Peter Beal, an art history and humanities faculty member at Front Range Community College-Larimer Campus, took part in a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute titled “Leonardo da Vinci: Between Art and Science.” The program was in Florence, Italy.
Beal researched the ways that Leonardo’s verbal and visual depictions of mountains expose his concepts of nature. Beal traced how these portrayals run counter to other contemporary representations of nature in art.
This is Beal’s second NEH summer institute in Italy. In 2005, he took part in an institute titled “St. Francis of Assisi in the Thirteenth Century.” He studied images of St. Francis of Assisi found in landscape art.
Beal incorporates his research into the classes he teaches at FRCC.
Beal has a bachelor of arts in history from Bowdoin College in Maine and a master of arts in art history from the University of Colorado-Boulder. He joined FRCC as an instructor in 1998 and became a faculty member in 2004. He also has written a book about bouldering.
The director of this summer’s institute, Francesca Fiorani of the University of Virginia, describes the program as an exploration of “the investigative processes at the root of modern science: how to record, visualize, abstract, and circulate first-hand observations. The institute will look specifically at how Leonardo connected his scientific investigation of the world with his activity as a painter, how words and images interact with each other in his notes, and what is the significance of Leonardo’s legacy today.”
Participating scholars centered their activity at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (KHI) Max-Planck-Institut, a renowned art historical library. They examined Leonardo’s paintings and drawings housed at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The group traveled to Milan to examine Leonardo’s “Last Supper” at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie. A wide range of da Vinci scholars worked with participants throughout the three-week seminar.
About Front Range Community College
FRCC is a member of the Colorado Community College System, the state’s largest system of higher education. CCCS serves more than 162,000 students annually. The system oversees career and academic programs in the 13 state community colleges and career and technical programs in more than 160 school districts and six other post-secondary institutions.