Patti McGill Peterson Center for International and Intercultural Studies
The Travel Enrichment Grant, made it possible for me to visit St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome, The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Il Duomo in Parma and St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. I applied for the grant in order to extend my knowledge on dome painting techniques that I gained through my previous research based on Ludovico Cigoli's fresco of the Virgin Maria in the dome of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. On my travels, I was able to view the different technique and styles that artists used to decorate domes. My adventure began in October during my semester break, since I lived in Rome, I visited St. Peter Cathedral, and with my grant fund, I was able to purchase admissions to the dome. I climbed 136.57 meters to the top and was able to see the mosaic style in which Giacomo della Porta decorated this world famous dome. I marveled at the precious stones used to portray 16 busts of the popes buried in the basilica. In the center there is an oculus that illuminates the dome and the cathedral with natural sunlight.
Next stop, Firenza in Tuscany! I rode Italy's national train line to Florence, where master artist of the Renaissance worked and lived. The city was vibrant and quant, with cobblestone streets and old building, and in the center of it all is Florence Duomo. The Florence Catherdral's dome constructed in 1296 with the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and was completed in 1469. The total height of the dome is about 114.5 meters and it is decorated with a fresco painted by Vasari and Zuccaro. There are no linear divisions in Vasari's fresco; instead there is a beautiful representation of the last judgment. In clouds create horizontal divisions, in between realistic characters. These figures portray the imagery within the book of Revelations, in which the artist transforms the dorm into a celestial realm for the viewer. Vasari and Zuccaro try to invoke awe and bewilderment within their viewers. Then I continued my train ride to Parma, another small Italian town in which the artist Correggio painted the Assumption of the Virgin fresco in the atherdral's dome. Correggio really uses illusionistic ceiling painting techniques of perspective such as di sotto in sù. The viewer is looking up as if everything is occurring directly above one's head and instead of the clouds that divide the dome. Corregio's clouds spiral, as if they are moving not only the figures but also your glaze towards the illuminated center. Emotional I felt as if I was in a whirlwind, and it was an inspiring and breath-taking site. The last location I visited was Venice, one the most magical cities I have ever visited. St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, was busy and beautiful. This dome is really a processor to all of the domes I have had previously visited. It was built between 1063 and 1072, with gilded gold background that covers the dome, instead of an oculus the center is a painting of god. I felt has if I went back to the Byzantine era, I was amazed at the artist reminds, as well as how similar this dome was to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. This grant has allowed me to bring my studies full circle, I have visited the places I have studied through out my college career and I am grateful for this opportunity.