Monday, November 3, 2014

Art Major Winning

Good news! I am not using this blog as a procrastination tool! I FINALLY finished the second draft of my essay and am waiting for my mom to get back to me on the final edit (yes, my mom ALWAYS helps me edit my papers, I am not ashamed).

This blog post is dedicated to my experience here as a grad student studying art history and why I chose to study in London as compared to, let's say my alma mater, the University of North Texas.

Today I had class on location at the Courtauld Gallery here in London (It's an awesome collection!). Before I go any further with that story, let me take you back to the Fall 2013 semester of my senior year as an undergrad. I was taking a 19th century Avant-Garde class about artists located in Paris, France (the name of this course is a topic of debate in itself, my prof had a less mainstream view of when the avant-garde started). Just to name drop a few artists we studied, Monet, Cezanne, Pissarro, Courbet, Renoir, Degas, van Gough, Seurat, amongst others. We also studied Manet. We went into quite great detail of Manet's works and even read a fictional novel by Zola, entitled The Masterpiece, who based part of the main character on Manet. One very debated work by Manet is his A Bar at the Folies-Bergere. However, I was an art student yearning for travel stuck in a small desk in Denton, Texas. Talk about stifling creativity.

Thankfully, I had the foresight to come to London to further my art studies. AND  the topic for one of my graduate classes this week was none other than A Bar at the Folies-Bergere.

So, what do we do?!


Edouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergere, 1882

The most frustrating thing for me in my undergraduate class was not being able to see the paintings we were learning about in person. After my semester in Italy, where we learned about the art and then went and saw the art, I became spoiled. If you have ever studied a piece of art and looked at images of it online, but then gone to see it in person, you know how different the experience is.

My class today is the reason why I decided to attend grad school in London. Many people did not understand this decision, which is understandable if you have yet to experience the thrill of seeing an artwork in real life. (If you have seen the Mona Lisa in person, I apologize. If you had actually studied that painting you would know why it is such a significant work and highly valued. But alas, the majority of tourists are disappointed with da Vinci's Mona Lisa, therefore, please do not count your experience as an enlightening one, as I'm sure few can say that it was.)

I chose this Manet painting as an example because Manet is a very famous and recognizable name for the general public (PLEASE do not confuse hime with Monet, they are two different artists). Another painting I studied in my undergrad and also this semester, thus having the privilege to see in person, is The Arnolfini Portrait displayed at the National Gallery. Once again, another very famous and highly disputed painting in the art world.

Jan van Eyck, The Arnolfini Portrait, 1434
These two paintings, and many others I have seen and will be seeing during my year in London, are the reason why I am here. The amount of Manet's, Monet's and all the other artists I've seen while here is INSANE!! I'm in art major heaven!!

Also, on a side note, Since England slash Europe does not celebrate Thanksgiving (It's an American/Canadian holiday y'all) the next holiday after Halloween is CHRISTMAS!! Which means I can listen to Christmas music (or T-Swift's 1989) without any judgement. AND the decorations are slowly going up around town and it is the most magical thing! I CAN NOT wait for Christmas markets to start popping up!

I think my past two weeks of being sick are finally over with and I am loving the drastic change to winter over here! Today was cold and down pouring rain!!!

I leave you with the knowledge that I have a full and content heart and the promise of an AMAZING blog for my next post! Going on a very exciting and last minute adventure this weekend!

P.S. Can you spot the feet dangling in the top left corner of A Bar at Folies-Bergere? It's an acrobat performance in which the crowd reflected by the large mirror is so enthralled!

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