Originally from Florence, Anna graduated from JCU in 2010 with a major in Art History and a minor in Business Administration. While working on her M.A. in Art History at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London, Anna began to work on a research project on art thievery during WW II, a job that combines her passions for art, research, and analysis.
Tell us about your graduate studies. I pursued my M.A. in History of Art with a specialization in the Franciscan and Dominican Art of 13th century Italy at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London, which was my dream since I was 18! JCU certainly played a key role in helping me to achieve this important goal.
In what way did JCU prepare you for graduate school? The Courtauld is extremely selective and competitive. Not only did JCU give me the academic preparation and skills to thrive among some of the best art scholars in the world, it also helped me to become a more open minded human being.
After the Courtauld Institute, where did you go? For the past three years I have been working as a researcher for the Monuments Men Foundation, an organization founded by American writer and businessman Robert Edsel. The “Monuments Men” were a group of about 345 museum directors, curators, art historians, and educators who saved millions of monuments and other cultural treasures from the Nazis during World War II. The mission of the Monuments Men Foundation is to preserve the heroic legacy of these men and women by raising public awareness of the importance of protecting and safeguarding art.
Mr. Edsel is also the author of the book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, which has been translated into 27 languages. Currently the book is being made into a movie, written and directed by George Clooney and Grant Heslov, the former being also in the starring role. This is great since it will bring much visibility to the issue of cultural heritage and preservation.
What does your work entail? Mr. Edsel’s latest book, forthcoming in the U.S. in May, is entitled Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the Nazis. When Hitler’s armies occupied Italy in 1943, they also seized control of some of the world’s greatest cultural treasures. It’s a wonderful, unforgettable story of epic thievery and political intrigue as well as a testament to heroism on behalf of art, and the importance of preserving our cultural heritage. I did the research that gave Mr. Edsel access to original documents from the archives of Italian art officials in order to understand their contribution to the preservation of monuments and works of art during the WWII years. So I have been traveling around Italy researching and translating the findings so that Mr. Edsel could implement them into his book. (photo below: Anna with Robert Edsel participating in Italy’s popular radio program Fahrenheit on Rai Radio 3.)
What advice would you give to students attending or considering JCU? Take advantage of everything that JCU offers you! Of course, have fun and enjoy Rome but work hard and learn as much as you can while you have this amazing opportunity. JCU is a great place to study because it nurtures you while challenging you to think outside the box. This will make you more competitive and help you to succeed in the future.
Click here to learn more about studying Art History in Rome at John Cabot University.
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