International Art History Tours and Painting Trips

Michael Stehr’s art history tours are experiences unlike any other. His unique, enthusiastic presentation style and incredible passion for the art brings an energy and freshness to the subject matter that is unmatched by any commercial tour company. Also, Michael’s identity as an artist allows him to provide more in-depth technical insight when analyzing such pieces as the Monet’s Water Lilies or the Sistine ceiling. Touring Rome or Paris with Michael gives travelers the opportunity to experience art in a very personal, intimate way, an enlightening adventure guided by Michael’s desire to mirror the spiritual response he was able to experience when interacting with these locations for the first time. His tours are truly unique travel experiences that will forever change how participants interact with and experience all art in their world.

Additionally, Michael has developed a new Painting Trip in Siena and Tuscany. This journey through the Italian countryside will inspire travelers to experience the region like never before. Encountering Tuscany as both tourists and artists, they will take in its many enchanted vistas as inspiration for their own drawings and paintings, which they will carry out with advice and consultation from Michael himself. Locally-guided tours through Siena and several day trips from the group's Tuscan villa will provide the subject matter for these pieces, as well as for Michael's evening "lecturettes" that weave his art history expertise into travelers' experience of these magical locations. For more information on this and other trips, see the descriptions and links to sample itineraries below.

"Michael wove an indelible, strong thread that effortlessly bound our group together. His love for his work, matched with his boundless knowledge of art, architecture, and history was beautiful to behold and a treasure experienced then which lasts forever."

"Enthusiastic thanks! We are deeply grateful for our stimulating and fun week in Paris with Michael. Our adventure exceeded our high expectations. He is an exceptional art history guide!"


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Michael’s tour through Rome focuses on the Age of the Counter-Reformation, from Michelangelo’s birth in 1475 to Bernini’s death in 1680. This was an era of great challenge for the church, a challenge that brought forth some of the most incredible personalities, charged stories, and miraculous works of art in human history. Highlights of the trip include a tour of the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, the paintings of Caravaggio, the marble sculptures of Bernini,  and a day trip to the hilltop town of Tivoli, as well as interacting with those in Rome with whom Michael has cultivated strong friendships over the past seventeen years. 

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Michael's Paris seminar is centered on the city’s many world-class museums, especially the Louvre, the Musee D’Orsay, and the Musee Rodin. At the Louvre, travelers traverse the enormous museum to take in the work of many masters, including Michelangelo, David, Ingres, Caravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt, Raffaello, Leonardo, and Camille Corot. At the Musee D’Orsay, Michael leads the group in a celebration of the Impressionists, notably Monet, Degas, Manet, and Renoir. Consideration of the Impressionists is continued with a visit to the Musee Rodin to study the career of the famed sculptor, Auguste Rodin. The Paris tour also includes two day trips outside of the city: the first to Giverny to see the gardens of Claude Monet, and the second to Chartres, a small city that plays host to arguably the greatest Gothic building in Europe, Notre Dame de Chartres. 

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A typical day on either tour begins with a twenty minute introductory lecture in a hotel meeting space prior to embarking on a morning excursion into the city. After eating lunch together, travelers have two to three hours of free time to explore the city on their own. Next, the group reconvenes for an afternoon excursion, followed by an evening discussion before enjoying dinner as a group.


NEW: Painting Trip to Siena and Tuscany

"The inspiration for this trip came in 2013 when I took a trip of a lifetime touring and painting through Tuscany. This enchanted part of our world is magical. The people, the food, the vistas, the colors....this truly is a special place. The greatest thrill was to be amidst such inspiration, and to be able to translate that inspiration into paintings immediately."

Travelers will join Michael on a unique journey through this "enchanted" land as they encounter Siena and Tuscany as both tourists and artists. The trip begins with three days of morning tours led by local guides in Siena, taking photographs that will provide inspiration for afternoon painting sessions back at the hotel. Next, the group ventures to a Tuscan villa that serves as home base and studio for the remainder of the trip. Michael leads day trips every other day to explore the countryside and gather inspiration. Back at the villa, travelers  develop their own drawings and paintings with advice and consultation from Michael himself, as well engage in a peer review process to grow as artists. Michael will also contribute his insights as an art historian through several evening "lecturettes" throughout the trip that touch on the artistic themes that are woven into the travel experience.