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January 24, 2014

Students Help Restore Venetian Masterpieces

For anyone with a passion for art history, Venice is a must-see.

“The amount of cultural heritage in Venice is inconceivable. Every campo has a famous church, or painting, or sculpture. You’re constantly surrounded by beauty,” says Madeleine Hasbrouck ’14 (San Marino, Calif.)

This summer, Hasbrouck and fellow art major Mark Tajzler ’14 (Wilmington, Del.) were immersed in the Italian city’s rich cultural heritage as they interned with the art restoration organization Save Venice.

Madeleine Hasbrouck ’14 and Mark Tajzler ’14 in Venice

Madeleine Hasbrouck ’14 and Mark Tajzler ’14 in Venice

Save Venice was founded in 1967 under the umbrella of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in response to the flood of the previous year. Its mission is to restore and protect the city’s threatened masterpieces. Each year, the board chooses projects to sponsor according to artistic merit and urgency of need. The organization has completed more than 200 restorations.

The internships and living expenses are funded by Mary Kolarek Frank ’79 and her husband, Howard. Mary Frank is a member of the boards of Save Venice, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, and the American Academy in Rome. Diane Cole Ahl, Rothkopf Professor of Art History, worked with the Franks to arrange the Lafayette internships at Save Venice, which has brought Lafayette students to Italy for four years. The program also includes a Columbia University course on Venetian art.

The interns’ major project involved writing reports for Vittore Carpaccio’s The Legend of St. Ursula, a series of 15th century paintings that Save Venice is preparing to restore. Their reports will help the directors in the Venice office raise funds.

Madeleine Hasbrouck ’14 looks over artwork that is being restored by Save Venice.

Madeleine Hasbrouck ’14 looks over artwork that is being restored by Save Venice.

The interns learned about the methodology of restoring artworks to as close to the artist’s original intent as possible. They also were able to tour projects all over Venice with the organization’s directors.

“In addition to having the privilege of viewing world-famous art up close, I got to learn from two incredible teachers,” Hasbrouck says. “They’re both such intelligent and engaging women who know how to relate art, history, and restoration to individuals who might not have their level of expertise in art but still want to appreciate, support, and protect it.”

During their time in Venice, the city cast its spell over Tajzler and Hasbrouck.

“It’s truly an astonishing place with more priceless artistic and cultural treasures than a single mind could fathom,” Tajzler says.

“It was such an incredible environment to be in for two months,” adds Hasbrouck.

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