Venice, Italy and the surrounding region have long been known as a center for education, art, and the production of books. During this study abroad program we will visit Northern Italy to see art, visit historic libraries, and work in printing and...
Venice, Italy and the surrounding region have long been known as a center for education, art, and the production of books. During this study abroad program we will visit Northern Italy to see art, visit historic libraries, and work in printing and typography studios to create a limited-edition book written and illustrated by the members of the class, containing text printed on antique presses using movable type, and simple hand bookbinding. The history of books is multi-disciplinary, and this class is designed for students in many departments of the university including Art, English, Science, Engineering, History, and Education. All studio instruction is given at an introductory level and beginners are encouraged to apply.
Before the trip begins the students will work at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center to create handmade hardcover journals they will carry with them on the trip and use for writing, sketching, and making observations.
While in Venice the students will work at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica to create drypoint etchings. They will visit many historic sites including Piazza San Marco, the Accademia di Belle Arti, the Scuola di San Rocco, and the National Library of Venice. A day trip will be taken to the city of Padua to see the Scrovegni Chapel of Giotto and the podium where Galileo delivered his lectures at the Palazzo del Bo.
After a week in Venice the class will move to Verona. Here we will visit the Museo Conte, a small printing facility that has been in operation in the historic center of town for over 100 years, operated by the Conte family. We will also explore ancient Roman ruins and the medieval Piazza delle Erbe.
For the third portion of the trip the class will move to Florence for six days, to study at Firenze Arti Visive (http://www.firenze-artivisive.org), an art school housed in the former studio of the Renaissance artist and historian Giorgio Vasari. Here students will learn printing techniques and visit historic sites including the Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, and the Accademia, where Michelangelo’s David is displayed.
After leaving Florence the class will travel to Cornuda, a small town in the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains, where Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione (www.tipoteca.it) is located. Tipoteca is one of the largest letterpress museums in the world, with antique presses and an extraordinary collection of moveable type, including Art Nouveau and early 20th century Italian wood and lead characters. In the town of Cornuda, students will stay in an argiturismo—a country farmhouse that has been converted into a bed and breakfast—within walking distance of the studio facility. Here the class will work with Lucio Passerini, a noted fine press printer, to learn to set and print the text of their publication and bind the books by hand. Each student will complete the course with a copy of the collaborative publication.
When the students return to Michigan, an exhibition will be scheduled for the fall at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center to display the journals, intaglio prints, and completed letterpress publication, and share the students' experience with the community.