Saturday, July 15, 2017

Art History Lecture Reflections (and Trip Thoughts)

"Sunflowers" by Vincent van Gogh
One particularly exciting dimension about my upcoming study abroad program (through Marylhurst University) in London and Rome is the riches of art we will have an opportunity to visit.  What a wonderful privilege and blessing!

     This really came home for me at last week's art lecture at MU.  The talk began with a discussion of the architecture of Rome.  As one of our professors, Dr. Roland, recounted of the Roman architecture and art descriptions of Dr. Jeffrey Blanchard on her Blog: A Passionate Geography: Romancing King Arthur's Roman War, "Rome, he explained, is a city of stratification and juxtaposition–a city where the architecture from one era is layered upon another, where marble columns are recycled into new uses, where buildings are joined together in surprising junctures."  I am going to have to pinch myself now.

     A personal concern is how am I possibly going to be able mentally record or capture the essence of Rome in only two weeks, or so?  I suppose the takeaway is that I probably cannot hope to do so--but that doesn't mean I won't try!  Our itinerary will likely have us visiting Museo Nazionale (National Roman Museum), Capitoline Museum, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Borghese Gallery, and, of course, the Vatican.  (I plan to attend Holy Mass at Saint Peter's on either September 10th or/and 17th.) 

Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses) by Paul Cézanne

     In London, we will be visiting both the British Museum and the National Gallery.  At the National Gallery, I will be offering a few words on "Bathers," pictured above.  (Each student is researching and offering a short presentation on a particular piece of art that we will be seeing in-person.)  Coming face-to-face with great art is something much more profound than seeing a photograph or reproduction of the same work elsewhere.  As I have written in the past, great art and architecture (especially sacred space) takes us outside of our own timeline for a moment and connects us with those in the past, present, and future who have (or will) gazed upon a wondrous masterpiece of art.  

Bathers at Asnières by Georges Seurat.

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