A limited number of summer internships are available for Harvard students at Villa I Tatti. The primary goal is to allow students to spend two months (June-July) at the Florence center to carry out a project that contributes to their academic development.
(The projects listed here are projects undertaken by summer 2018 interns. Projects for summer 2019 will be posted in late 2018. )
The Diaries of Mary Berenson
Mary Berenson was the wife of Bernard Berenson, one of the most famous and influential connoisseurs of Italian Renaissance paintings and drawings, who bequeathed his library of some 50,000 volumes, his collection of artworks, and the villa that housed them to Harvard University. Mary was herself a scholar of Italian Renaissance art, but like the wives of other prominent art historians such as Dora Panofsky and Margot Wittkower, Mary’s own professional and personal accomplishments have been subsumed by the singular focus on her husband’s achievements. In fact, Mary was involved in the women’s movement in the US and England, wrote essays and made speeches on suffrage and the role of women in politics, and published art historical journal articles and pamphlets. Working with a collection of thirty diaries compiled by Mary Berenson, interns will help bring to light her contributions as both an independent scholar and as Bernard’s collaborator in his research, writing, lecturing, and business affairs. Working with primary and secondary sources, interns will be introduced to archival research and cultural criticism, uniquely familiarizing them with the Berensons’s vast network of friends and intellectual relations (including figures such as Isabella Stewart Gardner, Edith Wharton, and Kenneth Clark) that proved so significant for 20th-century art history.
Between the end of the nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth, Bernard and Mary Berenson acquired a vast array of artworks. Best known today are the Italian panel paintings from the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, but the Villa also houses valuable pre-Columbian, Islamic, and Asian sculptures, objects, and scrolls, including a gilded bronze Buddhist altar dated 529 CE, precious Persian illuminated manuscripts, and stunning examples of Renaissance-era textiles. Interns will help to prepare entries for the forthcoming catalogue of our important but little-studied collection of non-Western art; this includes Chinese, Thai, and Japanese works (paintings, bronzes, stone and terracotta sculpture) described in our summary catalogue, The Bernard Berenson Collection of Oriental at Villa I Tatti, from 1991. Interns will push this research forward through a study of the works themselves, in conjunction with Berenson’s correspondence, photographs, archival material, and scholarly resources in the library. This project offers interns the opportunity to work closely with artworks housed in the Villa itself, and provides a foundation in provenance research and collection history, a valuable skillset for future work in academia and museums.
Archibald Creswell photographs of Islamic Architecture
Interns will work with rare vintage photographs of Islamic architecture from the extraordinary collection of images shot by Sir K.A.C. Creswell (1879-1974), a pioneer in the study of Islamic architecture who travelled extensively in the Middle East from around 1919 to the 1960s measuring and photographing monuments. Of great documentary value generally, the importance of the collection is enhanced even more due to the presence of images of numerous sites that have been destroyed or are now altered through excavation and/or restoration.
Communications Interns will work on a variety of communications-based projects, which may include: Creating photography and working on the design of I Tatti’s annual printed calendar and a selection of printed materials; assisting with the production of an I Tatti general information booklet, preparing content for upload to the Center’s YouTube channel; keeping I Tatti’s wider community abreast of events through social media posts, drafting content for the I Tatti website news section; working to update online art collection records. Interns will become familiar with the communications strategies and media output of an international research institutions, preparing them for future work in non-profit cultural organizations, museums, and universities.
Mediterranean Cookery and Produce
Interns working on Mediterranean cookery and produce will gain experience in the production and preparation of seasonal ingredients and dishes. I Tatti relies heavily on its organic garden to produce a colorful selection of herbs, fruit, and vegetables, and interns will learn about the correct preparation of these ingredients while helping to create innovative and fresh Italian and Mediterranean recipes for the scholarly community. Interns will also assist I Tatti's experienced team of Italian chefs in the art of pasticceria (pastry-making.) The internship involves the preparation of written content concerning the history of I Tatti's olive oil and wine, soon to be sold at Harvard, and assisting with the production of an upcoming booklet of recipes from I Tatti's kitchen.
Applicants must be currently enrolled as full-time students at Harvard University. Priority will be given to rising juniors and seniors at Harvard College. Familiarity with Italian is recommended but not required. Unfortunately, graduating seniors are not eligible.
Interns receive $5000 to offset the costs of transportation, room, and board. They are required to reside in Florence from June 1 through July 30, and are responsible for arranging their own housing and travel. Interns are required to spend at least four full days a week at the Villa and to attend all academic events. Interns may not take on any other obligations, even part-time ones, during any part of their internship. Interns enjoy all the privileges of the Harvard Center, including use of the Biblioteca Berenson and lunch from Monday through Friday.
Applicants will need to provide a cover letter, C.V. (including knowledge of languages), and a list of courses taken at Harvard (including grades and names of professors.) In the cover letter, please list up to three projects in which you would most like to take part, in order of preference. A professor familiar with the applicant’s studies must supply a letter of recommendation. To give the referee adequate time to submit a letter of recommendation, click the reference tab and register them as early as possible. Referees will receive an email explaining how to access the system and submit their letters electronically.