A Jerusalem Studio School program opens the eyes of Jerusalem artists in Italy
Jerusalem has plenty of Roman ruins. Classic Italian works of art, less. But thanks to the Jerusalem Studio School, which this summer is offering a study program in Italy, Jerusalem now has a home in the Italian landscape.
For lovers of the classics, the Italian excursion, and the Jerusalem Studio School in general, is a breath of fresh air in a Jerusalem art scene that tilts heavily to the experimental, with the highly regarded Bezalel Academy, the cutting-edge Musrara photography school, and edgy initiatives like Urbanica and De:Frost often being the most visible Jerusalem high art incubation platforms. Perhaps a visit to the University of Sienna's Certosa di Pontignano, a former monastery, is exactly what the Jerusalem art scene needs.
As Rebecca Harp, Coordinator of Special Projects at the Jerusalem Studio School, explains to GoJerusalem.com, it's all about getting away from the clutter and opening the eyes of the participants. "The most extraordinary, life-changing experiences usually happen when one is thrown into something impossible to have imagined, something which expresses in a new and total way what eternal or pine beauty is," she says. "For centuries, artists have been traveling to Italy.... The JSS summer program in Italy is designed to offer this chance to art students in Israel. In Israel, artists can find constant opportunities to view contemporary art, but in Italy, they will be oblivious to anything modern. They will be completely overwhelmed by the abundant frescoes, sculptures, classic architecture and painting masterpieces surrounding them in every direction."
So for Jerusalem's art students - and art lovers - looking for to immerse themselves in Renaissance art, the Italian program is an excellent way to have their cake and eat it too. Not only will they be able to view the classics first-hand, they will be able to copy the masters, painting the Italian landscape themselves over the course of the six-week program.
"The problem with Italy is that everything is beautiful," says Harp, reflecting on the challenges that program participants, used to certain aesthetic surroundings here in Jerusalem, will have to contend with. "It's very hard to find something that is not paintable.... The landscape will be very different from what they have seen in Israel, more lush, wild and less constructed. Yet we are still in the Mediterranean, so there are familiar aspects in the weather, the light and the colors. In Sienna, we will be painting in an isolated countryside, an oasis of piece distant from the modern rumblings of a city. A perfect atmosphere to concentrate on painting."
As eager as Jerusalem is to see Italy, it seems those in Sienna are just as excited to see the Jerusalem Studio School. According to Harp, "The program this year has been completely redesigned at a new location, the University of Sienna's historic Certosa di Pontignano. Since the beginning of the planning, I have found tremendous enthusiasm from everyone in Italy for this unique art program, and the Certosa is very honored to host a group of figurative artists from the Jerusalem Studio School program."
And Jerusalem, we're sure, is excited to see the results of this inspiration upon the Studio School's return.
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