From Angela: This past summer, I was invited by the Accademia Europea di Firenze to attend an advanced sculpture workshop in Florence, Italy. Working in a newly renovated Renaissance palace, surrounded by opera singers, ballet dancers and a community of artists from all around the world, was a thrilling experience.
The workshop was led by Florentine artist, Cristina Casini, a graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara specializing in modeling, sculpture and casting. During the workshop, she offered hands on assistance and covered a variety of traditional sculpting techniques. We began by focusing on parts of the figure and making studies from plaster casts of local Renaissance sculptures. Then as the workshop advanced our small studies developed into larger segments and busts. Finally, at the end of our workdays, we would take our finished pieces and compare them to the actual sculptures; critiquing our work alongside Michelangelo’s, Cellini’s, and Donatello’s original masterpieces. This process was my favorite part of the experience because it invited us to go beyond the superficial and analyze, study and question the sculptural choices made by the artists.
Every week as part of the workshop, we were led on museum excursions or day trips to the neighboring countryside, where we were encouraged to use our surroundings for inspiration. The academy’s culturally immersive art practice extends beyond the studio into the heart of the city and the Tuscan landscape. This approach was ideal as it enabled me to make work abroad, and to also practice my Italian and hone in on both my skills as a sculptor and my fluency in the language. Overall, this summer, I had the experience of a lifetime and I cannot thank FSU’s Department of Art enough for seeing the value in these exceptional opportunities and encouraging our growth as young artists in the making.