today’s post comes from a curious question that I am often asked in private messages, especially on Instagram. What is my course of study and if I have any advice for people like me who love art and would like to learn more.
So I decided to tell you about my experience that maybe it will be of help to those who are doing or will soon have to make the choice of university. Obviously these are my personal opinions and experiences but I am pleased to share with you.
For me, choosing to study Art History at university was quite natural. In fact, having done the classical high school and having had the good fortune with my parents to travel a lot and visit museums and exhibitions, I spontaneously indulge my passions. And study what interested me most.
The choice of the Triennale
Perhaps in an unconscious way I have never asked myself the problem of the career outcome of enrolling in the Triennale for the History of Art course in Palermo. To tell the truth, when I was asked what I wanted to do once I graduated or the usual doubt was asked about the usefulness of what I was studying, I answered by saying that for me the problem did not even arise. And I’ll explain why.
I have always thought that art was one of the most interesting forms of human expression and participation in collective life. For this reason there has always been a system of enhancement, conservation and exchange of works of art. With this awareness and with the desire to know, transmit and share art, any doubts about the job outlet did not arise either.
The alternative: Architecture
The only alternative I had evaluated was to enroll in the faculty of Architecture. This is because it would have been a five-year course with an established faculty and curriculum.was born in Palermo under the , a new three-year course of study
The Triennial in Art History in Palermo
I didn’t need to think about it a lot and I decided to choose the three-year course for two reasons. The first obviously the subjects within the course much more related to the history of art and less to the scientific field as it could be to Architecture. And the second then the possibility of choosing to move with the master’s degree and to specialize with greater awareness.
My Triennale in Palermo included basic binding subjects and optional subjects of your choice. I will never forget the first year and the first subjects, especially the Psychology of the Arts lessons and the crazy notes on Arnheim and Gestalt books.
Having overcome the initial obstacle of the first material, the following ones were very focused on the history of art therefore first medieval and then modern and finally applied arts. This gave me a lot of boost. Throughout the three-year course, less specialized but still fundamental subjects for a historical future of art such as Contemporary History or Italian and English Literature.
The second year
The second year was my favorite because the first semester I studied Museology and the second Aesthetics and there I really understood that I had made the right choice and how to continue then in the specialist. In the third year with the lessons of Legislation of cultural heritage and History of contemporary art I found my world.
I dedicated my Bachelor’s degree thesis to the study and deepening of some works by Alighiero Boetti, in particular to the concept of multiple and to Maps.
Advice on the Triennale
The advice I give you about the Triennale is certainly not only to choose something you like but also to never tire of deepening. Everything that can be learned from the people around us at that moment, both colleagues and professors, must be intellectually stolen. Also, I suggest you stay on time. No one will ever know if you have lost or gained a year, it is not a points competition. But from personal experience having a method and keeping a constant pace in preparing and giving the subjects helps a lot. it’s like winning one game after another, so you never get tired of playing.
Economics of cultural heritage: which course to choose
After several sleepless nights searching the internet for a master’s degree course that was right for me, I finally found the solution. In fact, on the one hand, I wanted to continue studying art from a historical point of view. On the other hand, I was particularly passionate about museology and legislation of cultural heritage so I did not want to continue with a specialist in Art History.
At the end of the second three-year year I had identified two – three particularly interesting courses:
- Economics and Management of Cultural Activities at the Ca Foscari in Venice
- Art, Valorization and Market at the IULM in Milan
- Economics and Management of Cultural Heritage at the Cattolica in Milan.
At this point I no longer wanted to stay in Palermo but I didn’t want to weigh on my parents either. So I started looking like crazy for the best solution. Ca Foscari was in a city that I knew well because it was close to Trieste where my grandmother lives. In addition, it was the only public university of the three, therefore the one with the cheapest tuition.
The IULM was very interesting but in a city I did not know and with a study plan that did not completely convince me. La Cattolica had a study plan with an excellent mix. Subjects of an economic nature therefore of study of the art market and enhancement of cultural heritage and at the same time of an artistic philosophical nature such as Phenomenology of the arts. The only problem, not indifferent, was the tuition.
The Giuseppe Toniolo Scholarship
Continuing my research on the Internet, I finally found an opportunity: the Giuseppe Toniolo Scholarship. Small problem it is a scholarship for merit for full coverage of the tuition which was based on a test, the evaluation of the curriculum of studies and an interview in Milan. Obviously winning it would have guaranteed me the course in Cattolica. And also the possibility of studying in Milan which has always been the capital of contemporary art in Italy.
I entered the competition and sent my study plan with grades. In June I took the first test and passed it and then flew to Milan in July on the same day as my graduation to do the interview. The selection was very competitive because we are talking about a scholarship of around € 12,000. But with the 110 e Lode of the Triennale, a good test of which the first question I was lucky was on Lucio Fontana and the second on Hemingway and an interesting interview, I won it and in September I arrived in Cattolica.
Economics and management of cultural heritage: Cattolica in Milan
Here the specialist was divided and if you are interested it is still divided into two main strands: economics and art. On the one hand, subjects such as Finance Management for cultural enterprises and on the other Museology and Promotion for art and culture.
The introduction of economic subjects was initially a novelty for me. But certainly the added value of this path consists in meeting teachers who are professionals in the art world and in practical activities and cultural promotion projects. For example, right from the raw materials I found myself analyzing real balance sheets of cultural institutions such as the Orestiadi Foundation in Gibellina. Or to organize art collections with a certain budget or to present an exhibition proposal for the hypothetical reopening of Palazzo Citterio next to the Grande Brera.
Activities, meetings, inaugurations …
Right from the start it came naturally to me to participate in every activity, meeting, inauguration or course that the university or Milan offered me. And almost immediately, a little by chance, I found my first internship in the art world which then turned into my job for five years. But if you want I will talk about this in an upcoming video about my work experience.
Returning to the choice of the master, I cannot deny that for me personally it was the right choice. But as advice I know that today there are other courses besides those I have mentioned and if I had to choose I would also consider Bocconi with its master’s degree course in English, for example.
Second Master’s Degree in Art History
Certainly all these courses I have mentioned are perfect for those who want to deepen the Management of Cultural Heritage and the Art Market. If, on the other hand, during the three-year course you realize that you want to continue also in the master’s degree to give a more academic and therefore historical-artistic research perspective, I understand you. And you will soon understand why. The art history major at that point is the best choice. In this case, I always recommend choosing on the basis of your specialization in the historical field. So, for example, some courses like the one in Florence are more suitable for those who deal with modern art than at the university ranging from Masaccio to the end of the Baroque. Instead, other courses such as the one in Milan or Turin are more suitable for those who want to deepen the ‘900 and Udine and Venice for contemporary art. Please do your research.
These are the ones that I also took into consideration when I decided at the end of my first master’s degree despite the job in the Archive to enroll once again at the university for a second master’s degree in Art History.
Art history at Unipa
After completing my degree in Cattolica, after a series of considerations, I decided to enroll in the specialist degree in Art History at the University of Palermo as a non-attending.
This is because I felt the need to conclude my three-year career as an art historian in a certain sense. But with new eyes and perhaps more ready to face the study of art in order to enhance it. Furthermore, this chance gave me the opportunity to periodically return to Sicily, even if only a couple of days each session to give a substance and take a bath in the sea.
It was by no means easy to combine work with exhibitions and travels around Italy and Europe and studying for exams. But I am always convinced that it was worth it. So maybe I sacrificed a lot from a personal point of view. But I found myself at 26 with a three-year, two master’s and 5 years of work experience in a way that I love, that of art.
The art world and my advice
So what they tell you about the art world is true. It will not be easy and you will find yourself in front of millions of people. People convinced that what you study is useless and that they will also have the courage to tell you in your face. But it doesn’t matter because there will be just as many that will encourage you to do what you love. The only thing that really makes a difference is being the first to not take it lightly. So attend all the exhibitions, openings and events you can go to and take advantage of every little opportunity to discover something new.
- enroll in the triennial in art history only if it is really your passion
- , starting from the second year of the triennial, try to identify a specialization for the master’s degree: art history, economics of cultural heritage or communication
- if you have the possibility study, move or visit a city with a lot of artistic and cultural offerings. Luckily there is no shortage in Italy: Rome, Milan, Venice and Turin first.
- take advantage of every opportunity to discover and experience art firsthand. Read and inquire. Even through social media, of course, it always makes sense so if you are really passionate, subscribe to my Youtube channel and also follow me on Instagram.
- have clear ideas in specialist on your future profession in the private sector then galleries and auction houses, in the public sector then museums or institutions, publishing, private companies for digital, conservation or promotion. Much will probably depend on the first job opportunities but do not necessarily be defined and limited by these. Finally, last tip.
Do not be disheartened by anyone during the years in university but above all do not be defined by any professor of a wrong subject or by any head of the first unpaid internship.
As I told you at the beginning these are advice based solely on my personal experience and opinions. University choices often depend on external conditioning or personal motivations as I have told you and it has happened to me too.
In any case, I hope you enjoyed this video about my course of study, but above all that my advice will be useful in your choice. And if you eventually subscribe to the history of art or economics of cultural heritage I’m sure you will like the next videos that come out on the channel because we have a couple of passions in common so take a look and subscribe to the channel!