BU Abroad: Oil Painting in Watery Venice
Erika Rosendale connects her art to an artful city
Venice is sinking. The College of Fine Arts students who attend BU’s Venice Studio Arts Program are reminded of this whenever it rains and water on the sidewalk outside the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica rises above their ankles.
To say that Venice is sagging under the weight of its artistic and historic reputation requires only a little poetic license; to say that art students visit Venice not only for technical instruction, but as a pilgrimage to a city that is an art form in and of itself requires no exaggeration at all.
“I think I’m still absorbing the whole experience,” says Erika Rosendale (CFA’09), who spent fall semester last year in the Venice program. “Art is integrated into the Italian culture as opposed to just hanging on white museum walls. Experiencing those works in the setting they are meant to be viewed in was amazing.”
On December 1, 2008, Rosendale didn’t make it to class, as floodwaters in Venice reached their highest point in 22 years. Water climbed up stairs and into cafes, storefronts, and classrooms of the Scuola, including Erika’s painting studio. While none of her artwork was damaged, it did create an extra drudge, packing up pieces for shipment back to Boston.
“I won’t lie,” she says from the comfort of her Allston apartment. “I was happy to be back in my own country.”
She remains deeply influenced by Renaissance art. “Seeing some of the most amazing artwork in the setting, art that I base a lot of my work on now, is something I will never be able to replace,” she says.
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