DYSON DEPARTMENT OF FINE ARTS AND ACCADEMIA DI BELLE ARTI COLLABORATION:
"Masters in the Making" Studio Arts Exchange Program
Photos by Professor Linda Gottesfeld and Mary Zinn Goodman
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This summer, a unique four-week study abroad program took place in the Mugello municipality in the Tuscan region of Italy, providing a vast terrain of splendor from which Pace and Italian students created landscape art.
In this new exchange program between Pace University and the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze in Florence, Italy, Pace students spent their first week at the Accademia studying figure drawing, learning fresco techniques, attending lectures, and absorbing art historical presentations by art professors from the Accademia in visits to the Uffizi, the Accademia, San Marco, and the Pitti Palace museums of Florence. The Italian professors also led field lectures to monasteries, churches, and small villas, sharing their knowledge of the art found there.
One glorious month in Tuscany’s Mugello region
During the ensuing three weeks, students stayed in the Mugello region north of Florence to put what they learned into practice. Inspired by the fabulous surrounding landscape, Pace and Italian students began creating their artwork, using a former tobacco warehouse, or ‘tabaccaia,’ as their studio home base. Following a longstanding Italian tradition, advanced Italian art students passed along time-honored techniques to the new Pace students, teaching them how to make their own canvases, mix pastels and acrylics paints, and prepare painting surfaces. Side by side, Pace and Italian students painted and sketched the magnificent landscape vistas found just outside their door ― sunflower and poppy fields, old villas, a farm, rolling hills, and a lake ― where nature and the ancient are juxtaposed with the modern world of transmission towers and housing developments.
"It was an experience I will
-- Mary Zinn Goodman ’07
An unparalleled course of study and cultural experience
“It was an amazing learning experience as well as a personal growth experience,” says art major Mary Zinn Goodman ’07, one of seven Pace students on the trip. “I not only gained painting skills and learned new techniques, but more important, I came away with a different viewpoint about working with and understanding people who are culturally very different from Americans. It was an experience I will never forget.”
Language was not a barrier. “Although none of the Pace students spoke Italian, a tremendous bond developed between the two groups,” says Professor of Fine Arts Linda Gottesfeld, who accompanied the Pace group. “Art was the glue that brought them together and served as their method of communication. It was a wonderful and productive collaboration between the talented students that transcended their cultures and resulted in beautiful landscape art.”
Outcomes: “The Hills and Heavens in the Mugello: The Angels of Beato Angelico” Exhibit
All of the students are showing drawings created during this exchange program for the traveling exhibit “Hills and Heavens in the Mugello: The Angels of Beato Angelico,” which was on display in Italy this summer, and again on exhibit from October 26 through November 15 at Pace’s Schimmel Center for the Arts lobby. Notably, the only painting chosen for the exhibit is Goodman's “Maria vs. Nature.” This exhibit is the second in a series in collaboration with the Accademia that began last year with the “In the Valley of the Master” displayed in Italy and at Pace University.
As part of the exchange program, ten Italian students will be hosted by Pace University during the time of the “Hills and Heavens” exhibit. While here, they will be engaged in activities similar to those that Pace students enjoyed in Florence. “We are so looking forward to seeing the Italian students again and being able to reciprocate their wonderful hospitality,” says Goodman.