Years ago, she took a trip to Florence, Italy that impacted her educational focus.
Today, Professor Constance Moffatt, continues researching Italian Renaissance art and March 24, she presented a paper in Montreal that reflects her years of research.
It was a combination of seeing the art pieces in front of her and living in the compact buildings of Florence as an undergraduate student, that won Moffatt over.
“I probably would have studied something else, if I hadn’t gone to Italy,” said Moffatt.
A member of the Renaissance Society of America, she put together a 10-page paper centered on the Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan and patron of Leonardo Da Vinci and shared it with other members. A total of 1,400 people attended the annual meeting with several presenting papers.
A professor at Pierce College since 1991, Moffatt has organized the “Summer in Florence” program in the past. Students had the opportunity to study art abroad, while visiting museums that housed art significant to the Renaissance. Currently, the state economy has impacted the program directly and has forced it to come to a halt.
Observing works of art first-hand after only seeing them in a textbook is an entirely different experience, and Moffatt knows this well.
It took her a few weeks to organize the information from her dissertation and 20 years of research to write her paper.
“It’s like a treasure hunt in a way,” said Moffatt.
She has spent several summers working in the state archives of Milan handling delicate manuscripts dating to the Renaissance.
An admirer of Venecian Architect Andrea Palladio, Painters Andrea del Sarto and Leonardo Da Vinci, the first thing that attracts her to these artists is the beauty of their work.
“The second thing that interests me in these artists, is the intellectual process that they went through to get to the point of having that particular style,” said Moffatt.
A graduate of UCLA, Moffat studied Da Vinci under Carlo Pedretti, a scholar recognized for his extensive work and knowledge on the artist.
Additionally, Moffat studied patronage studies. She found the Duke of Milan commissioned Da Vinci’s artwork in the city. She was interested in the ways the Duke of Milan demonstrated that he was a patron of a specific work without literally signing it.
This is made clear in “The Last Supper.” In Da Vinci’s fresco, among the three lunettes at the top, is a coat of arms representing the duke and his sons.
Moffatt found examples of this in artworks originating from Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
Nadia Castillejo, 20, a nursing student currently enrolled Art 101 with Professor Angelo Allen. She recognizes that new discoveries are made in the field of art history sporadically and she supports the idea of instructors remaining active in their fields.
“When scholars continue to learn, students will also be up to date with what’s going on in art,” said Castillejo.
Joanna Dolores, 20, an art major and Castillejo’s classmate, agrees with this idea.
“Art tells us about culture. The more we know about it, the more we know about ourselves,” said Dolores.