Skip to main content

Kathy Miraglia

Seabourn Conversations, Featured Speaker

Kathy Marzilli Miraglia, EdD, MAE, BFA, professor emeritus of art education at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, is author of peer reviewed book chapters and journal articles. She co-edited the book “Inquiry in Action: Paradigms, Methodologies and Perspectives in Art Education Research,” and co-authored the book “Becoming a Visually Reflective Practitioner: An Integrated Self-Study Model for Professional Practice.” Currently she is in the process of co-writing the book “New Iconography: A Manual for the Contemporary Iconographer.”

Kathy has traveled extensively in Sicily, having spent 14 years teaching art and culture in a study abroad program for college students and six years in the Nocciano, Italy study abroad program for high school seniors. She has assisted in tours for The Mediterranean Studies Association Cultural Tours in Italy, Greece, and Morocco. Her research areas include interdisciplinary curriculum, implementation of research methods, teacher practices, and artistic media such as watercolor, acrylic, egg tempera, pastel, as well as Byzantine art and Italian festivals and customs. She is a practicing artist, currently exhibiting her paintings, pastels, and icons at the Judith Klein Gallery, in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Kathy has been recognized with multiple awards for her service, teaching, and leadership in the field of elementary art and higher education.

Conversation Topics

Date: June 7 or 8
Topic: Minoan Fashion Sense: Men and Women Who Went Topless (Greece)

Images of Minoan woman and the snake goddess depicted in frescos and on pottery will be presented with an explanation of how these were made. Men as well as women are seen carrying out everyday tasks as well as religious rites on walls and on ceramic vessels. While men wore simple loincloths below their waist, women are seen in beautiful, colored patterned skirts and corset-like tops with fantastic hairdos. Their garments were not believed to be sewn but held together with string or leather cord like that used to lace a corset. It is also known that women also wore similar garments along the northwestern part of Crete, across the Mediterranean and in Egypt. The Minoans style of painting is characterized by decorative curvilinear lines and shapes that lend a feeling of movement and liveliness. The Minoan color palette is based on earth pigments of white, brown, red and yellow along with black and the intense blue of the surrounding sea. Using the “wet" fresco painting method, pigments are painted into wet plaster binding the colors in the plaster, requiring the painter to work quickly.

Date: June 10
Topic: The Gold and The Glory: An Artist’s Look at Icon Paintings (Greece, Croatia, Italy)

This presentation focuses on the history and execution of Greek, Byzantine and Italian icon paintings, explaining egg tempera techniques, gold gilding, and the mysteries and characteristics of the art form. An icon (Greek word "eikon," "image") is an image painted in egg tempera on a wooden board (or other art form) that depicts holy personages from Orthodox Christianity. The iconographer is considered to be scientist, geologist, chemist and theologian. The art of the Byzantine Empire, a rich cultural and artistic history, is enjoying a resurgence and is recognized as a source of spirituality in Christian practices. This presentation covers: 1) a brief historical overview of icon painting traditions, starting with images of Roman and Egyptian faiyum painting and Byzantine and Russian practices; 2) examples of historic and contemporary icons; 3) Cennino Cennini, 15th century painter’s egg tempera and gilding techniques; and 4) the presenter will share their own icon paintings.

Date: June 13
Topic: St. Paul: Shipwrecked on Malta and the Madonna of the Letter (Sicily, Taormina, Malta)

A golden statue of the Madonna of the Letter stands in the harbor of Messina like a beacon and the patron saint of Messina. The story of the Madonna of the Letter begins in 41 or 42 AD with St. Paul’s visit to Sicily after being shipwrecked on Malta. The people of Messina asked St. Paul for a blessing from the Virgin Mary upon traveling back to Jerusalem, accompanied by ambassadors from Messina. On June 3 a letter containing her blessing was given to the ambassadors by Mary. In Kathy’s search of the Madonna’s story, she examined the significance concerning religious images and artifacts (current, historical and cultural) in Sicily. After multiple visits to Messina, she explored festival and devotional practices and documented the sites, archives and artistic works representing the Madonna of the Letter in churches, street shrines, confraternities and museums such as the Museo Regionale, and the Cathedral’s Treasury in Messina. She will share own paintings and experiences as a result of her pilgrimage to Sicily.

Date: June 15
Topic: Caravaggio the Bad Boy of the Baroque: Murder on the Road to Malta (Italy, Malta)

The story of Caravaggio’s contentious life, times and his significant paintings will be recounted. Hear about the events that influenced his behaviors and art such as the plague, beheadings, jealousies, duels, murders, the violence that resulted in his imprisonment, banishment in Malta and his death on his way back to Rome for forgiveness.