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Fine Arts Professor Awarded Fellowship in Italy

April 02, 2013

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Saint Anselm College professor Katherine Bentz has been awarded a prestigious fellowship in Florence, ItalyWhile many are looking forward to this summer as time of relaxation and a break from academics, Professor Katherine Bentz of the Fine Arts Department is looking forward to the much anticipated season for an entirely different reason. From August 2013 through June 2014, Dr. Bentz will be in Florence, Italy as a Fellow of the Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Renaissance Studies.

The fellowship will support a sabbatical year focused on researching and writing for her book, The Cardinal's Garden: Patrons, Landscape, and Viewers in Sixteenth-Century Rome. She will be one of fifteen fellows at the Villa I Tatti in the upcoming year.

Professor Bentz specializes in the painting, sculpture, and architecture of early modern Europe (15-17th centuries), and in Italian art and architecture in particular.

"At the heart of my research are questions about the ways in which works of art and architecture created meaning for those who viewed and experienced them. In other words, I ask why and how meaning is produced for viewers, rather than just what and where they viewed works of art,"she says .

As a Rush H. Kress Fellow, she will live in an apartment provided to her by the Villa I Tatti, which overlooks the beautiful city of Florence, and will attend workshops, colloquia, and seminars with an interdisciplinary group of scholars from all over the world who are interested in Italian Renaissance culture.

While at the Villa I Tatti, Professor Bentz will focus primarily on researching and writing her book. "Such a fellowship provides a real gift–time to just sit, think and write,” she said.

With an abundance of resources available “within walking distance," she will visit various archives, libraries, and art museums in the Villa and around Florence to expand her research on the gardens built by Cardinals in Rome during the period of church reform in the later sixteenth century.

She will examine the social motives behind the building of these gardens as well as the viewer's experience and reception of these spaces. In addition to all the work she will be conducting, she added, "I'm sure I'll also spend plenty of time enjoying great food!"

“It’s really a competitive fellowship, and it is just a great honor to be chosen. In the field of Italian Renaissance art, culture, and history, the Villa I Tatti Fellowship is really one of the most prestigious postdoctoral fellowships available.”

Story by Meagan Cox '15