Thursday, November 18, 2010


What homework did you do today?

Last year my answer would have been something like: read out of a text book, diagrammed sentences for hours on end, finalized a paper, you know, the typical college stuff you spend hours slaving away on in the HBLL.

Yeah, well, today I went to the British Library and saw the original scripts of Da Vinci's sketches and thoughts on arithmetic and architecture, Darwin's On the Origin of Species, the Magna Carta, the Gutenberg Bible, Shakespeare's Hamlet, Handel's "Messiah," and the Beatles "Help" and "I Want to Hold your Hand" lyric sheets. But wait, I'm not done. I also went to the Tate Modern and saw some Picasso, Picabia, and Warhol and went to the Tate Britain and saw an incredible Romanticism collection filled with paintings from Turner and Constable. How is that for homework?

Right: Andy Warhol's self portrait           Left: Bridget Riley's Fall

One of the coolest experiences I have had so far was on one of these said homework trips. I had to write a paper for my humanities class that compared Constable, a landscape painter, to the poet William Wordsworth. I decided to take my laptop to the National Gallery and I wrote my paper on Constable's Haywain and Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadow as I sat right in front of them. How incredible is that? I have never had an experience quite like it. How am I ever supposed to go back to learning about things from a power point presentation? I think my classroom education will be forever ruined from here on out.

For homework on Monday, I went to the Courtauld Gallery at the Somerset House. It is breathtaking. The gallery is in a beautiful home and has some of the most stunning pieces of 19th and 20th century art. This gallery reaffirmed my love for Paul Cezanne and Edouard Manet (not Claude Monet, although I love him as well!), and sent me into an art-goggling rampage. I cannot express how much I love 19th and 20th century art. I am going to miss seeing all of these gorgeous paintings so much.

Paul Cezanne's The Etang Des Soeurs at Onsy

I am so grateful for the way my education has been so enriched these past 2 months. It is such an unbelievable experience to learn about a painting in class and then to go see the actual piece. The size, color, style, story, and emotions mean so much more. My favorite thing is when I walk through an art gallery and stumble upon a painting I have studied, it is so surreal, it stops me in awe every time. Another one of my favorite things is to just walk into an art gallery for pleasure and wander through until I find myself jetting across the room to stare at a painting that has drawn me in, it is almost an out of body experience. I am going to miss this so much... I think I'll need to make a trip to the Getty over Christmas break just to cure my missing-London woes.

More to come!

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