Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA) and the Studio for Art, Faith & History continue their series of winter study tours addressing the question “Who makes the Art Work?" The 2017 Study Tour (January 14–23) is especially designed for those who collect art, run galleries, and curate shows.
The seminar takes advantage of the Studio’s spectacular location in the clifftop town of Orvieto (Italy), situated in the Umbrian countryside between Florence and Rome. The rich body of medieval-Renaissance art easily reached from Orvieto provokes fresh perspectives on the conditions of art-making in our own time and the role that an art-rich landscape can play within and without our own communities of faith.
Francis and Dominic: The Arts of Devotion
January 25–February 4, 2017
Rev. Dr. Susan and Dr. John Skillen combine their interests in offering a pilgrimage-retreat that follows in the steps of Saints Francis and Dominic. At the beginning of the 13th century, these two young men, one in Spain and one in Italy, were simultaneously drawn towards a new form of spiritual life as mendicants rather than monastics. While living in the traditional manner in small communities obedient to a shared rule of life, they cultivated a socially-engaged outward focus towards serving the needs of those in the world around them. The rapid spread of their offshoot communities brought spiritual renewal to church and society.
Orvieto has strong associations with the two theologians—one Dominican, one Franciscan—who remain towering figures in the history of the church. St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest of the scholastic theologians and philosophers, lived and taught for a number of years in the Dominican monastery in Orvieto. St. Bonaventure, born in nearby Cività da Bagnoregio, gave lasting shape to Franciscan ideals through a theology of creation and of prayer.
Theme of the Retreat
Our particular focus will be on why and how the arts of painting, music, and poetry found a welcome place in the preaching, teaching, and devotional practices of the Franciscan and Dominican movements.
The Dominicans used the arts to give visual form to ideas and to cultivate intellectually rigorous forms of meditation. The Franciscans appreciated the power of the arts to arouse emotion and to strengthen the affective side of knowing and loving God and our neighbors.
Jerusalem & Athens Winter Seminar in Orvieto, Italy.
December 29, 2016 to January 14, 2017
The Studio for Art, Faith & History joins forces with the Center for Faith & Inquiry to offer an annual seminar that combines the great books, Socratic approach of the Center for Faith & Inquiry’s Jerusalem & Athens Forum honors program with the emphasis of the Gordon IN Orvieto semester program on experiencing great art and great books “in situ”—in their original settings. Registration for undergraduate students includes discounted tuition for the 4-credit course. Alumni and adult learners will pay only the costs of the program.
The seminar opens up to a wider circle of students, alumni and adult learners the theme that gives the Jerusalem & Athens Forum (JAF) program its name: Tertullian's question, asked in the year 200, “What has Jerusalem to do with Athens, the Church with the Academy?”
Each January this special Great Books/Great Sites International Seminar applies Tertullian’s question to an in situ study of one or more of the perennial topics addressed by classical and Christian thinkers and artists in the medieval/Renaissance/early modern period of European history—topics that persisted through the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries of the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation.
The 2017 winter seminar, led by classical scholar and gifted musician Dr. Graeme Bird, studies the relation of classical musical theory and harmony to the practice of architecture and art in the medieval-Renaissance period and compares pre-modern understanding of the nature and effect of music to the understanding and practice of music in our own postmodern age. Excursions to Florence, Rome, and Siena focus on art and architecture of particular relevance to the theme.
The Classical Academic Press Summer Seminar
“What has Jerusalem to do with Athens?”
July 3–16, 2016, Orvieto
The Studio for Art, Faith & History has partnered with the Classical Academic Press to host a two-week study program in Orvieto for a group of students selected from classical-Christian academies around the United States.
Tertullian’s question, asked around the year 200, remains as new as it is old: “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”
On what terms have educated Christians over the centuries allowed the classical and the Christian—the Greco-Roman and the Judeo-Christian intellectual heritages—to mix in the same classroom?
No classical-Christian academy can avoid articulating an apologia for Why Christians Should Read The Pagan Classics—to cite the subtitle of Louis Markos’s recent book, From Achilles to Christ.
What is the Christian mind to make of the rich and sophisticated heritage of classical thought, literature and culture, so full of useful tools of learning, so astute in its exploration and analysis of nature and history, of the human psyche and the polis, of human artistic endeavors … and yet falling short of a wisdom unto salvation? Dante’s Virgil can lead the pilgrim only so far.
The historic clifftop town of Orvieto offers an inspirational setting to reflect on this theme. The town itself is an archeological-architectural palimpsest of the Etruscan, Roman, medieval, and Renaissance strata present everywhere in contemporary Orvieto. The classical is notably integrated with the Christian in the decoration of the Orvieto Duomo. One could hardly ask for a richer distillation of our theme than is found in the magnificent fresco cycle of the End Times, Last Things, and Last Judgment in the San Brizio Chapel.
Lilly Fellows Program Summer Seminar for College Teachers
June 12–July 2, 2016
Restoring Art to a Place in the Community: New Lessons from Early Renaissance Italy
The Studio for Art, Faith & History hosts the 2016 Lilly Fellows Program Summer Seminar for College Teachers at Gordon College's facilities in Orvieto, Italy. A Lilly Foundation grant funds twelve faculty members in art, art history, Biblical studies, and Christian ministries from LFP member institutions to spend three weeks in Orvieto studying a theme at the heart of the Studio's mission.