Despite my rather small sampling size of classes in Florence, I am going to break down the major differences and similarities in my experience at an art school in Florence versus an art school in America. Here in Italy I have completed Watercolor and Sketchbooking Florence, and am currently in Street Photography.
First and foremost is the art of course. In Florence, the classes have focused on the masters of art, the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Filippo Brunelleschi (designer of the Duomo). Though, the sketch-booking class focused on observational drawing just as a traditional drawing class in the states, the Watercolor class on the other hand, consisted of a number of copies. A copy is reproducing a masterpiece generally created by one of the artists I previously stated.
Something that is on every college student’s mind. The grading system for both of my classes was very similar to any class I have taken in the past. Because art is very subjective, a major emphasis was placed on effort.
The university buildings are embedded into the streets of the city. What the classrooms lack in size, they make up for, ten fold, in the intricate architectural details. I am not sure what secret cleaning solution the Italy is hiding from us, but for an art room there is no sharpie on the tables, paint on the walls or even pencil shavings on the ground.
The environment has been truly inspiring. The classes have focused on the students getting out of the classroom and experiencing the culture of the city. Especially in an infamous city such as Florence, it would be easy to get caught up in all of the cliché sight seeing spots. However, the teachers have pushed us to explore more obscure places that still are incredible works of art. I am anticipating this to be the case for the Street Photography class I started recently in which I plan on seeing Florence through a new lens.
Cole is a current student at University of Michigan – Ann Arbor studying at Florence University of the Arts in Italy during the Summer 2016 term.