The exterior of the school with its neoclassical pillars ,badly in need of repair, belies a glorious light-filled pantheneon atrium where there a permanent display of gesso replicas including a classical bust of Prof.Selvatico, a Padovan architect who founded the school.This is the life drawing studio for the students ,still an important subject in the Italian curriculum, contrary to the trend of overseas art schools that have axed this essential subject.
Pictured in the atrium with a current display of textile students work is Donatella Michelon,one of its dedicated weaving teachers who organised my workshops that focused on professional development in the area of dyes and shibori,the resist dye technique whose collective Japanese name is shibori.
Being an art gallery itself ,Selvatico is worth a visit if you are ever in Padova (request permission first of course! but the reception staff are friendly if you say,Per favore, posso dare solo una occhiata!Please can I just want have a quick look!).There,classical Roman bass reliefs,life size Michelangelo slave series and Canova Baroque classics mingle with changing displays of the students work, contrasting between traditional and contemporary, interpreted in new mindset of the young e-generation,attesting to the enduring power of art to inspire successive generations.This is only possible if institutions like Selvatico are supported. I had a short encounter with the principal of the school who greeted me graciously but did not linger.She looked worried...she is soldiering on, according to the great Italian politician and philosopher, Antonio Gramsci's advice-
" I am pessimisitic by nature and optimistic by determination"