Let Us Be Saints!
My pal Maria Z and I on our first day at the 'Ang.'
We have survived our first official week of classes at the Angelicum (last week we had a couple introductory Italian courses and already took some field trips for our Art and Architecture class).  This is the Pontifical Institute of St. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican university.  John Paul II attended the Angelicum!  It is located right in Rome's Historic Centre, just kilometers from the Coliseum and Roman Forum.  It is truly a beautiful place to go to school and it is such a blessing to study with seminarians, religious sisters, priests, and lay persons from all across the world.  It is refreshing to see so many collars and habits every day!  I have already met students from the Phillipines and Vietnam, as well as all parts of the United States. 

Monday and Wednesday are our very busy days with three classes apiece, Tuesday and Thursday are lighter with one and two respectively, and Friday most of us have no class!  My courses are phenomenal - it is SO GOOD to be taking classes that are all related to my majors Catholic Studies and Theology! 

Though I love all the courses I have especially taken a liking to Dr. Lev's "Christian Art and Architecture" course that will allow us to examine sacred art from the Middle Ages to the present.  She is a vibrant, feisty woman who is quite renowned in her field.  She sometimes writes articles for Zenit ("The world seen from Rome") and frequently lectures to tour guides at the Vatican Museums.  I had very little knowledge of art coming in, since I have never taken a studio arts or art history course, but already in two days I have learned to identity columns and vaults, as well as various styles of crucifixes and geometric floor patterns.  It is so cool to walk into a church and start applying what we learned in class!  I am a visual and kinesthetic learner so this is very good for me!

We are learning about Byzantine and Romanesque art right now and had an assignment to go visit Santa Maria in Trastevere and compare the beautiful mosaics there.  What a fun homework field trip!  Byzantine art uses a lot of gold and is very transcendental.  At Santa Maria you can see this style in that the figures are not very realistic - they are almost floating on the Latin words and are all looking outwards like a posed picture.  On the other hand, Romanesque art is incredibly natural and realistic.  Characters in these mosaics are interacting with one another and there are very real features, like curtains being ruffled in the breeze or a shepherd playing his flute. 

I will write later blogs to tell you about my other courses!  So much to say!

The apse of Santa Maria in Trastevere. We were observing the mosaics you can see behind the baldichin for our assignment.
This floor pattern is called 'quincunk' (fun piece of trivia for you). It is an expansion that always connects back to the center and can represent Christ and the four Gospels or Rome and the four corners of the world.

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