Golden Age of Italian Art

McKnight prepared several different lectures featuring the works of Italian art and architecture. They were some of the earliest ones she gave based on her studies in Rome. During this time she had access to many important places, and even met privately with Pope Leo XIII. Consequently, her talks featuring the works of "the Eternal City" were bolstered by a sense of deep personal knowledge and experience. She first began fascinating audiences with her vivid explanations of religious artworks, particularly early Italian works of the Madonna. She also gave descriptions of the city - ancient and new - and discussed the artworks so well that audiences often felt they were immersed in the culture. Some such descriptions were surely ones she used in her lecture before President McKinley. The subject of that lecture was Italian art, but always aiming to giver her talks more significance than a mere history lesson, McKnight elaborated on the impact of the Renaissance on the current state of American art. She demonstrated how this country was experiencing its own rebirth in terms of magnificent new projects, such as the Library of Congress and the Boston Public Library, whose forms show Italian influence. Of course, her lectures also featured reproductions of masterpieces by the likes of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael.

La Primavera, Sandro Botticelli, c. 1477-82

La Primavera

Il Duomo (Dome of Florence Cathedral), Filippo Brunelleschi, completed 1436

Il Duomo

Ruins in Rome

Ruins in Rome

Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci, 1503

Mona Lisa

Transfiguration, Raphael, 1518-20

Transfiguration

Assumption of the Virgin, Titian, 1516-18

Assumption of the Virgin

Madonna of the Harpies (detail), Andrea del Sarto, 1517

Madonna of the Harpies

Walks Through Paris