Meet our new Summer 2021 intern: Gizelle Winter

  • How did you first become interested in art history?

In sixth grade, on a family trip to Costa Rica, I picked up The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and decided to become a symbologist. I have since learned that “symbology” doesn’t exist. Nevertheless, I remain fascinated by visual language: I think it’s beautiful that we use images and experiences to communicate what words cannot. And, as a Classics major, I’m even more enticed by the idea that certain images (or symbols!) have been passed down and replicated for thousands of years. I spent my sophomore year of high school in the Campania region of Italy, a short bus ride away from Pompeii and Herculaneum, and fell in love with ancient art. Now that I’m living in New York, I’ve grown equally passionate about modern art. I’m drawn to continuity in styles and subjects — I think that similarities in artworks from different eras are some of the most accurate indicators of the human experience.

Gizelle Winter in Southhampton

● If you could purchase any work of art, what would it be and why? Where would you put it?

Although I’m tempted to choose an ancient artwork, like Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch (c. 130 BCE), I think I’d have to choose La sala delle agitate al San Bonifazio in Firenze by Telemaco Signorini (1865). I came across this painting at “Museo della Follia” in Napoli, an exhibit designed around the relationship between art and insanity — accordingly, this painting depicts a women’s psychiatric hospital, brimming with desolate patients. Signorini primarily uses figure and posture to tell their stories (an approach that parallels most ancient artworks). As a Columbia student, I’d put this painting on the third floor of Butler Library, where countless weary scholars have driven themselves to the edge of insanity. There, it might serve as a reminder of human limitations, and encourage even the most voracious readers to go to bed!

“La sala delle agitate al San Bonifazio in Firenze,” by Telemaco Signorini (1865)

● What do you like to do in your free time?

More than anything, I like to explore. Now that I live in New York, I have a world of culture at my fingertips and spend as much time as possible at parks, museums, landmarks, and, inevitably, subway stations. Before the pandemic, I took every opportunity to travel, and often reflected on my experience through travel blogging. Additionally, I love musical theater, both as an audience member and actor; I’ll be first through the doors when Broadway opens in the fall!

● What do you hope to gain from this experience at CIMA? What are you most looking forward to?

I couldn’t possibly ask for a better summer internship — CIMA is the perfect place for me to explore and expand upon my dual passions for art and Italian culture. I don’t often get the opportunity to practice my Italian, and though I’m a bit rusty, I’m excited to engage in the many Italian conversations held around the gallery. I can’t wait to peek behind the curtain of the art world and learn about the professional applications of a love for art — just by listening to the fellows, I know I’ll improve both my eye and vocabulary