A world away from books and classrooms, a group of art scholars from Palm Beach Atlantic University recently spent eight days in Italy beholding the art of the masters.
Visiting one of the museums in the city of Florence "was like walking through an Italian Renaissance textbook," said Anne Ilcus, the University’s senior financial analyst and one of the trip participants.
|A group from PBA visits the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi with tour guide Antonio Autore, second from left.|
The seven-member tour group visited Rome, Florence and Venice during a trip to Italy led by PBA’s art department and offered through the University’s new Center for Experiential Learning. Along with students, the group included faculty, staff and alumni.
Ilcus, who holds a master’s degree in Italian Renaissance art history, formerly taught art history for three years in Florence.
"To see these places in use and to get a feel for the totality of the art was really memorable to the students," Ilcus said.
The group spent the first two days in Rome, where they toured such locations as the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon and the catacombs.
The next stop was Florence, but on the way the group stopped to visit the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. The basilica dates back to the 13th century and is adorned with frescoes and other works by major artists of the day.
In Florence, the team visited the Uffizi Gallery, home to the works of such artists as Boticelli, Raphael, Michelangelo and da Vinci. They also saw Michelangelo’s famed statue of David in the Accademia Gallery.
"Everyone was stunned by it," Ilcus said. "To see the actual sculpture was just amazing. You really appreciate its beauty and strength."
The trip also included a short tour of the University of Bologna. One of Europe’s oldest universities, it is believed to have been founded around 1088.
Afterward, the group went on a gondola ride in Venice and witnessed glass-blowing and lace-making demonstrations there.
Although PBA art students have traveled to Italy in the past, this was the first study-abroad Italian art history trip to be coordinated through the new CEL program, said James Craft, associate professor of art at PBA.
"We are hoping to create annual itineraries to Italy, Greece and other art historical destinations," Craft said, adding that Ilcus will be the group leader for next year’s trip.
The trip received support and encouragement from Dr. Lloyd Mims, dean of the School of Music and Fine Arts, and Dr. Randy Richards, director of PBA’s Center for Experiential Learning, Craft said.
In addition to Craft and Ilcus, others who went on the trip were students Abbie Ege and Maria Aranguren; Donna Craft, acquisitions coordinator for the Warren Library; and PBA alumni Jonathan and Amanda Sefik.
The trip was Amanda Sefik’s first to Italy. The 2010 graduate of PBA’s theatre program said she signed up in hopes of experiencing a different culture and gaining a more tangible sense of history.
Having members of the team who were familiar with the areas they visited was extremely helpful in that regard, Sefik said.
"I was able to appreciate the art so much more having teachers who could tell me the history or interesting facts about a certain piece of art that I did not know anything about," she said.