Note: Only students in SAIC's First-Year Scholars Program may register for this class.

Dates:
January 8–23, 2017 (depart January 7 if flying directly from the US)*
*Note: Dates and itinerary subject to change

Siena is a hill town in Tuscany that was first settled by the Etruscans in 900-400 BC. It reached its peak as a political, economic and artistic center in the Medieval period from 1150-1350 AD. During those years it prospered, enjoying a “golden” era as an independent republic with a representative government, where enlightened trade and economic philosophies fostered modern banking practices and distinctive styles of painting, sculpture and architecture developed in the service of aesthetic pleasure and civic pride. Today, Siena’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city’s art, medieval architecture, museums, archives, university and cuisine are internationally renowned.  

This study trip takes students to Siena for 16 days. Living the Past in the Present will use the archival and cultural resources there to give young artists greater insight into how historical interests and study can serve as a catalyst for their own growth and work as contemporary artists and thinkers. We will be interacting with artists, historians, archivists, art and architecture conservators, scientists and ordinary Sienese to understand how the experience of growing up, living, working and creating in a place with hundreds of years of vibrant historical and cultural traditions affects contemporary identity and expression.

Our time on the study trip will primarily be used for visiting and learning about sites, collections, and the people who study and live amongst them. We will also be gathering reference information to document what we are looking at and learning about: sketches, drawings, lists, diagrams, photographs, research notes, and reflective writing. There will be two studio assignments that we will work on and complete in Siena.

FYSP students will have unusual access to Siena’s resources through our partnership with the staff and faculty at the Siena Art Institute (SART). The class will be physically based at SART and they will provide classroom facilities with wi-fi, obtain accommodations for our students, facilitate access to Siena resources, furnish (as needed) guest lecturers who are appropriate to the themes and content of specific classes and provide logistical support and referral services to SAIC faculty as needed. Students will have a common workspace (mostly for digital and drawing work) at SART, but they will spend most of their time in Siena investigating archives, visiting public and private collections, artists' studios and/or researchers labs. Through these contacts they will learn about the ways in which the history and cultural traditions of Siena inform daily life and identity today.

These activities will be augmented by day trips: to Florence to learn about achievements in Renaissance art, architecture and science; to San Gimignano to see the extant medieval towers there and visit Galleria Continua, a well-known contemporary art space; to the abandoned Abbey of San Galgano in the Tuscan countryside; to visit the Giardino di Tarocchi (a sculpture garden on the theme of Tarot cards by Nikki St. Phalle) in Capalbio, Tuscany; and Il Bosco della Ragnaia (a forest and garden created by the American artist Sheppard Craige) in San Giovanni d’Asso in Tuscany.

Credits: 3 credits Contemporary Practices, Research Studio II

Note: Only students in SAIC's First-Year Scholars Program may register for this class.

Instructors:
Brian Sikes, Contemporary Practices
Amy Yoes, Contemporary Practices

Online registration begins: October 12, 2016

Deposit due at registration: $525