Pratt in Venice 2011

Pratt in Venice 2011

Diana Gisolfi, Director

2011 was a special year for Pratt in Venice.  The group of participants comprised 21 students, balanced equally between graduate and undergraduate, including degree candidates in painting, printmaking, art history, library science, illustration, art direction, and various combined degrees.

The printmaking studio at the Scuola di Grafica was active overtime with highly determined printmakers tirelessly guided by Jennifer Melby. Chris Wright and his painters labored outdoors and in the Universita` dell’Arte studio, producing a wide range of responses to the experience. Art history students tromped and floated around the city studying the visual arts in situ with Dimitri Hazzikostas, while in Materials and Techniques students were admitted, through the help of Diana Gisolfi’s Venetian associates, to conservation laboratories and sites to learn about ways of making and salvaging art. Visiting lecturers included Tracy Cooper on Palladio, Paolo Spezzani on non-destructive analysis of art works, Robert Morgan’s view of the Biennale, and Stefania Sartori on wood conservation.

In addition to our traditional visits to Padua and to Castelfranco/Maser/Bassano, including architect Antonio Stevan’s lecture at the Giotto Chapel and an outdoor feast at Bassano, there were two unique happenings. The publicity office at Pratt contacted the program to ask if CBS could film some of our students viewing the Biennale. As Hilary Thompson, our wonderfully organized on-site assistant, had already organized the visit to the Giardini part of the Biennale, we set up a visit to the Arsenale part, with CBS in tow. Some segment of the filming should appear on CBS Sunday Morning very soon! The other unique event was in relation to conservation of the church of San Sebastiano, decorated by Paolo Veronese. Materials and Techniques students visited the exhibition of the three ceiling canvases, just cleaned, at the Palazzo Grimani, and they later were able to mount the scaffold in the church with the superintendent of the project, Dr. Amalia Basso as guide, to see up close all the varied painting techniques used by Veronese and his helpers.

Our Pratt in Venice exhibition on campus October 17-22 in the Second Floor Gallery reflects the richness of the program in the range and high quality of work exhibited. The conservation research and on-site photographs shown in the display cases outside the gallery remain on view throughout the year.

Ryan Jones, Undergraduate Print Making

When I studied in Venice in the summer of 2011, it was my first time traveling outside of the United States. I was surprised at how easy it was to navigate the city and interact with the locals. Venice may be small, but it has so many different ways to get around that I never saw the same thing twice. Around any corner would be a new church or campo that begged to be explored. The apartment I lived in for the six weeks was incredible.

It comfortably housed three people and we had a view of our own personal canal. On a daily basis gondoliers would float by our window singing and playing accordions for the visitors.

I studied art history and printmaking during the six weeks. Of course I was impressed, if not overstimulated, to draw and paint the City of Water, but more importantly, my understanding of art history as been completely revolutionized. There was no sitting in a classroom and being lectured about artwork via Powerpoint. We went to the sites and discussed the artworks and architecture first hand. You could take pictures if you would be so inclined, but looking back on them would not come close to the initial experience. The colors used in the paintings or the overwhelming sense of space in the churches could not be imitated in any form. To experience that awe again would only be possible on site. And I would go back as soon as possible to experience it all over again.

Christina Manzella, Graduate Art History & Library Science Student

I knew from before I was accepted into Pratt that I wanted to participate in the Pratt in Venice program. First, it’s always better to experience art in situ. I’m a contemporary art person, which was a major factor in my choosing a school in NYC to study art history. Why wouldn’t I want to go to Europe to study Renaissance and Baroque art? Second, I’m a contemporary art person, so that Renaissance/Baroque distribution requirement was a bit daunting. I knew that fulfilling that class in Venice would be more fun. What I found out was that going to Pratt in Venice was also the best way for me to actually learn about that portion of art’s history. Taking the two art history courses offered meant a minimal amount of time in the classroom. The majority of our class meetings were field trips, and, when we were in the classroom, we had quite a few guest lecturers. This ‘hands-on’ approach was so engaging and ideal for learning about an area in which I thought I had little interest. Thanks to the program, I also learned that I’m really interested in architecture.

The benefits of participating in one of Pratt’s most established study abroad programs were evident in the art history classes. The benefits of going to a city with faculty who have been year after year became evident in our group outings and free time. Thanks to them, we found out which islands to visit, which areas to go shopping, and at which restaurants to eat. And, though I won’t divulge any of the surprises, there are some amazing group events. Finally, the Festa Redentore is not to be missed. It’s one of the best reasons to go to Venice during July. Do not miss this night!

Pratt in Venice Exhibition

Come see student artwork at the Pratt in Venice Exhibition!

The 2011 Pratt in Venice Exhibition features student work from the past summer of Pratt’s long running study abroad program in Italy. Both undergraduate and graduate students produced photographs, paintings, prints, and drawings while living abroad.  The students spent six weeks exploring the art and culture of Venice, and the exhibition will be a chance for them to showcase their creativity influenced by this unique City of Water.  Additionally, research conducted by Pratt art history students will be showcased in a poster display.

The artworks, inspired by the beautiful city of Venice,  will be shown in the 2nd Floor East Hall Gallery on Pratt’s Campus.

The Pratt in Venice Exhibition will run from Tuesday Oct 18 to Sunday Oct 23, from 9-5 daily, with an opening reception on Monday, Oct 17 from 5-7pm with food and drink provided!

In addition to seeing the show, you’ll have a chance to purchase some of these amazing original artworks via a silent auction conducted during the exhibition to raise money for Pratt in Venice’s scholarship program.

Students in Bassano sketching the Dolomite foothills.

Working in the Printing Studio.

Save the Date: Pratt in Venice Exhibition

The 2011 Pratt in Venice Exhibition features student work from last summer’s long running study abroad program in Italy.  The students spent six weeks exploring the art and culture of Venice, and the exhibition will be a chance for them to showcase their creativity influenced by this unique City of Water.

The Pratt in Venice Exhibition will run from Tuesday Oct 18 to Sunday Oct 23, from 9-5 daily, with an opening reception on Monday, Oct 17 from 5-7pm with food and drink provided!

Prof. Gisolfi Writes for Veronese Exhibition Catalogue

Professor Diana Gisolfi’s essay “Veronese’s Unity of Vision in the Story of Esther” was recently published in the exhibition catalogue for “Veronese: The Stories of Esther Revealed,” at the Museo di Palazzo Grimini in Venice, Italy.

"The Crowning of Esther" Veronese

The exhibition ran from April 21st-July 24th, 2011. It featured three different newly-restored Paolo Veronese masterpieces depicting scenes from The Book of Esther in the Old Testament.

Pratt In Venice 2010

by Diana Gisolfi

This was a special year. The group of participants was a highly compatible mix of graduates and undergraduates, men and women, art historians and artists. Jennifer Melbe, new as printmaking professor , devoted many hours to teaching and assisting in the Scuola Grafica, reaping abundant and fine results that included a good deal of etching. Christ Wright, new as painting professor, was himself excited to be in Venice and worked closely with students, offering technical advice as well as constructive suggestions at UIA in both the studios and the garden, again yielding excellent results. Art history students enjoyed Dimitri Hazzikostas’ and Diana’s site visits and lectures on all matter from mosaics to mosaic restoration, from painting cycles to painting conservation, and architectural wonders and preservation. Two graduate students in art history worked on research for masters theses. Our all group events were many, including the traditional visit to Padua for Antonio Stevan’s lecture and generous hosting at the Giotto Chapel and Dimitri’s expertise on the Santo. The Maser-Bassano trip returned to the beautiful Trattoria al Castellaro and the hospitality of Gigi and Luisa for the midday meal in the hills above Bassano after the Villa Barabao visit with Diana; due to an enterprising student the we experienced a novel visit to secret caves used by the Resistence during World War II. Guest lecturers included Tracy Cooper of Temple University on Palladio, Paolo Spezzani of Universita` Ca’ Foscari Venice on non destructive analysis of paintings, and Stefania Sartori on wood conservation.

Pratt in Venice 2011 is June 8 – July 20 and applications are being accepted! Please get yours in by February 11!

For more information, please visit the official Pratt In Venice page.

Pratt in Venice Summer 2009

by Diana Gisolfi

Pratt in Venice 2009 marked the 25th anniversary of our Program. Fittingly it was a stellar year. Twenty-four participants included nine graduate students, from Art History and also Fine Arts and Computer Graphics. The undergraduates were majors in Fine Arts, Communication Design, many also completing minors in Art History, and majors in Art History. Graduate TCHADA alumna Gillian Sneed served as on-site assistant and supervised housing matters. She also organized and led a visit of all interested students to the Venice Biennale.

The climate cooperated, so Dimitri Hazzikostas’ Torcello trip started the program off beautifully. Greg Drasler, painting professor and Joe Stauber, printmaking professor, both in their second year with the program, worked wonderfully together and supported and pushed students well. The final crit, and the exhibition in October at Pratt, showed a great range of excellent work in both painting and printmaking/drawing.

Graduate assistants in the art history classes, Hilary Thompson and John Gribowich, undertook helping undergraduates in the intricacies of using the Marciana Library and the Quirini-Stampalia Library. And the nine students in Materials and Techniques came through with excellent research, with topics ranging from Venetian bricks, to early printed books and manuscripts, to meaning and technique in mosaics, to pigments and underdrawings in Bellini and Tintoretto, to sustaining Venice’s ecosystem.

We again enjoyed collaboration from local experts: Antonio Stevan at the Giotto chapel, Stefania Sartori in the wood sculpture conservation lab, Maestro Piero in the mosaic lab, Bernardo Molinas on frescoes, Paolo Spezzani on techniques for showing painting processes.

And we all enjoyed the spectacular fireworks on the Feast on the Redentore.

by Diana Gisolfi

Pratt in Venice 2009 marked the 25th anniversary of our Program. Fittingly it was a stellar year. Twenty-four participants included nine graduate students, from Art History and also Fine Arts and Computer Graphics. The undergraduates were majors in Fine Arts, Communication Design, many also completing minors in Art History, and majors in Art History. Graduate TCHADA alumna Gillian Sneed served as on-site assistant and supervised housing matters. She also organized and led a visit of all interested students to the Venice Biennale.

The climate cooperated, so Dimitri Hazzikostas’ Torcello trip started the program off beautifully. Greg Drasler, painting professor and Joe Stauber, printmaking professor, both in their second year with the program, worked wonderfully together and supported and pushed students well. The final crit, and the exhibition in October at Pratt, showed a great range of excellent work in both painting and printmaking/drawing.

Graduate assistants in the art history classes, Hilary Thompson and John Gribowich, undertook helping undergraduates in the intricacies of using the Marciana Library and the Quirini-Stampalia Library. And the nine students in Materials and Techniques came through with excellent research, with topics ranging from Venetian bricks, to early printed books and manuscripts, to meaning and technique in mosaics, to pigments and underdrawings in Bellini and Tintoretto, to sustaining Venice’s ecosystem.

We again enjoyed collaboration from local experts: Antonio Stevan at the Giotto chapel, Stefania Sartori in the wood sculpture conservation lab, Maestro Piero in the mosaic lab, Bernardo Molinas on frescoes, Paolo Spezzani on techniques for showing painting processes.

And we all enjoyed the spectacular fireworks on the Feast on the Redentore.

Students Share Experiences from Pratt in Venice 2009

Photo opp on the Palladio bridge at Bassano

Photo opp on the Palladio bridge at Bassano

Studying abroad in Venice last summer was truly a unique experience, one that could not be achieved in another city or with another foreign program.  Though enrolled in two art history courses, I rarely spent time in the classroom. Instead, my classmates and I explored the churches, palazzi, and scuole that not only house the city’s art, but are architectural themselves.  When not studying these monuments firsthand, we were in the conservation studios, observing and questioning the individuals responsible for protecting the city’s heritage from the ravages of time, pollution, pests and water, the latter problem being particularly Venetian.  One of my most memorable classes involved watching conservators restore, tessera by tessera, mosaics from the Basilica of San Marco, which was followed by a visit to the Orsoni Smalti factory to learn how the glass tesserae are produced. These two visits, along with the full hour spent examining Giotto’s frescos inside the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua with Antonio Stevan (the architect who designed its new entrance and climate control system), were the highlights of my six weeks abroad, opportunities made possible by the contacts which the Pratt in Venice faculty have cultivated over the past 25 years.

The research opportunities in Venice were also spectacular.  We had access to the Biblioteca Marciana as well as the libraries of the Fondazione Cini, Museo Correr, and Fondazione Querini-Stampaglia. For the Materials & Techniques class, I was able to take advantage of the Marciana’s collection of rare books, examining firsthand the illumination decorating three incunabula printed in Venice in 1470 and comparing them to illuminations done in manuscripts in the years leading up to the printing press’s arrival in Venice, in order to better understand how the introduction of printing affected local practices of book decoration. I was also able to unite my interests in art history and library science in my research for the Art History of Venice course, in which I studied the seventeenth-century library at the Benedictine monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore.  The ability to return and reexamine the Library as my research progressed, as well as the access I had to restoration photographs in the archive, greatly aided my understanding of its role in the monastic complex and its place in the history of library architecture.

Beyond these educational opportunities, I also enjoyed the pleasant change of scene and pace that Venice provided. Taking boats, known as vaporettos, instead of subways and buses; getting lost amid the winding streets, which would lead to discovering something new; seizing the chance to practice my Italian during the mid-afternoon espresso break; trying every flavor of gelato at the nearby gelateria… these were all aspects of my daily routine that have been sorely missed upon by return, and ones that I look forward to repeating when I return as part of the Pratt in Venice program in 2010.

- Hilary Thompson, graduate student in History of Art/Library Science

Materials and Techniques students visiting the mosaic conservation lab at San Marco

Materials and Techniques students visiting the mosaic conservation lab at San Marco

During Pratt in Venice 2009, I studied printmaking at the Scuola di Grafica with Professor Joseph Stauber. The studio was absolutely beautiful and an inspiring environment for making prints. The ceiling was lined with skylights. The lighting in that studio was probably my favorite thing about it, as well as the green canal that ran along its side. In those six weeks I made pronto prints, a new printmaking technique I had mastered by the end of the program. Relief, silkscreen, etching, and monoprints were also a possibility. Woodcarving tools, screens, and any sort of tool one could need printmaking were available to us. Even outside of the designated studio times the printmaking studio could be accessed by request. Although hardly any of our classes overlapped with other program’s access to the studio, I found it very interesting to see what printers from other schools were making in that same studio, or what prints they had left behind.

The work I made during those six weeks were inspired by my experiences outside the studio. I would make many sketches of my friends as we traveled, and from these sketches I made prints of my excursions and the people I met. My prints did not live and die in the studio. They were not completed from beginning to end in one room, as what often happens in studio spaces. The prints and drawings I made in Venice have an extension of life to them that I think is specific to my experience there. The prints I completed in Venice were literally conceived in a world without a studio, or in fact, their studio was the world. Last summer was my first time abroad and it is still hard for me to part with the work that I made there. I am an artist who is inspired by life, and being submerged in a life that is unlike the one I have ever known was a renewal for my work. Studying what I love doing in Venice shaped my ambitions to reach toward broader horizons that I did not know were there.

- Jennifer Dodson, senior painting major

Nick van Zanten presenting his work at the final critique

Nick van Zanten presenting his work at the final critique

I look back on my time in the Pratt in Venice program as being an influential point in my life, not only a pleasant experience or an escape from my quotidian occupations but a chance to learn a great deal more about the world and my art than I could have otherwise.  I loved the experience of actually living in Venice, and the freedom that that gave me to explore the city and surrounding country.  Not that six weeks was enough time to actually see all of the city – I never ran out of places to visit, and would have liked to have stayed much longer.  My paintings in and after Venice were considerably better than those that I made before, and I think that this is due partly, of course, to the professors in the program, but also simply to the city, and the light and colors that I have seen no where else.  The paintings that I created of Venice are probably, a year on, still my best work.  If not a life-changing experience, these six weeks were, at the very least, an event that dramatically improved and influenced my work.

-Nick Van Zaten, junior painting major

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