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"They say there is no such thing as a perfect moment but when we stepped into the Sistine Chapel, deserted, standing empty just for us, it wasn't just a perfect moment but a mind-blowing, perfect hour. What more can I say other than, thank you with all my heart for a truly life-changing trip."
LF Gap Year Course 2007
Director of Art History Abroad. He has taught in Italy for over 27 years, published books on Canaletto, Miro and an artistic guide to Florence. In addition Nick has written numerous book reviews and presented an arts programme for the Discovery Channel. He is an active director whose love of Italy is infectious and he is driven to continually add to the cultural experience of the courses. In May he was voted the No.1 Guide in the Daily Telegraph Review.
After completing an AHA course, Dan studied History of Art at Manchester University where he graduated in 2001 with first class honours. Dan specialized in Italian Renaissance Villas & Gardens and French Revolutionary History Painting. He was the silver medal winner of the 2008 Paul Morrison Guide of the Year Award in association with Wanderlust and the Daily Telegraph. His final meal would be an egg and crab tramezzini from the "Football Bar" in Venice followed by an anchovie and tomato scamorza grigliato at "Sausage & Beans" in Rome.
Annabel claims to write, but that's really just a cover story for spending as much time as possible in Italy, talking about art and drinking Prosecco. She is about to complete a Masters at the UEA, and is working on a biography of the psychedelic painter Pontormo. She graduated from Oxford with a first in art history in 2007, thinks Vasari was a cunning fox, and given half a chance would live on the Capitol Hill, Rome, and walk through the forum every day.
Studied at Cardiff and Birmingham where he received an MA in Fine Art. In 1999 he was appointed the Arts Council of England Helen Chadwick Fellow which enabled him to work on his sculpture in Rome and Oxford. He exhibits both in Britain and abroad while also teaching at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford, Tate Britain, Hayward Gallery and Whitechapel Art Gallery. Visit Steve's wedbsite at www.stephenelson.com
An ex-AHA student whose trip ended with watching sunrise over the forum in Rome, Olivia read History of Art at Cambridge University where she specialised in Venetian architecture and Surrealism, for which she gained a 2:1. Yet to break out of Europe, she uses all available time and resources to return to Italy and, if abandoned in a Venetian campo, could survive quite happily on spritz all'aperol. In London Olivia works on events and exhibitions but most recently she is working as an intern at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. Olivia's Italian loves are Bernini, Caravaggio and Balla, but her French guilty secret is Gustave Caillebotte.
Tristan read Art History at St John's College Cambridge, but he spent most his time there pretending he was an Italian Uomo; singing, drinking Prosecco and cooking Pasta. His primary interests are the Gothic and High Renaissance. He now studies at Germany's oldest and most prestigious University, Heidelberg, and has since developed a penchant for the German Renaissance. Tristan has recently been appointed as the ABRSM Scholar to the Royal Academy of Music, which will see him return to London this coming September. Although he's a long way off fulfilling his boyhood dream of growing a Julius II imitation beard, he is happiest moments before tucking into a Fiorentina in the Piazza di Santo Spirito.
Ed's love affair with Italy began as an AHA student when he discovered three things: 1. There is no substitute for the real thing - Ghiberti's doors might not look inspiring on a projector screen in a dark classroom, but live, they blow you away. 2. That many Italians share his enthusiasm for football. 3. Limoncello.
Ed read History of Art at the University of Edinburgh where he learned that the Scottish pronunciation of "Quattrocento" sounds like a three door hatchback. Ed works for an e-learning company in London (proof that you can do anything with a History of Art degree) as well as tutoring History of Art to AS, A Level and degree students in his spare time (proof that you can't give up what you love).
Ed is the Art Correspondent for Trivial Pursuits, a blog about nothing and everything: www.trivialpursuits.org
Studied Art History at Warwick University specialising in the Early Florentine Renaissance and Venetian Art and Architecture. She lived in Venice before working in Bologna where she taught for three years. As well as all her teaching for AHA, Charlie runs AHA's Dilettante and Generation X programmes. She has recently discovered the delights of Italian garden history and design and leads tours to Italian gardens alongside Alys Fowler.
Jessica first went on an AHA trip at seventeen and fell in love with both Italy and the company instantly. Having completed her BA hons degree in History of Art at Birmingham University, she felt the only thing she wanted to do was become an AHA tutor and inspire others as she had been inspired. Jessica's other passion is songwriting and she has recently graduated from ICMP where she did a Professional Diploma in Songwriting and she frequently combines her two loves, for example using song to explain art; indeed some students wonder whether their tutor is in fact a grown Von Trapp child from 'The Sound of Music'. To check out her music visit http://soundcloud.com/jessicasharman
Lecturer at the National Gallery and Tate Modern. After studying Natural Sciences and History of Art at Cambridge, he completed a PhD on fifteenth-century sculpture in Ferrara. He wrote and narrated the video for the National Gallery's exhibition ‘Florence in the 1470's and presented ‘Art in the National Gallery' for Channel 4 Education as well as the follow up series entitled ‘Tate Modern'. His book "The Secret Language of the Renaissance", has been sold all over the world. Click here for Michael Baigent's review in the Mail on Sunday.
Rose completed her MA in History of Art at Edinburgh University in 2006. After studying languages at Salamanca University she joined the AHA team over 3 years ago. She is unceasingly excited about all things Italian, be it the glorious Pantheon, mysterious Pontormo or bubbly prosecco. She is a keen pianist and singer; one of the many delights of being taught by Rose is to hear her demonstrate the acoustics in churches once noted for their choirs. Alongside her work in Italy Rose is the founder of Art History UK, where she leads cultural days and courses throughout London.
Stewart studied at St Andrews University, City University in London and Leiden University in The Netherlands before training as an archivist at Glasgow University. For the past seven years he has taught Art History in London and throughout Italy, guest-lectured at several American universities and has worked at The British Library. His first book Angel of Charleston (coming out next year) concerns the Bloomsbury Group and he is currently preparing to present arts documentaries for the BBC.
A former student of AHA, Alex has since pursued a real passion for all things Italian. She went on to study History at Oxford University before gaining her MA at the Courtauld in the architectural history of Rome. Since graduating in 2007 she has worked at a commercial gallery in London, specialising in Modern British art. She has curated a number of important exhibitions in this field and written a book on one of the gallery's leading artists. For Alex, AHA trip highlights invariably include Giotto frescos, Bernini buildings, picnics, poems (high-brow or home-made), Martini sundowners, endless chatter (arty or otherwise) and hearty fare of all descriptions. Alex has recently been commissioned to write the history of an old English family which she will be doing alongside her teaching in Italy.
Benj read History of Art at Cambridge, specialising in Venetian architecture and the paintings of Titian. Having worked full-time as a curator and general factotum at a commercial London gallery and as a part-time private tutor he now teaches History of Art at Westminster. Benj thoroughly enjoys painting, singing, cooking and taking long baths (sometime simultaneously). He also knows that the real secret to being a great artist is wearing a fine beard.
After taking his degree in Philosophy & Theology at Oxford University, James went on to gain a Diploma in Art History and a Masters in Architectural History at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2003. He has lectured on trips abroad for the Courtauld Institute, the National Arts Collection Fund, and for numerous schoolsand travel companies. He runs his own touring business for private clients.
Graham is a writer, broadcaster, translator from Italian and French, and teacher. He lived in Tuscany for 4 years working at the British Institute in Florence and now teaches courses, workshops, 'on location' and other special events in poetry from across the world and down the centuries, principally for The Poetry School in London. He is AHA's poetry and literature expert, has worked for BBC Radio 3 over many years as the writer and presenter of literature and music programmes, takes groups to Italy for weekends on the poets of past and present in Florence, Rome and Recanati, and also teaches in Spain. Among Graham's new projects is a brand new series of monthly supper lectures, The Book You Always Meant To Read, on Dante's Divine Comedy, at St Olave's Church in London. For further information visit www.grahamfawcett.co.uk
As well as being an experienced tutor, Lucie works in the Travel department for Guardian News and Media. Lucie completed her MA focusing on Seventeenth Century Italian Realism and the Baroque at the Courtauld Institute in 2002 and her BA Hons in Economics and Business from Durham University in 2001.
An ex-AHA student, Nick studied at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and then gained his diploma at the Bartlett School of Architecture [UCL]. Nick co-founded AROS architects and has designed cities and buildings around the world.
Catherine joined AHA in 2005. She studied Art History and Italian at UCL, and in 2007 she also gained a Masters degree in Art History from UCL, specialising in Caravaggio's depictions of feet! She is about to embark on a PhD researching the body parts of female saints. Catherine has enjoyed her fair share of dolce vita, amatriciana and baroque ecstacies in Rome where she lived for two years, but now she teaches Art History and Cultural Studies at UCS. She has contributed to various guide books including Time Out Florence (2007) and is author of A Hedonist's Guide to Rome (2006). She has a special soft spot for Dante, and if she could, would eat at Banco Giro by the Rialto in Venice everyday.
Ex AHA student, Tom read art history at Cambridge before doing a PhD at the Courtauld Institute, London. He is now lecturer in medieval art and architecture at the University of York, specialising in medieval Spain. Tom especially likes saints, stews, and Siena; Borromini, basil and bling; San Giovanni Carbonara in Naples, the mosaics in the baptistery in Florence, and marinated anchovies.
Ben teaches Art History at Westminster School and is a lecturer and storyteller at the National Gallery for audiences aged 4 to 99. He writes bi-monthly columns on new and old art for Art21 and Saatchi Online, all of which are available at his website. He studied Art History and English Literature at Edinburgh University in the late twentieth century. In 2008 Ben was nominated for the Paul Morrison Travel Guide Award for his work with Art History Abroad. If he could play darts with any art historical figure it would be Poussin, probably.
Grant is an artist & has worked for AHA for a while now. He likes eating, cycling, dancing & discussing "Stuff" with the air of authority of somebody who really knows what he (or she) is talking about. He has managed to deceive the National Gallery, NPG & numerous other art galleries, publishers & film companies that he is quite clever & they have yet to find out how to get rid of him. Singularly un-ambitious he continues to confuse the Imperial War Museum education department & was recently appointed as a Fellow in Holocaust Education for Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.
Helen studied history of art at Manchester University and at the Courtauld Institute where she was awarded her Masters in the architectural history of Rome. An ex AHA student, she has worked in many galleries, including the Whitworth Museum in Manchester, Somerset House and the Royal Academy. Helen was an editor of the Burlington Magazine and continues writing for other art journals and magazines. She teaches History of Art A-Level at St Mary's School in Ascot. Helen has been known to weep in front of Botticelli paintings and to wildly throw away all maps & itineraries in order to have an adventure.
An artist known internationally, his work is in the collections of Tate, British Museum and Arts Council of England. Educated at Campions school in Athens, before graduating with first class honours from Cardiff college of Art, he has worked in Turin and now lives in London. In 2006 he will be working with Wimbledon College of Art on Urban landscape development and regeneration.
Currently the Vicar of St Olaves in the City of London and Chaplain to the Cloth Worker's Guild and Trinity House. Oliver's first degree was in African History and Anthropology, before studying Divinity at Cambridge. He is an authority on the Early Church, particularly in Rome, Ravenna and Istanbul.
Alice studied Art History and Italian at Manchester University, for which she gained a 2:1 and a distinction in spoken Italian. She specialised in the Italian Renaissance, finding herself particularly drawn to the eccentric work of Piero di Cosimo. As part of her degree, Alice lived in Rome for a year working at the Hotel de Russie, where she spent most of her time trying to befriend the concierges so as to to be able to skip the queues at big exhibitions and try out all the best restaurants in the city. Alice's loves are Michelangelo and Bernini, as well as the Enoteca Corsi carbonara which she could quite easily survive on. Having the chance to impart her own passion for all things Italian is what drew Alice to AHA, as well as being able to pursue her favourite activity: watching the world go by from the Piazza del Popolo with a glass of prosecco in hand.
Lavinia is three-quarters Italian. She passed her childhood in Rome and Orvieto where she developed a lifelong passion for home made gnocchetti and Signorelli's frescoes in the Cappella Nuova. In 2008, she graduated from Oxford University with a first in History of Art and in 2010 gained an MA from the Courtauld focusing on Titian and Venetian Painting. As an intern at the V&A, she helped set up an online display of the V&A's 20th century Fashion Illustrations. She has worked for a London gallery specialising in 20th century Italian art and contributed research for an exhibition catalogue of Morandi's paintings. She spent a year as an assistant and researcher for art and history documentaries including a BBC2 series on Ancient Rome. Lavinia loves hunting down lesser known works by Titian and currently spends as much time in Italy as possible.