Roanoke College professor to attend prestigious art institute in Italy

Salem, Va.- For three weeks this summer, Dr. Jane Long, a Roanoke College professor, will be a student again.

The art historian and the College's Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo Professor of Art History is one of 25 scholars chosen to study Leonardo da Vinci and the intersection of his art with science at the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute. The institute, "Leonardo da Vinci: Between Art and Science," will be held June 25 through July 13 in Florence, Italy.

Long, who has taught art history at Roanoke for 16 years, said the opportunity to study da Vinci's work in Italy will energize and enhance her classes at Roanoke. Among the many courses Long teaches at Roanoke is one about da Vinci and two other celebrated artists, Michelangelo and Raphael.

"I'm hoping that being inspired will allow me to inspire," said Long, a specialist in the Italian Renaissance who holds a master's degree and doctorate from Columbia University. Colleagues credit Long with building Roanoke's art history program.

"She has inspired students in the department and across the College with her love of learning and passion for great art," Dr. Gordon Marsh, chair of the Fine Arts department at Roanoke, wrote of Long in his recommendation letter to the NEH. "This NEH Summer Institute will give her the opportunity to work closely with other scholars in her field, sharing and refining her ideas."

Summer Institute scholars, most of whom are university professors, will explore Renaissance art and science by analyzing da Vinci's well-known paintings, drawings and writings and the ways that he connected scientific investigation with his work. The institute will meet daily in the mornings, while the afternoons are reserved for independent research and the scholars' individual projects. Scholars receive a stipend for travel, lodging and living expenses.

Long said she looks forward to studying at the Kunsthistorisches Institut, a Florence art history research institution where she spent much time writing her dissertation in the mid-1980s. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Florence at the time, and she has returned to the city since then to study works of art and for May term travel courses with Roanoke students.

Still, her experience this summer as an NEH scholar will be unique.

"I feel that I will be re-energized and excited by the learning experience," Long said.

Roanoke College, a classic liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a beautiful, undergraduate setting. Roanoke is one of just seven percent of colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review lists Roanoke as the 18th most beautiful campus in its "Best 376 Colleges" 2012 guidebook.

Released: April 23, 2012
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