Courses - Spring 2015

Students will take three required courses taught by the HWS Faculty Directors and one Italian language course arranged through our partner institution, the Scuola Leonardo Da Vinci.

Italian Language and Culture (1 credit)
This course will build upon the foundation of Italian language study completed at HWS prior to the program. A variety of visits to local sites will complement in-class instruction and a series of “labs” will introduce students to various aspects of Italian culture and society. Students with more advanced Italian skills will be placed in an upper-level class.

Students will also select 3 of the following courses:

Watercolor Sketching (1 credit)
This course emphasizes illustrative drawing (as opposed to architectural and analytical drawing) using transparent watercolor media and the process of tonal layering. Students will gain facility with basic watercolor skills and be encouraged to explore this media as a tool for on-site study of places (art, structures and spaces), using the sketchbook to build visual literacy. Weather permitting, exercises will predominantly be done ‘en plein air’—outside and on-site in the region.

Visual Notes and Analysis (1 credit)
A necessary part of design education is learning to observe, to document and to analyze our perceptions of architectural form and space through drawing diagrammatically rather than purely illustratively. Learning to see involves both abstraction and generalization; learning to record involves understanding a conventional drawing vocabulary; learning to analyze involves understanding design principles and paradigms. We will work on location in the area, recording our visual observations only using the eye and our foot pace to measure and record spaces. No mechanical means (tape measure, ruler, camera) will be used. This course will introduce students to the habit of keeping a designer's sketchbook and to the skills used for documenting and analyzing the built environment through diagrammatic drawing in contrast to the fine arts tradition of illustrative drawing. (Prerequisites: ARCH 110 AND two of the following: ARTS 115, ARTS 114, ARTS 125. Students may enroll without pre-requisites by special permission from the instructor.)

Restoration and Museological Practices in Italy (1 credit)
Italy has the greatest number of Unesco World Heritage Sites (49) which attract millions of tourists every year, yet these sites present a formidable challenge in terms of their restoration and exhibition. This course will first introduce students to the fundamental principles of modern restorations of works in painting, fresco, sculpture, paper and architecture through theory and practice. Students will visit Roman and Florentine restoration labs to see and speak first-hand with the international group of professionals who are today entrusted with the restoration and preservation of Italian masterpieces. Subsequently students will focus on the history of collecting as a process that led to the modern institution of the Museum. The history of collecting and modern exhibition practices in museums will be approached from anthropological, social, historical and artistic points of views. Rome will serve as the principal case study thanks to its diverse panorama of galleries, public collections, museums, and public exhibition spaces. Comparison will be established with cultural institutions visited during program excursions.

Michelangelo, Bernini, and Caravaggio (1 credit)
Michelangelo, Bernini, and Caravaggio may be considered the three most important artists to have shaped the urban and artistic landscape of Rome for two centuries, from the 1500-1600s. This course will introduce students to the works of these artists present in Rome, from the Sistine Chapel to the Ecstasy of St. Theresa in order to analyze the historical contexts in which they were executed, how they were meant to function and to be experienced. In order to understand the artistic aims of each of these three artists, students will also study works by other contemporaries as well as works these artists executed outside of Rome. This will help students understand the trans-national nature of art at this time (each Italian city was an independent state with its own laws and languages) as well as the manner in which the Renaissance artistic style, as embodied in Michelangelo in particular, eventually gave way to the Baroque revolution. In addition, students will explore the artistic principles set down in these two centuries, which proved to be so influential for the practice of art through the 19th century.


  • The Rome program is offered every Fall semester, with a different academic focus, depending on the faculty director.
  • Applications are available at the Center for Global Education.
  • Applications are due at the CGE office at a selected date in March. For specific date contact the CGE.

NOTE: This information is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.