Geology in Art of Hungary

J Term Course: GEOL 250/275 Geology in Art of Hungary

Course Overview

Geology in Art explores the artistic phenomena where geology brings its own aesthetic and conceptual heritage. Many artists and naturalists have dedicated their work to the study of earth sciences. In this course, students will survey traditional, historic and contemporary art, history, and geology of Hungary in order to draw conclusions between the two subject areas. (EL)

Basic Course Information

  • One week on campus introduction to geology of Hungary, and basics of ceramics and raw materials
  • A 21 day off campus (19 days of exciting activities + 2 travel days) offered about every 2 years during January Term.
  • Visits Budapest, International Art Studio in Kecskemet, Zsolnay Factory in Pecs and various smaller towns and geologically interesting areas of the country, including a Geopark. 
  • Limited to 16 students.
  • Coordinated and co-taught by Professor Stephanie Rozene, Department of Art and Art History and Dr. Zsuzsanna Balogh-Brunstad, Departments of Geology and Environmental Sciences, and Chemistry.

Highlighted Activities

  • Transdanubia (West of the Danube River) of Hungary, investigate some of the Habsburgs inheritance, remanence of the 19th century “golden era” that was rich in arts and ceramics
  • Visit the Geopark North of Lake Balaton and several other geologically important sites
  • Immerse in the folk arts of the region; visit a contemporary art studio in Zala County 
  • Pecs, visit the Zsolnay Porcelain Factory and Museum and the Early Christian Monastery (Roman Ruins). This region also ethnically diverse and offer a great opportunity to learn about the influence of minorities, such as Serb, Croatian and German cultures, on the folk art and crafts.
  • Budapest, visit museums, royal palaces, and cultural centers to immerse in the rich cultural history that we learned about prior to the trip.
  • In Gödöllő, we will visit the Gödöllő Artist Colony which was influenced by English Arts and Crafts Movement as well as the second largest Baroque Castle in the world, the Gödöllő Royal Palace.
  • Plenty of opportunity for urban geology

Course Trip Fee

A reasonable student fee covers: 1) airfare to and from Budapest, Hungary, 2) all in country travel, including van transportation in Transdanubia, 3) all trip lodging, 4) three meals daily, 5) all program-related activity fees, and 6) a share of the lodging, meals and transport costs for the faculty (standard for all off-campus J Terms). Students are responsible for the costs of any activities during free days.

Physical Requirements

All students must be physically capable to carry their own luggage, participate in lengthy day hikes and/or walks through the cities. All participants should expect long days in outdoor settings (in mostly winter weather conditions) and live in small groups in hostel and house rooms.

Academic Requirements

J Term course grades are based on: A) Participation and discussion about the sites visited (20%), B) Presentation on research and handout for all course members (20%), C) Final Essay that incorporates research and actual experience (25%), D) Journal entries (25%), and E) Museum Checklists (10%).


Sample Course Itinerary of Activities

Actual activities subject to change due to booking availability, changes or delays in travel, time available, and weather conditions. Actual travel dates, flight numbers, departure times, and lodging providers included in later course itinerary, when bookings are complete.

Week 1: Hartwick College

Learning about the geology of Hungary, culture of the country, basics of ceramics and raw materials, and travel etiquette.

Week 2-4: Hungary

  • Day 1: Arrival to Budapest and train travel to the International Ceramics Studio, Kecskemet.
  • Day 2-3: International Ceramics Studio, experimenting with raw materials, visiting exhibits of contemporary artists, “Cifra Palota”, basics of sketches and journaling.
  • Day 4-8: Travel around Transdanubia with two vans, investigate some of the Habsburgs inheritance, remanence of the 19th century “golden era” that was rich in arts and ceramics; visit the Geopark North of Lake Balaton and climb Pliocene volcanoes; immerse in the folk arts of the region; visit a contemporary art studio in Zala County.
  • Day 9: a day off
  • Day 10: Travel to Pécs, City Tour.
  • Day 11-13: Pécs and its surroundings, visiting the Zsolnay Porcelain Factory and Museum and the Early Christian Monastery (Roman Ruins). This region also ethnically diverse and offer a great opportunity to learn about the influence of minorities, such as Serb, Croatian and German cultures, on the folk art and crafts. Also, we will be studying the local limestone and tuff caves, ammonitic lime stone, and local soils. Investigating the relationship between the geology and the world famous wine production of the region.
  • Day 14: travel to Budapest via train, rest of the day is off.
  • Day 15-20: the capital and the surrounding area that may include Szentendre, Gödöllő and Visegrád. In these cities we will be visiting museums, royal palaces, and cultural centers to immerse in the rich cultural history that we learned about prior to the trip. In Gödöllő, we will visit the Gödöllő Artist Colony which was influenced by English Arts and Crafts Movement as well as the second largest Baroque Castle in the world, the Gödöllő Royal Palace. Plenty of opportunity for to do urban geology, visit caves, old volcanic peaks and famous spas. Investigating the hydrology of the Carpathian Basin.
  • Day 21: Travel back to USA.
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