Master’s program in Renaissance Art History receives Kress Foundation grant

March 18, 2013

Once again, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation has awarded $25,000 to Syracuse University’s Master’s Program in Renaissance Art History. This grant award enables students to participate in a unique program which includes a semester of study at SU’s main campus, followed by a year of study abroad in the churches, museums and archives of Florence, Italy. Funding from the foundation supports both travel and living expenses.

During the 2011-12 academic year, Kress Foundation study abroad grants were awarded to three students. Their experience in Florence included graduate seminars focused on the analyses and historical interpretation of major architectural monuments in medieval and Renaissance Florence; primary historical documents and the intricacies of archival research; gender issues and the significance of print culture in the Renaissance; and the presentation and display of works of art from the Renaissance to our own day, particularly museum collections in Florence.

The students then chose the theme of “Virtues and Vices in Italian Renaissance Art” for their final symposium, where they addressed a variety of visual examples ranging from the 14th century–including a fresco cycle created for the Florentine Guild of Judges and Notaries, and an altarpiece attributed to Pietro Lorenzetti depicting the Blessed Humility of Faenza–to others of later date, such as the late 15th-century frescoes for the Florentine oratory of the Buonomini di San Martino, the marble relief of Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife by the 16th-century female sculptor Properzia de’ Rossi, and the monumental Column of Justice carved by Francesco del Tadda for Florentine Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici.

The students also organized a study trip to Sicily. In their own words, “The students of the Florence Graduate Program in Renaissance Art at Syracuse University would like to thank the Samuel H. Kress Foundation for their generous funding of our trip to northern Sicily. This gift provided us with the means to explore the art, culture, and history of an area normally outside the scope of our studies. Visits to Palermo, Monreale, Cefalù, and Segesta left us with unforgettable educational experiences…[and] provided us with the opportunity to explore–often for the first time–a multitude of histories, cultures, and artworks that vary greatly from those found in Florence. We saw firsthand, and were therefore able to fully appreciate, the effects of the transcontinental cultural exchanges that we previously learned about in class. As such, we became more attuned to the influence of cultural exchange and are more sensitive to how such influence affected the art and peoples of Florence–lessons we will all apply to our art historical writing, research, and thinking.”

The mission of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation (est. 1929) is to sustain and carry out the original vision of their founder, Samuel H. Kress (1863-1955). They support the work of individuals and institutions engaged with the appreciation, interpretation, preservation, study and teaching of the history of European art and architecture from antiquity to the dawn of the modern era.