The Medici School is one of a kind - founded by Dr Ian Guthridge on his return to Australia after ten years in Rome where he took his doctorate at the Gregorian University and subsequently lectured for another seven years till the late 1970's. An independent Forum for Adult Education with a specific focus on history, art and travel it has no campus or administrative staff, but operates in the open market-place, providing lectures open to the public, "special interest" tours all over Europe and beyond, and the publication of Dr Guthridge's books and DVD's.
All three of these activities stem from two very particular personal experiences. Firstly, as a Jesuit priest for twenty years - in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Rome - and then from the painful experience of needing to find a new way after cutting ties with the Jesuit Order and the Catholic Church in the late 1960's. Secondly, from subsequent experiences as a professional historian, writer and freelance lecturer throughout the second half of his life in which he has travelled all through Europe and beyond, in search of what he calls "the history, art and music one meets in travel".
From the first of these experiences - of Religion "from the Inside" and then "from the Outside" - he has written three books: a controversial autobiography entitled Give me a child when he is young; a review of Christianity entitled The Rise and Decline of the Christian Empire - and beyond 2000?; and then an assessment of the current state of religion, entitled Religion: Faith, Fact - or Fantasy? From his subsequent experiences as a professional historian, writer, lecturer and traveller, another three books followed: All About Italy; Great Women in History and Art; and A Tale of Twenty Cities - A Romantic Journey through Time. And spanning both of these major areas of interest, a little book called All About Christmas, on all the things we do at Christmas - where they come from and what they mean.
Over the past thirty years of so - as an extension of these activities as a writer - Dr Guthridge has presented yearly cycles of lectures at the Sydney Art Gallery and similar public venues in Melbourne, with the focus on Art and Travel - most of these lectures bearing Art and Travel titles such as "A Day in Florence", or Venice, or Paris, or St Petersburg... And as a follow-up on these lectures, he has escorted about forty "special interest" tourist groups to most of the major cities of Europe and beyond - throughout Italy, France, Spain and the United Kingdom, and also to Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Russia, Greece and Egypt. And since he has taken his own photographs on these tours, his lectures have usually been a kind of visual re-play of personal experiences "on the road."
And finally, over the past three or four years - after withdrawing from the annual cycle of lectures and tours - he has produced and presented 10 Art and Travel DVDs which incorporate the methods and materials from his lectures in a series of "Portraits" - of Florence, Venice, Sicily and Rome, Umbria and Tuscany; and then Paris, the Impressionists, and France beyond Paris; and also St Petersburg, Moscow to St Petersburg, and A Tale of Twenty Cities (from Ancient Egypt all the way through to New York). For more details, see Books and DVD's under separate titles on the Menu. In addition, selected books and interview audio recordings are available from the National Library of Australia