La Sfacciata Lighting Academy, named after the 15th-century villa once owned by the Vespucci family, which was renovated to house the institute, recently held its first course. It was organized by Florence University, the Regional Institute of Optical and Optometric studies, and lighting manufacturer Targetti Sankey, also sponsors of the Academy.

An advanced course in lighting technology applied to artistic and museum environments with an emphasis on the preservation of works of art was held by LDs, university lecturers, and designers. The 48-hour technical/practical course covered the human eye and sight, use of light sources, protecting exhibits against the undesired effects of light, international standards, the influence of artificial light on the perception of works of art, the evolution of museum lighting, and museum management.

Academy founding partner Professor Alessandro Farini, of the Italian National Optics Institute in Arcetri, states, "The university course dedicated to museum lighting was an opportunity to bring together lighting designers and people whose day-to-day work is safeguarding works of art, making them accessible to the public and ensuring that they are seen at their best. Illuminating works of art involves various disciplines, such as the protection of the works from excessive exposure to light, but also the parameters necessary to enable, for example, a painting to be viewed correctly, without its colors being altered. I think this is one of the most interesting results achieved by the Academy--offering a meeting place for experts from every field, to ensure that illumination becomes less and less a field dominated by purely technical aspects."

One of the lecturers in the course, Alessandra Reggiani, a Rome-based LD specializing in museum lighting (see "Production and propagation," LD December 1998, page 20), was also pleased with the outcome and opined, "It was important from both a human and professional point of view. The students were from varied age groups and backgrounds--from those studying architecture or subjects such as preservation of cultural property, to people in town council technical departments, plus lighting fixture reps, lighting engineers, and more. It was challenging but wonderfully satisfying to involve them. Another positive aspect was the contribution of the teachers, also from varied fields: from a physicist specializing in optics and colorimetry to a museum director who is also an art historian. We're in regular contact with the majority of the pupils, who contact me for advice or to ask my opinion on products."

Other courses in the Academy's syllabus include outdoor, garden, and landscape lighting; hotel, cinema, theatre, and restaurant lighting; and lighting for places of worship. The Academy, which has an agreement for collaboration and cultural exchange with the GE Lighting Institute in Cleveland, is also the permanent home of the Targetti Art Light Collection, an international collection of works of art inspired by light, coordinated and directed by Amnon Barzel.