Summer Studies

The Duomo (Cathedral) in Florence. I literally walked by this each day on my way to class.

Welcome back to the Owl Admission Blog! As most of y’all could have surmised, I (along with the other bloggers) stopped posting for a few months because of Rice’s summer holiday.  Before the break started I promised myself that I would try new things this summer, and not end up working some part-time job that had nothing to do with what I really love: art history. So, what’s a girl to do?

Well, some of you already know. I decided to study abroad in Florence, Italy.  I decided to get out of Houston and live in a different country for an entire month– in a place that is just as hot as Texas yet doesn’t rely on air conditioning– studying Renaissance art history and painting conservation. If I could sum the experience up in a single word, it would have to be “hot.” It was hot outside of school when we walked to churches and museums, it was hot inside of school when I was bent over a 15th century portrait removing layers of varnish, it was hot inside of my apartment when I learned to cook (pretty much for the first time) with my five other flatmates, and it was most definitely hot when a group of friends and I escaped Florence and went to Cinque Terre for the weekend. In retrospect, the temperature is entirely irrelevant. Sure, the word “hot” preceded every single thing that I did overseas, but it certainly didn’t trump the amazing opportunities that I had been given.

Cinque Terre! (translation: Five Lands)


I loved my art history class because each time we met (which was three times a week, three hours on Wednesdays and Fridays, ten hours on Saturdays) I was able to see things in person that I had only ever seen on paper before. To actually stand in front of Michelangelo’s David is an incredible moment. My painting conservation class (ten hours each Tuesday and Thursday) threw chemistry and art together in the most intimidating yet gratifying way. I’m in no way a hard science kind of person; the only other major that I have dabbled in is economics (and even then I despised calculus). But, despite that, I still loved mixing solvents and cleaning the frames and canvases. It’s an entirely different form of art appreciation than art history, and it was humbling to actually touch something that was so old (okay, not necessarily that old in art history terms, but still).

Studying abroad wasn’t the only thing I did this summer, though. I also took a course at Rice University in May, and I was selected as a Mary Ellen Hale Lovett Traveling Fellow in the art history department. My next posts will cover those activities, and then you’ll (finally) get to see what I’m up to now!


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