Cultural Travels from Home: Siena and The Art of Gold

Thursday 21st January 11.00AM

In our new mini-series of online webinars we visit artists, art historians and guides in various cultural cities around the world and enjoy an hour’s guided tour, virtual museum visit or demonstration. The visits are live and interactive, allowing you to ask questions. These webinars will enable you to gain special access to sites, studios and galleries which are either currently closed or difficult to visit whilst at the same time providing a wonderful opportunity to travel virtually from the comfort of your home, no matter your location. Our visits will also support both galleries and individuals working in the cultural sector whose activities have been affected by the current pandemic.

This week we gain special access once again to the workshop of Marco Caratelli, a well-known artist living in Siena, just a few steps away from the famous Cathedral and Museo dell’Opera. Marco specialises in medieval and Renaissance painting techniques and reproducing works of the Italian old masters such as Duccio, Filippo Lippi, Piero della Francesca and Simone Martini.

This week we focus in particular on the technique of gold leaf as used by artists such as Duccio in his famous Maestà made for Siena Cathedral. Marco will discuss how gold leaf was made and applied, showing us techniques such as "punzonatura" (the punched decoration used for haloes or the edges of panels), "invecchiatura" (ageing of gold leaf using iron-wool) as well as "sgraffito" where layers of pigment are scratched away to reveal the gold beneath. He will also talk about the egg tempera technique as described by in Cennino Cennini's practical treatise entitled Il libro dell'arte, published over 600 years ago but still used today.

All of your questions will be answered in this live, step-by-step demonstration, followed by a short peek outside the studio door to enjoy the beautiful streets of Siena's historic centre. NB: If you joined us for Marco's previous workshop, this session will concentrate on different techniques so do join us once more!

Marco recently joined Siân, Director of Art History in Focus, for a live online webinar at the National Gallery which was very warmly received: “The session with Marco was just fascinating. I felt as if I was right there in his studio – thank you!”

You can find a link to his website here: https://www.passatonelpresente.com/en/

This is a live webinar at 11.00AM GMT and will last one hour.  Tune in from anywhere in the world to participate or enjoy a recorded version if you cannot watch live. A link to the recording will be sent soon after the end of the session, enabling you to watch on catch up later that evening or the following day.

Booking closes the day before the event is streamed. Please refer to the Further Information panel below.


Further Information


1. BOOK.

Click on the gold “Book This Course/Event” button on the right hand side now, fill in the online booking form and pay online. You will be notified automatically by email once your booking has been accepted.

Please ensure you enter your email address correctly, as your Zoom link will be sent to this address, thank you.

The participation fee is £10 per person, if making bookings for a number of people please provide their email addresses when booking them as separate participants.


Download ZOOM once you have booked - please print/download the instructions in this downloadable link and read them carefully. Zoom works best with Google Chrome, both for live events and when watching recordongs on catch up.


You will receive an email approximately 24-48 hours in advance of the event asking you to register.** This is a privacy function enabling only registered participants to attend. After registering you will automatically receive the Zoom log in link - please keep this safely.

** Please note that these details are sent out in office hours, so if you book on a weekend you may not receive them until Monday. You must register with the same name that you have booked under and at least 45 minutes before the lecture begins, otherwise you may not be able to watch. If you have not received your email confirmations, please check your ‘deleted items' and 'junk mail' folders.


Join the lecture ten minutes before it is scheduled to start, to ensure everything is working.

If you are not able to watch the lecture at the time it is live-streamed, you can still book online, as above. You will be contacted after the lecture has been broadcast with instructions on how to access the recorded lecture, enabling you to watch on catch up later that evening or the following day until midnight.

You do not need to advise us if you can't participate live, don't worry!

Bookings close the day before the event is streamed.

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for booking this event. We regret that we are unable to offer technical support with Zoom but tips can be found in the attachment. If you would like to book more than one event, please book separately for each lecture that you would like to attend, thank you. If you are booking for more than one person, it is important that you include their email address so that we can send them the lecture link too. We regret we are unable to offer refunds but don't worry if you are not able to attend, as we will send you the recorded lecture link.


  • Online, live demonstration
  • Learn the techniques used by the Italian Old Masters
  • Special focus on the use of gold leaf
  • Viewable from anywhere in the world
  • Live Q&A afterwards



To book, please complete our online booking form.

Book this course / event

If you have any questions regarding the course or booking please send us an email or
call on +44 (0)1932 267322

Recommended Reading

Visit the AHF bookstore for a list of recommended books and products to accompany this course/event.


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