Venice article

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Note: I am still really sick, and I've got a bunch of stuff to do today, but I did just submit this draft of an article about Venice for a department newsletter. Since I never actually got around to talking about Venice (sorry about that), I thought I should at least post this as an introduction on the topic.

This past summer I was privileged to attend the Pratt in Venice program, an ideal environment for living, working, and creating in one of the most inspiring cities in the world. The professors and guest lecturers were incredibly generous with their depth of knowledge and experience, and the spirit of camaraderie within our group of travelers was truly heart-warming.

Art history courses were held primarily on-site, where we viewed painting, sculpture, and architecture masterpieces in their original contexts and functions, and learned how they've been modified over time. Day trips to Torcello, Padua, Castelfranco, and Bassano brought us face to face with mesmerizing Veronese frescoes, Bellini altarpieces, and a view of the Dolomite foothills which still permeates my dreams.

The Materials, Techniques & Conservation seminar included intensive individual research projects and meetings with conservators at a mosaic lab in San Marco, a wood conservation lab in Oriago, the Orsoni glass factory, and a lecture with Paolo Spezzani on non-destructive analysis. We worked in world-class libraries, and many students learned Italian to study primary documents and speak with local experts. In a rare opportunity, we climbed the scaffolding within a dome at the Basilica of San Marco. We were moved to tears while touching the glittering gold mosaic tesserae and viewed this staggering work of collective creation in its splendor from a viewpoint no tourist could ever hope to see.

The juxtaposition of Renaissance and Byzantine masterpieces with the contemporary art of the Venice Biennale and satellite exhibitions throughout the city proved intensely intriguing. Students of painting and print-making worked in the internationally renowned Scuola Grafica or in charming studios on the Guidecca, overlooking an oleander garden and the lagoon stretching out to the Adriatic Sea.

Saturated with history and beauty, Venice is incomparably inspiring: light reflecting off the canals and dancing on foot bridges, exposed stucco forming abstract patterns on the sides of buildings which have withstood centuries of history, riding vaporettos down the Grand Canal past palazzos of extraordinary grace and beauty, and standing in the same churches and campos as Carpaccio, Bellini, Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, Sansovino, and Palladio.

Evenings unwound with sips of prosecco and chatting in clumsy Italian with new friends, wandering the maze-like streets, sitting beside canals that reflected the city lights, and strolling through the after-hours stillness of the Piazza San Marco with the overwhelming love of an artist who found a new home in an old world.

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This page contains a single entry by Vicki published on March 10, 2008 12:29 PM.

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