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Course Descriptions

Students will be able to choose to participate in two of the four courses listed below:

Tuscan Treasures from Gardens to Grapes

3 Credit Hours

Instructor: Joyce M. Hardin, PhD

In this course a sense of place and culture in Tuscany will be examined through two regional icons: gardens and food. The first part of the course will focus on the Tuscan Italian Renaissance Garden, which eventually became known across the world as the “Italian style garden”. The Italian Renaissance Garden will be explored through an examination of its history and cultural significance. The second part of the course will explore modern Tuscany through a cultural study of the local agriculture and food.

The course is divided into 4 parts:

Introduction and Early Garden History

Italian Renaissance Garden

Italian Agricultural and Tuscan Culture

Tuscan Food and Culture

Landscape Painting

3 Credit Hours

Instructor: Matthew Lopas

For centuries artists have made a pilgrimage to Italy to study the great visual art of Italian masters, to paint the stunning beauty of the varied Italian landscapes, and to sample the food, wine, and lifestyle of the Italian people. In this course, students will paint from their perception in nearby orchards and vineyards, at the grounds of the local Count’s castle, as well as in a beautiful courtyard at Petrarch’s Villa. Students will read and explore the work of Piero Della Francesca to understand the historical context and narrative specifically behind his masterwork, “Legend of the True Cross”. The students will imbibe the atmosphere that has produced some of the world’s greatest art while exploring the aesthetic sensibility of Tuscan life.

Shakespeare in Italy: A Journey of the Mind

3 Credit Hours

Instructor: Mace Perlman

Shakespeare, the great dramatic poet of the modern world, with one foot planted in the world of classical antiquity and the other stretching out over our contemporary theatre, was clearly inspired by the stories and theatrical characters of Renaissance Italy. What was it in the Italian spirit that so fascinated him? The mask characters of Italian comedy furnished him not only with universal archetypes to riff upon with his own special variations; they also provided him with a window into the unique and varied worlds of the Venetian merchant, the Bolognese doctor, the Bergamask servant, the Spanish soldier: the many local cultures and dialects which made up the rich tapestry of the Italian peninsula.

Our course will journey through Shakespeare’s plays with an eye and ear for their local Italian roots, from The Taming of the Shrew with its roots in Ariosto to Twelfth Night and the anonymous Sienese comedy which inspired it, from the letters of Andrea Calmo as they relate to the role of Pantalone and Shylock in The Merchant of Venice to the sensual and illusionistic art of Giulio Romano and its transformation in The Winter’s Tale. We will see the tragicomic sensibility at work in the Italian novellas which inspired Shakespeare’s storytelling, and discover his own unique versions of the Italian masked characters, encountering pantaloons, doctors, and captains as we discover in Shakespeare’s many servants, clowns and fools, their bloodlines in the first and second zannis of the northern Italian tradition.

The History of Renaissance Art

3 Credit Hours

Instructor: Deborah Cibelli, PhD

The course covers the visual arts and architecture of different artistic centers of Italy from 1200-1600 with a detailed study of the churches, cathedrals, palaces, paintings, and sculptures of Arezzo. Illustrated lectures, readings, and assignments with visits to the historic monuments and museums of Arezzo and visits to other regional centers.

Arezzo is located in eastern Tuscany, south of Florence. As residents of Arezzo students will learn of its importance for the Etruscans and Romans, visiting the Roman amphitheater and archeological museum with its impressive collections of ancient art. They will be able to study monuments from the late medieval period when the city was under ecclesiastical rule, during the early Renaissance when Arezzo became a commune and during the High Renaissance when the city came under control of Cosimo I Duke of Florence who later became Grand Duke of Tuscany.

The monuments available for study include medieval churches such as Santa Maria della Pieve, built in the Romanesque style and the Cathedral, one of the finest examples of Tuscan Gothic from the 13th century. Other structures in Arezzo show the adaptation of classical forms typical of the architects working during the Renaissance period.

Many of the churches, palaces, and museums feature sculptures, paintings and collections of ceramics from the artists active in Arezzo such as Piero della Francesca who painted the fresco of The Legend of the True Cross in San Francesco during the 1450s and Giorgio Vasari who was born in Arezzo and wrote the Lives of the most excellent painters, sculptors, and architects, one of the most influential narrative histories of Renaissance art that was first published in 1550.

During the course of study, students will visit sites in Arezzo and will travel to Florence to visit the Uffizi Gallery and other museums, important religious structures such as the Duomo, the Baptistery of Florence, Santa Maria Novella, and San Lorenzo.


6 Total Credit Hours

Summer 2017: July 2 – 29

Application Deadline: March 15

PLEASE NOTE: The dates above include arrival and departure. The Accademia dell’Arte does not accommodate students before or after these dates.

APPLY NOW for this program.

The Accademia dell’Arte undergraduate program is fully accredited by Hendrix College.


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