Director's Report, 2016


Diana Gisolfi, professor and program director

Venice 2016 enjoyed beautiful climate, good company, excellent food, wonderful special events, and serious work!

Our first supper was indoors due to rain, but it was a good start, cozy and companionable. We tried our Signora near UIA for lunch after the orientation walkabout and ate all her tramezzini in record time. Torcello, led by Joe Kopta, was special as ever, and soon after on a Sunday he lead a group to Ravenna for more mosaic beauty.

In the Materials and Techniques class, our first visits were to the San Marco mosaic restoration lab and to the Orsoni mosaic factory. At Ca' d'Oro, we studied damaged frescoes and a range of other media. Other special events included the wood conservation class of Stefania Sartori, and conservation site visits to San Sebastian (stone, mural, and canvases of the altar area) and the Frari (Titian's Pesaro Altarpiece). 

Jennifer Melby's printmakers working at the Scuola Grafica produced beautiful and technically sophisticated etchings, aquatints, and monotypes. Chris Wright's painters worked weekends and weekdays bringing forth large canvases and small in a range of approaches.

The Padua trip was again graced by the presence of Antonio Stevan, preservation architect of the Giotto chapel, followed by close study of damaged Mantegnas, early Titian frescoes, and Donatello bronzes. Our day in the country north of Venice included Giorgione's town of Castelfranco, Palladio's villas at Fanzola and Maser, a midday feast at casa Gigi e Luisa, sketching in the hills, and gelato. 

The on-site assistant was Andrew Kurczak, a Pratt in Venice alumnus ('11) and former Peggy Guggenheim Collection intern, who expertly led a special tour of the modernist works at the Guggenheim for the group. 

After the great Festa del Redentore and the amazing fireworks, our cries showed abundant excellence, and we celebrated our last supper together watching the sunset over the water on the Zattere.