Diana Hiller will address that unusual query in her talk, ‘Why is that Saint holding a barbecue grill? Cracking visual codes in Italian Renaissance painting‘, at the Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Carlton 3053 on Thursday 11 June at 6.30pm (free event but call (03) 9349 9021 or RSVP here). People living in Italy in the early modern period had many advantages over modern viewers when looking at the paintings that surrounded them as they went about their daily lives. They saw paintings in their parish churches, in magnificent cathedrals, in municipal buildings, in hospitals, and in the local meeting places of confraternities. Merchants and well-to-do citizens had paintings in both their public and private domestic spaces. Today the most obvious visual images that we encounter in our environment are likely to be advertisements. For us paintings are generally confined to art galleries. We not only lack the all-important contexts for painted works, but we are also no longer aware of the many visual cues that were familiar to people in the Renaissance. The citizens of Florence, Siena, Venice, Milan and so on knew their Biblical stories and were generally familiar with the most important myths and gods of classical antiquity.