Here is the abstract for “The Renaissance of the Pilgrimage”
A pilgrimage to Venice, “La Serenissima,” was obligatory for those making the Grand Tour since the seventeenth century, especially for artists. From Turner to Stieglitz, artists set up their easels or cameras at specific sites in the city to transform these views into resplendent visions. My dream to recreate such a visit took flight with a chance encounter with a professor of Communication, and the collaboration has resulted in a course for students at the university to learn about and reflect on the history, art, architecture and performing arts of the city, the techniques of watercolor, and on Venice as a symbol that permeates Western culture (even Venice, California, and Las Vegas!). A post-semester trip in May, 2011 will include a stay in a palazzo to allow students to walk in the footsteps of the masters to create a personal record of their pilgrimage. This presentation will review the process by which this course has evolved and the outcomes expected when students encounter the masterpieces of some of the artists of the past who were influenced by Venice, and when they endeavor to put their own experience with the city to paper and to contemporary visual media.