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Cultural Tuesdays

Cultural Tuesdays is a series of illustrated talks and presentations, designed to engage our community on a wide range of topics, spanning from culture, lifestyle, cuisine, art, and much more. Each month we present a series of events with a specially curated theme to explore art history, opera, film and the Renaissance.

Join us every Tuesday at 7:00pm in the Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery at the Columbus Centre. Free admission and no RSVP required.

Upcoming Cultural Tuesdays Presentations

May 2019

Dante’s Commedia: The Afterlife and its Afterlives in the Art and Literature
Presented by Dr. Sarah Rolfe Prodan
May 14, 21 and 28 at 7:00pm

  • Lecture 1: “Inferno: A Guided Descent to the Depths” – May 14 at 7pm
    This talk on the Commedia takes as its subject the first canticle of Dante’s magisterial epic, Inferno. We will discuss the poet-pilgrim’s journey through Hell, the afterlife region reserved for the unrepentant in the Florentine writer’s literary masterpiece. We will examine the physical and moral structure of the realm in relation to the Christian and classical sources on which Dante drew in elaborating his representation of it as a series of concentric circles descending into the centre of the earth under Jerusalem. Through close readings of selected passages and consideration of artistic renderings of key scenes, we will explore Dante’s depictions of sin and sinners, his concept of poetic justice, and his representations of love and honour in personal and political relations.
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  • Lecture 2: “Purgatorio: An Orchestrated Climb to the Summit” – May 21 at 7pm
    The subject of this talk is Purgatorio, the second canticle of Dante’s Commedia. We will discuss Dante the poet’s transformative climb up the Mount of Purgatory, the realm of the afterlife reserved for the repentant in his religious epic. We will examine Dante the pilgrim’s progress through the seven ascending terraces of Purgatory and his preparation for the celestial spheres in the Earthly Paradise he imagined atop the island mountain. We will consider the region’s physical, ethical and spiritual dimensions. Through close readings of selected passages and consideration of artistic renderings of key scenes, we will examine Dante’s representations of vice and virtue, his concept of mercy, and his reflections on desire, free will and an individual’s capacity to choose.
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  • Lecture 3: “Paradiso: Approaching God” – May 28 at 7pm
    In Paradiso, the third and final canticle of Dante’s Commedia, the poet depicts the heavens, the realm of God, the angels, and the blessed. This talk will consider the poet-pilgrim’s movement through the celestial regions as he progresses ever closer to a vision of God. We will examine Dante’s portrayal of the cosmos, with its the concentric spheres revolving around the fixed earth and an immaterial heaven of pure light where the angels and the blessed dwell in a mystical rose with God on His throne at its centre. Through close readings of selected passages and consideration of artistic renderings of key scenes, we will explore Dante’s representations of exemplarity, his concepts of God and divinity, and his reflections on human and divine love and on political and religious leadership.

Past Cultural Tuesdays Presentations

January 2019

Women of the Italian Renaissance
Presented by Dr. Sarah Rolfe Prodan in collaboration with ICFF and L’Istituto Italiano di Cultura
January 15, 22, 29 and February 5 at 7:00pm

Dr. Sarah Rolfe Prodan, Renaissance Scholar, returns to the Columbus Centre to explore “Women of the Italian Renaissance.”

Topics will include include:

  • Isabella d’Este, Marchioness of Mantua (1475 – 1539): Patron and Political Figure
  • Vittoria Colonna, Marchioness of Pescara (1490/1492 – 1547): Writer and Religious Reformer
  • Veronica Franco (1546 – 1591): Poet and Courtesan
  • Sofonisba Anguissola (c. 1532 – 1625): Painter

February 2019

Florence, Capital of Italian Modernity: From Unification to Fascism
Presented by Luca Somigli
February 12, 19, 26* and March 5 at 7:00pm

University of Toronto Professor of Italian Studies, Luca Somigli, takes us on a journey through “Florence, Capital of Italian Modernity: From Unification to Fascism.”

Topics will include:

  • Firenze Capitale: Italian Unification and its Aftermath
  • Firenze Fin-de-siècle: Dandies, Dreamers and Coffee Fiends
  • Firenze Futurista: Artistic Experimentalism in the Early Twentieth Century
  • Fascista: At the Crossroads of Traditionalism and Modernity

March 2019

Rome Through Cinema
Presented by Franco Gallippi
March 19, 26 and April 2, 9 at 7:00pm

Professor, academic and well-renowned lecturer, Dr. Franco Gallippi examines “Rome through Cinema.”

  • Lecture 1: Rome in Italian Cinema: From Roma città aperta to La grande bellezza
    March 19 at 7:00pm
    From Italy’s struggle for a Republic (Roma città aperta, 1945) to an endless search of the meaning of this Republic (La grande bellezza, 2013), Dr. Franco Gallippi opens this four-part series with a focus on important films by Italian directors who have given the world a unique portrait of the “eternal city.”
  • Lecture 2: Anna Magnani: The Fragile Diva (A Roman Actress)
    March 26 at 7:00pmThe second lecture in the series explores why Anna Magnani was the greatest Italian actress of all time. Federico Fellini believed she encapsulated everything that is and was truly Roman, and Neapolitan playwright Edoardo De Filippo described Anna Magnani as a “force of nature.”
  • Lecture 3: Alberto Sordi: Albertone (A Roman Actor)
    April 2 at 7:00pmSaid to be the epitome of the “eternal city,” Roman actor Alberto Sordi was an imposing presence on screen and off. In this presentation, Dr. Gallippi concentrates on Alberto’s inexhaustible energy as one of the wonders of Italy that continues to speak to audiences around the globe.
  • Lecture 4: Federico Fellini and the City of Rome (A Roman Director)
    April 9 at 7:00pmThe final lecture explores Federico Fellini as “the Maestro” and his intimate relationship with the city of Rome. Federico Fellini, whose favourite neighbourhood in Rome was the EUR business district, viewed the “eternal city” as a temporary film set.

April 2019

Sapori D’Italia – Food Tastings and Conversations with Gaia Messai
April 16, 23, 30 and May 7 at 7:00pm

Presentation 1: Olive Oil
April 16 at 7:00pm

Why is olive oil good for our health? What is the difference between extra virgin oil, virgin oil and pure oil? Followed by the tasting of two different types of olive oil, this presentation explores the story of the olive as one of the most meaningful symbols of the Mediterranean that we have today.

Presentation 2: Cheese
April 23 at 7:00pm

What is the difference between artisanal and industrial cheese-making? What is the best way to store, serve and pair cheese? Followed by a tasting of five different cheeses all imported directly from Italy, this presentation will discuss this key ingredient of Italian cuisine.

Presentation 3: Bread
April 30 at 7:00pm

Is bread good or bad for our health? In this presentation, the history of bread and general misconceptions about bread will be discussed. Bread pairings, cooking with bread and how to choose and consume bread (the Italian way), will also be explored, followed by a tasting of a variety of Italian breads.

Presentation 4: Chocolate
May 7 at 7:00pm

Do you ever wonder how chocolate is made from the mighty cacao bean? Take a journey through a very special tasting and learn about the great chocolate-making traditions of Italy.