Program Dates: May 28 – June 23, 2023
Applications received by March 15 will receive a preference in internship placement. Please see detailed information on our Internship Application Page.
The goal of the Siena Program is to offer the world’s best courses for the study of the complex and fascinating relationship between international law, and art and cultural property. There could be no better place to pursue such studies than in the artistic treasure that is Siena.
This program provides the only opportunity in the world to study in-depth the relationship between international law and art and cultural property, both tangible and intangible. The program’s strength is that it explores the most basic premise of all: that if the law does not protect and preserve art and cultural property, then it does not truly protect humanity.
While the program is designed primarily for law students, graduate students in other disciplines, such as art, art history, archeology, and anthropology are encouraged to attend. These students bring additional depth and breadth to the program, as their insights and perspectives come from completely different sources – sources other than law. As can be seen from the course descriptions and faculty biographies sections, the program brings together not only international legal scholars, but also scholars with expertise in art and archeology in order to give students in the program a multi-dimensional understanding of the subject matter. This combination of students and faculty members from many different fields removes barriers from the classroom and allows for an interchange of both ideas and opportunities.
Partner Host Institution
While classes in the conventional sense will be held at the Facoltà di Giurisprudenza, Siena and Tuscany will be the true classrooms, providing students with the opportunity to see and experience first-hand the problems and issues that shape this field. Classroom lectures will be supplemented extensively with field trips, visits to museums, and guest speakers to take full advantage of the program’s location.
Students will also have the opportunity to experience the glory that is Tuscany, often described as “the place where Mother Nature outdid herself.” Should a student desire to see more, the cities of Florence, Pisa, Volterra, Lucca and Arezzo are a short distance away.
Follow the adventure on Instagram at #TulaneLawSiena.
The Academic Course: International Law, Cultural Heritage, and the Arts (6 credits)
This course includes five subtopics that will prepare students for work in the field of International Law, Cultural Heritage and the Arts.
The Prosecution of Cultural Property Crimes: Mission Almost Impossible
Professor Larson- Tulane University Law School
This course will very briefly the address unique history of the legal status of cultural property, and that history’s role in making criminal prosecutions in this area so difficult. The course will also examine all the other current problems faced by law enforcement agencies, both international and domestic, problems which arise from the unique nature of the markets in art and antiquities. Case studies, including cases arising from The Holocaust, the looting of the Iraq Museum, and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, will be used during the course to illustrate these legal issues. Finally, the course will look at some successful domestic models for prosecuting these cases, including the ones created in Italy - the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, and in the United States - the FBI Art Crime Squad.
The International Legal Framework for the Protection of Art and Cultural Property
Professor Gerstenblith- DePaul University- College of Law
Processor Francioni- University of Siena.
Designed for law students, students in other disciplines, and working professionals, this portion of the course will provide an introduction to the complex and often confusing web of principles and systems that constitute international law. Concepts such as sovereignty, jurisdiction, and standing will be considered, as well as the basic rights of both nations and individuals to their art and their cultural property.
The following major conventions regarding the protection of art and cultural property will be addressed: the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, and the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.
Beyond the Law: The Ethics of Collectors and Collections
Professor Flora- Tulane University School of Liberal Arts
This section will explore the ever-changing ethical issues surrounding the acquisition of art by museums and collectors, who now often go beyond the law to embrace new ethical codes of collecting. What duty does a museum have to ensure that it is not acquiring stolen property? When must property that is discovered to be stolen be returned to its rightful owner or to its country of origin? Is it ethical for a private collector to purchase a masterpiece, and deny the public access to it? Taking advantage of resources in Siena itself, such as the city Paintings Gallery, the Cathedral Museum, and the Archaeological Museum, this section will look at how and why art was and is acquired by museums and collectors in Italy and abroad. We will look in particular at collecting policies and ethical codes of American museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum, and their at-times controversial acquisition of Italian works by seminal figures in Sienese painting such as Duccio. Reflecting on issues of ownership, culture, and identity as faced by museums, we will also examine works of Etruscan art at the center of recent repatriation efforts by Italy, and also address the Elgin or Parthenon Marbles controversy.
The Protection of Art in Times of Crisis: from War to Natural Disasters
Professor Pavoni- University of Siena Professor Lenzerini- University of Siena
From earliest times, art and cultural property have been treated, and prized as “the spoils of war.” In just the past century, civilization has witnessed massive theft and destruction of art and cultural property during armed conflicts, ranging from the systematic looting of the artwork of entire nations by the Nazis during WWII, to the deliberate eradication of Buddhist temples and monasteries in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge, to the recent pillaging of an entire national museum. Unfortunately, the legal efforts to protect art and cultural property during such armed conflicts have not kept pace. This section will survey those efforts, beginning with the ancient “laws of war,” continuing up through the Lieber Code, the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, and ending with Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. In addition, a portion of the time will be devoted to the issue of protecting art during other times of crisis, such as natural disasters.
Victoria Reed- Provenance Curator for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Throughout this course, students will learn about documenting and proving provenance; due diligence and the acquisition process; WWII and Nazi-era provenance research; and other issues related to stolen and forged works of art.
All courses meet at the University of Siena, Monday through Friday, at the following times. Fieldtrips will take place on two of the Fridays.
8:50 am – 10:50 am
11:10 am – 1:10 pm
Please note that this schedule is tentative and subject to change. You will receive a detailed copy of the program schedule upon arrival.
Login information for course materials are sent to students prior to the program.
A maximum of thirty students will be accepted for the Siena program. We recommend applying early in order to secure your space in the program.
There are no program accommodations offered through the Siena program, however housing recommendations will be provided to students. You may also consult with the onsite program coordinator who lives in Siena regarding any prospective accommodations. Many students have been successful with arranging their own accommodations within walking distance. The address of The University of Siena Law School, where your classes will take place is: Via Pier Andrea Mattioli 10 Siena. Please see the Siena Recommendations below from our onsite coordinator.
To connect with other students, share housing resources, and possibly coordinate roommates, join the Program's Facebook group 2023 Tulane Law Summer in Siena!
A calendar of all activities will be provided closer to the start of the program. Excursion examples from previous programs include:
Students should plan to arrive at the University of Siena by 5:00 pm on Sunday, May 28 for a brief city tour. Students should not plan to leave Siena earlier than mid-afternoon on Friday, June 23. Final exams will take place during regular class time on Friday, June 23, exams cannot be rescheduled.
Students are responsible for all travel and are strongly advised to purchase travel insurance. We recommend researching ticket prices early from a few travel search engines to find the most competitive prices.
Family members and friends are cordially invited to participate in all activities except the academic course. There will be a small additional charge for such participation, to cover the cost of admissions, tickets, and food.
U.S. citizens do not require a visa due to the short time period you will be abroad. International students should check with the appropriate embassy or consulate to ascertain whether a visa is necessary.
Italian language skills are not required for program participation (since courses will be taught in English and guest lectures by Italians will be translated into English when necessary). However, in order to enhance the cultural immersion experience, students are encouraged to enroll in any optional Italian language classes available through the program, and to take advantage of opportunities in their home institution or elsewhere to acquire basic Italian language skills before arriving in Siena.
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Travel & Food Recommendations (these recommendations are based on previous years and subject to availability)