A day the the National Gallery in London
Today (May 29, 2016) our group went to the National Gallery (above) located in London's famed Trafalgar Square. This museum holds some of the world's most famous works of art. Many of our students were excited to have seen a number of the pieces that they had spoken about in their Western Thought course at OC. They noted how cool it was to stand in front of and evaluate these works that they had only seen or read about in their books. In fact, I sat with a few of the students in the hotel lobby for a while tonight and listened to them relay the classroom conversations about some of the pieces and how their thoughts were either confirmed or changed now that they had seen the pieces in person. That is one thing that I love about the study abroad program and experiential learning in general—i.e., when students are able to make deeper connections with the content they are learning in the classroom.
The museum also houses a number of my favorite works. Now, bear in mind that I am not an art aficionado (nor to I play one on TV), but the following pieces are some that I've come to appreciate because of what I've learned about them along the way (in classes like Western Civ/Western Thought). Here are three (please take time to click the links I've given you here so you can see each piece and can read a little about each one [yes, I am a teacher, so here's your homework]):
1. Jan van Eyck, "The Arnolfini Portrait"
2. Hans Holbein the Younger, "The Ambassadors"
3. Bartolome Bermejo, "St. Michael Triumphs Over the Devil"
The gallery also has Monet, Manet, van Gogh, Michelangelo, and so many more famous (and infamous) works by many other famous (and infamous) artists. If you ever have an opportunity to visit London, even for just a short time, you should try to get to this gallery and spend a few hours.
Early tomorrow morning (May 30), we catch a flight to Vienna! London is great, but we are so looking forward to settling down a bit in Wien.