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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


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For Plato, beholding beauty is a path to philosophical wisdom; but at the same time Plato regards works of art as imitations that can lead away from truth. For Aristotle, on the other hand, beauty consists mainly in symmetry and proportion. Engaging with classical views of art and beauty, Renaissance philosophers debated questions including: what distinguishes beauty from deformity? Should art imitate nature or not? How is beauty embodied in the various arts, such as painting, music, or architecture; and is there a hierarchy of value among these forms? Does the appreciation of beauty make one virtuous? This course will consider the role of beauty within philosophical speculation, and investigate how Renaissance philosophers, who were sometimes also artists themselves, understood the connection between theory and practice in thinking about beauty and in producing art at the same time. Alongside their classical sources, main Renaissance figures to be studied in the course include Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499), Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), and Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519).


Fees and bursaries

Fees cover tuition, meals (except breakfast) and refreshments, including morning coffee and afternoon tea during teaching hours, and travel on excursions (but not entrance fees to properties visited). Accommodation can be booked for an additional fee and includes breakfast.

VAT does not apply to course fees and there is no service charge (gratuities to domestic staff are left to your discretion). It is sometimes possible to stay for extra nights or extra meals, or to invite guests to meals, at an additional cost and by prior arrangement with the Admissions team.

If you do not wish to pay in full at the time of booking, you may pay a 15% registration fee as a deposit by credit/debit card. The balance will automatically be taken two weeks before the start of the course. If you wish to pay by cheque, you will need to pay in full when the booking is made.

You may cancel a course booking at any time. After the 14 day cancellation period has expired, the standard ICE course cancellation policy will apply. Please view our refund and cancellation policy for further details.

Course dates

07 Jul 2019 to 08 Jul 2019

Course duration

2 days

Apply by

01 Jul 2019

Course fee


Academic Directors, Course Directors and Tutors are subject to change, when necessary.


Institute of Continuing Education
University of Cambridge
CB23 8AQ
United Kingdom

Qualifications / Credits


Course code