After a semester of learning about Baroque art in Dr. Jill Pederson’s art history course, 13 students traveled to Rome in May for a first-hand glimpse of the culture and art they had studied.
Accompanied by Pederson, assistant professor of Art History, and Bonnie Hayes, assistant professor of Art History and director of the First-Year Experience, students examined the works of artists such as Annibale Carracci, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and Gian Lorenzo Bernini during an exhaustive itinerary of visits to Rome’s Baroque churches, museums, squares, and historic palaces. These daily excursions to artistically and culturally significant sites allowed students to develop a more profound understanding of Rome’s unique cultural heritage, while positioning its importance in the broader scope of Western history.
Students presented their own research on topics such as Borromini’s church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza (1642-50), Andrea Sacchi’s “Allegory of Divine Wisdom” in the Palazzo Barberini, and Bernini’s “Tomb of Alexander VII” (1671-78) in Saint Peter’s Basilica. Pederson set up the study of 17th century art with a visit to the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo’s High Renaissance paintings on the ceiling and the scene of the “Last Judgment” on the altar wall. Students also enjoyed the opportunity to visit some of Rome’s ancient monuments, including the Pantheon and Hadrian’s Villa, and the Renaissance gardens at the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, tucked away in the countryside near Rome. While many students never had been abroad, they immediately felt at home in the warm Mediterranean sun. After one week, many expressed their desire to stay in Rome—and even eagerly began to learn a bit of the language.