop their language skills in Mandarin Chinese, Chinese philosophy, history, literature and art from the origin of Chinese civilization to modern times. She moreover organizes extra-curricular courses on Chinese music, cinema and theatre.

Finally, for the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) project, she is teacher of Art History (European and Italian) through the medium of a foreign language (English) for secondary school students, offering courses on Italian Renaissance Art, Romanticism, Orientalism, Futurism and Metaphysical art.

For a very general overview of Italian Art:

  1. Bussagli Marco, Italian Art. From the origins to the present day, Giunti, 2009.

For an overview of Renaissance Art:

  1. Evelyn Welch , Art and Society in Italy 1350-1500 (1997) or Art in Renaissance Italy 1350-1500 (2000) Oxford History of Art

For further information on Greek mithology:

  1. Edith Hamilton, Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes
  2. Richard Buxton, The Complete World of Greek Mythology

LECTURE 2 – Venice, the floating city

Hints on Art, Misteries and Curiosities


Prof. Veronica Santini

DATE: 18th August 2019
TIME: 13:30 – 14:30 pm
LOCATION: Don Orione Foundation, Venice

“[…] Venice, the eldest child of liberty.

She was a maiden city, bright and free;

No guile seduced, no force could violate;

And when she took unto herself a mate,

She must espouse the everlasting sea. […]”



The words of the famous eighteenth century Romantic poet William Wordsworth celebrate the deep, inescapable bond between Venice and the sea. A city that rises above the water and that, at the same time, pays constant tribute to this element.

The aim of this lecture is to unfold, like a treasure map before the eyes of curious travellers and scholars, Venice’s secret history and hidden lore. Through original images and interesting stories, scour the waterways and be enlightened by the words of well-known writers and art-historians on some of the main aspects of Venice art. Discover its traditions and mysterious toponymy in a virtual tour of the floating city.

  1. Bomford D. and Finaldi G., Venice through Canaletto’s Eyes, National Gallery and Yale UP 1998
  2. Goethe J.W., Italian Journey, Penguin 1970
  3. Grundy M., Venice, The Anthology Guide, London 2014
  4. Links J.G., Venice for Pleasure, Pallas Athene 1994
  5. Morris J.A., A Venetian Bestiary, Thames and Hudson 1982
  6. Rynalds J.T., Venetian Stories, Anchor 2004
  7. Scarpa T., Venice is a fish, Feltrinelli, 2000