Director's Report, 2013

Diana Gisolfi, Director

Participants in the 2013 Pratt in Venice program were both thoroughly engaged in the experience and seriously productive in their work. Again a congenial mix of graduate and undergraduate students from various departments and programs at Pratt took part. Art History, Fine Arts, Library Science, Communication Design, Art Education, and Art Therapy were represented. Alumnus Joe Kopta (PiV '07, BFA/MS '10) again joined the team as program coordinator. Early in the program he organized a new, optional, Sunday trip – to Ravenna – to study mosaics earlier than any on the islands of Venice. Chris Wright’s painting class often brought easels outside – to investigate and depict in varied ways the light and reflections in Venice. Jennifer Melby’s printmakers explored etching, aquatint and other techniques. The joint final critique showed abundant, diverse and high quality works of art.


Painting Junior Luke Watson at work (photo: Chris Wright).


In Art History all enjoyed the boat trip to Torcello, where Dorothy Shepard invited Joe Kopta to lecture on the mosaics. Materials and Techniques students were able to mount to the monks’ loft in San Sebastiano and hear from conservators and Amalia Basso of the Soprintendenza about the last phase in the conservation of Veronese’s frescoes.

Special lectures included Stefania Sartori, wood conservationist, Paolo Spezzani in a lecture open to all on non destructive investigation of materials and techniques, and Robert Morgan on the Biennale. The Biennale itself was all over town, not only in the main sites at the Arsenale and the Giardini. What distinguished the Biennale of 2013 was, in fact, its installation in many private palaces around the city. This opened such palazzi to visitors and challenged 21st century artists to create installations that might interact with spaces built in the 15th, 16th or 17th century.

On trips to Padua trip and the villa Barbaro there were innovations. After the visit to the Giotto chapel and the area of the Santo, a few faculty and students went to Sta. Giustina, a 16th century Benedictine church with early Christian remains, recently unearthed. On the villa trip, after Castelfranco and Giorgione we visited Palladio’s Villa Emo decorated by Zelotti before continuing to Palladio’s Villa Barbaro at Maser and to our rustic meal and art-making on the hills outside Bassano. This addition brought universal approval and will be repeated.


Students Lilian Thorpe, Jessie Novik and Anthony Vasquez observing Zelotti's frescoes in Palladio's Villa Emo (photo: Diana Gisolfi).