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.