by Diana Gisolfi

The Pratt in Venice summer program of 2008 enjoyed several novelties. The printmaking course,  developed and taught for years by Clare Romano and John Ross, was turned over to Joe Stauber, now  printmaking professor at Pratt and once a student of Romano. Romano and Ross met with Stauber in the  spring and the transition was seamless. Greg Drasler taught painting in Venice for the first time.  This team received much praise from participants and will carry on in 2009.

The student participants included outside students, graduate students in the MFA and HA masters  programs, undergraduates from various studio departments and a strong group of undergraduate BFA’s in  Art History.

Although it rained for the first few days and the Torcello trip was postponed twice, Dimitri  Hazzikostas finally had a fine day to introduce the group to Venetian history and early buildings with  splendid mosaics at Torcello. Professor Fiorentin and Massimo Angeletti at the Universita`  Internazionale dell’Arte provided their traditional hospitality and also the new convenience of  wireless internet (which worked most of the time) and two computers available to participants. Our  in-house library at UIA received some additions, sadly due to a sale at our favorite bookstore,  Libreria Sansovino, which was giving up its status as an art bookstore. The libraries at the Cini  Foundation, the Marciana (up and running after renovations in 2007), and the Querini-Stampalia were  kept busy by our students and the painting studios were fully occupied and open regularly on Saturday.  Printmaking at the Scula Internazionale di Grafica took advantage of some full day sessions and the  production was impressive.

In our traditional visit to Padua, Architetto Antonio Stevan was again our generous host and expert  lecturer on the conservation of the Giotto Chapel. On the trip to the Villa Barbaro at Maser and  Bassano Joe Stauber organized a relay race to wake the group up for drawing in plein air after the  abundant pranzo and Greg Drasler conducted individual crits. Special lectures included Professor  Botter on fresco conservation, Paolo Spezzani on infra-red imaging, X-rays and ultraviolet images in  Venetian painting, and Robert Morgan on global art today. In addition to our visits to laboratories  such as the mosaic studio in San Marco, Materials and Techniques had a private visit to exhibition  concerning the restoration and to the top of the Clock Tower in San Marco, where the bronze Moors  again ring the bell and the clockworks again function.