Course Descriptions IN Orvieto

SPRING 2014 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

ORV101: Italian Language Studies: semester-long course in conversational Italian with the central purpose of assisting students' full participation in the life of the Orvieto community. [2 credits]

1st Month

ORV 270: Disegno in Orvieto
(Instructor: Matthew Doll)
This drawing-based course is taken during the first month of the semester by all students, art majors and non-art majors together. The course prepares each student to engage deeply with his or her surroundings, giving the visual language of description a lead role in forming our relationship to the landscape and townscape. It sets the stage for deepening these connections made through eyes, mind and heart in each succeeding course by initiating the relationship to the texts and images and fusing the historic setting of Orvieto with our community life. [4 credits]

2nd Month

ORV 355: Renaissance Narrative
(Instructor: John Skillen)
This course compares the ways in which stories were told in the literature and in the visual art of medieval-Renaissance Europe (focusing, of course, on Italy). If this task sounds overly sophisticated (or, worse, potentially boring), it is no different in nature than the fun conversations you have had with your friends comparing and contrasting the various movie versions made of Jane Austen novels with the novels themselves, or the conversations you’ve surely had about how the Harry Potter movies compare to the novels, or the Tolkien stories.

Our focus will be on the fresco cycles so famously marking the civic and religious landscape of Renaissance Italy. These murals existed as visual interpretations of influential written narratives that were known almost by heart by the communities whose life and work they served. Many of these stories were fundamental for European Christian culture, such as Pope Gregory’s Life of St. Benedict, St. Bonaventure’s Life of St. Francis, Dante’s Divine Comedy, the Golden Legend, Boccaccio’s Decameron, and others.

But if the period of the Italian Renaissance (indicating broadly the period 1300-1550) was rich in visual narrative, the age of the Renaissance in Europe in general was equally rich in verbal narrative: from the literary works of major authors such as Dante, Boccaccio, and Chaucer, to lots of sacred drama cycles, saints lives encyclopedically gathered in compendia such as the Golden Legend, and tons of chivalric stories about Arthur and his knights. [4 credits]

ORV 374: (Special Topics in Art) Painting (Instructor: Marie-Dominique Miserez)
An advanced studio in the methods and materials of tempera painting, with historical attention to the devotional tradition of Renaissance painting. [4 credits]

3rd Month

ORV 350: Poetry and Ekphrasis
(Instructor: Karen Halvorsen Schreck)
This creative writing class renews a lively conversation in the Renaissance concerning the relation between literature and the pictorial arts, between word and image. Interest was reborn in the classical tradition of ekphrasis in which literary writers responded to works of visual art, and, in a sort of reverse ekphrasis, visual artists gave visual form to literary texts. This course will give you the opportunity to explore and expand your skills as a writer not of poetry but of ekphrastic fiction. We will integrate the essential elements of fiction as we respond as writers to the profoundly artistic environment of Italy. Our readings will provide springboards for inspiration concerning the possibilities for our own written work. As we reflect on these readings, and most especially as we reflect on the visual art that surrounds us, we will discover the ways in which a chosen artwork may influence plot, character, setting, point of view, dialogue, and the essential meaning of the fiction we create. [4 credits]

ORV 378: (Special Topics in Art) Digital Photography (Instructor: Greg Schreck)
Photography Via Art ViaPassion will be an exercise and a method intended to make students’ artistic process foundational, routine, and, for those who choose to make the leap, a contemplative, prayerful way to locate and look at what you find meaningful. Whether you choose photography or some other form of art, the goal of this time is to establish a process of exploration and discovery that fits into the daily routine of life, that cherishes the subject matter and ideas that are most important to your work, and that helps you to flow (flow: ‘the psychology of optimal experience’). What is your script, the one you are meant to live? Students will learn to make images connected intimately to their creative concerns. The class will also explore historical and contemporary examples in photography, art, and poetry. [4 credits]

4th Month

ORV 379: (Special topics in history) Theology of Art in Christian historical tradition
(Instructor: Rebekah Smick)
This course explores significant ways that Christians have thought about the arts, artistry and art culture in Eastern and Western Christendom. The course will compare the varieties of theologies of art that have emerged from within the Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox traditions as well as consider what distinguishes a “theology” of art by investigating historical and contemporary conceptions of art and theology. The study will involve looking at paintings, icons, altarpieces, and socially and culturally engaged works of art as well as pertinent theological and philosophical writings. The methodology used in the course will be a mix of illustrated lecture and class discussion on student reflections and assigned readings. [4 credits]

ORV 376: (Special Topics in Art) Text & Image (Instructor: Jeremy Botts)
In this course we will explore the use of letterforms and their interaction with—and integration into—imagery in a way that links the current use of typography to Orvieto's rich architectural and visual history. Participants will conduct a careful visual study of Orvieto's architectural and decorative elements by collecting their own images of the place and using those images in collage to create letterforms by hand from local elements. Work will then move to the screen as students use local elements pulled from their image collections to make edits to existing letterforms. These edits will be refined and simplified into a visual language to be applied to a whole set of letters. Finally, initial illuminated letters will be produced by each student based on what they have learned, and informed by the local aesthetics, to accompany a text (chosen in collaboration with the poetry class). Those letters will be set along with the rest of the assigned text into a format ready for exhibition. [4 credits]


FALL 2014 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS (provisional listing)

ORV101: Italian Language Studies: semester-long course in conversational Italian with the central purpose of assisting students' full participation in the life of the Orvieto community. [2 credits]

1st Month

ORV 270: Disegno in Orvieto (Instructor: Matthew Doll)
This drawing-based course is taken during the first month of the semester by all students, art majors and non-art majors together. The course prepares each student to engage deeply with his or her surroundings, giving the visual language of description a lead role in forming our relationship to the landscape and townscape. It sets the stage for deepening these connections made through eyes, mind and heart in each succeeding course by initiating the relationship to the texts and images and fusing the historic setting of Orvieto with our community life. [4 credits]

2nd Month

ORV 377: (Special Topics in History) The Reformations of the 16th century
(Instructor: Stephen Pointer)
A study of the reformist movements both of Protestantism itself and within the Catholic Church. Special attention will be given to key Italian figures, some of whom followed the Reformers of northern Europe, others who remained faithful Catholics (such as Vittoria Colonna who sojourned in Orvieto), as well as to the implications of these Reformist movements for the arts and culture. [4 credits]

ORV 371: Painting Studio at Orvieto (Instructor: Philippe Fretz)
An advanced studio in the methods and materials of oil painting, with historical attention to the narrative tradition of Renaissance painting. [4 credits]

3rd Month

ORV 350: Poetry and Ekphrasis
(Instructor: Christine Perrin)
This creative writing class renews a lively conversation in the Renaissance concerning the relation between literature and the pictorial arts, between word and image. Interest was reborn in the classical tradition of ekphrasis in which literary writers responded to works of visual art, and, in a sort of reverse ekphrasis, visual artists gave visual form to literary texts. [4 credits]

ORV 374: (Special Topics in Art) Portraiture in Oil (Instructor: Catherine Prescott)
An advanced studio in the methods and materials of portrait painting, with historical attention to the tradition of Renaissance portraiture. [4 credits]

4th Month

ORV 379: (Special topics in History) Introduction to Medieval Monasticism (Instructor: Liesl Smith) A study of one of the most influential modes of spiritual life and intellectual thought, as well as of institutional impact, in the Middle Ages. We will focus on the development and ideals of the monastic movement, particularly on the Italian contribution by people like Benedict and his sister Scolastica, Francis and Claire of Assisi, Bonaventure, and Catherine of Siena. Readings will come from primary sources, and the semester's excursions will take us to places central for Italian monasticism. We will practice for ourselves several of the monastic disciplines, from book copying to keeping the liturgical offices of daily prayer. [4 credits]

ORV 372: Sculpture Studio at Orvieto (Instructor: Ted Prescott)
Sculpture in the context of Italy’s long tradition of stone carving, with attention given to mass and space relationships, volume, surface planes, textural variety and narrative organization. [4 credits]


SPRING 2015 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS (provisional listing)

ORV101: Italian Language Studies: semester-long course in conversational Italian with the central purpose of assisting students' full participation in the life of the Orvieto community. [2 credits]

1st Month

ORV 270: Disegno in Orvieto
(Instructor: Matthew Doll)
This drawing-based course is taken during the first month of the semester by all students, art majors and non-art majors together. The course prepares each student to engage deeply with his or her surroundings, giving the visual language of description a lead role in forming our relationship to the landscape and townscape. It sets the stage for deepening these connections made through eyes, mind and heart in each succeeding course by initiating the relationship to the texts and images and fusing the historic setting of Orvieto with our community life. [4 credits]

2nd Month

ORV 360: Dante’s Divine Comedy (Instructors: Marilyn and John McEntyre)
A study of Dante's Divine Comedy (in a dual-language edition) will focus on plot, underlying theological and philosophical concepts, and historical and political background, with attention to the visual culture that informs Dante’s encyclopedic epic and explains its relation to visual epics such as Signorelli’s Last Judgment in the Orvieto cathedral. [4 credits]

ORV 372: Sculpture Studio at Orvieto (Instructor: Patrick Marold)
Recognizing the functional and symbolic qualities of local materials that define and articulate the natural setting and the urban context of Orvieto, this course will focus upon creating sculpture that addresses the viewer in the broader context of the city and countryside. Through the exploration of various sites in and around Orvieto, the studio and field work will analyze existing archeological, religious and civic monuments to understand their historic and cultural meaning in order to sensitively imagine and communicate new works that may occupy space in similar conditions. The semester will culminate with site-specific, group projects that utilize existing natural resources for expressive purposes to invite unique spatial and communal perceptions in relationship to the architecture and the landscape. [4 credits]

3rd Month

ORV 340: Iconography and Spirituality in Late Antique and Medieval Italy
(Instructor to be confirmed)
The interface of the visual arts, Christian doctrine, spirituality, monasticism, and politics during the middle ages in the experience of lay Christians, clergy, and monastics in Italy. [4 credits]

ORV 376: (Special Topics in Art) Experience by Design (Instructor: David Kasparek)
With Orvieto itself as the source of content and context, students will learn the practices of design and creative problem-solving to create a body of work that represents their experience of the town. A series of preliminary assignments (both individual and collaborative) will draw on techniques of visual research to probe issues of representation, memory, identity, and place. The artifacts that comprise the final projects should demonstrate a coherent integration of key elements of good design: typography, images, writing, formats/ structures, and site-specific contexts.  [4 credits]

4th Month

ORV 350: Poetry and Ekphrasis
(Instructor: Mark Stevick)
This creative writing class renews a lively conversation in the Renaissance concerning the relation between literature and the pictorial arts, between word and image. Interest was reborn in the classical tradition of ekphrasis in which literary writers responded to works of visual art, and, in a sort of reverse ekphrasis, visual artists gave visual form to literary texts. [4 credits]

ORV 371: Painting Studio at Orvieto (Instructor: Cherith Lundin)
An advanced studio in the methods and materials of oil painting, with historical attention to the devotional tradition of Renaissance painting. [4 credits]