Art, Art History and History trip to Paris

On the first morning of autumn half term, nearly 30 sixth form girls set off from Bristol Airport to Paris for a joint History, History of Art and Art trip. After the short flight to Charles de Gaulle airport, we arrived at our hotel, conveniently located in the 10th arrondissement, within walking distance from many sites.

Immediately after dropping off our luggage, we set off on the metro to the Louvre, where paintings such as Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, in which the allegorical depiction of Liberty reflects the fight of the people against the corrupt monarchy in the French Revolution, proved interesting for the whole group.

That evening, we enjoyed an excursion to the Arc de Triomphe, which afforded wonderful views of the city by night, including exciting glimpses of the illuminated Eiffel Tower. We also enjoyed being allowed to dine out in small groups throughout the trip, and take our pick from the many restaurants and cafes surrounding the hotel.

The next day, while the History students set off early for Versailles, to witness the lavish lifestyle of the monarchy before the revolution at the Palace of Versailles, my Art and Art History group enjoyed a busy day at the Picasso Museum, where Picasso’s iconic works were exhibited along side works of Giacometti. We also visited the Rodin Museum, where we enjoyed an array of enormous pieces such as Rodin’s The Thinker, as well as many that are less well known and beautifully displayed in the artist’s house and garden.

On the third day, the groups went their separate ways once again, with the Historians visiting the gothic cathedrals of Notre Dame and Saint Chappelle, and the artists appreciating the two more contemporary styles of architecture at Frank Gehry’s Louis Vuitton Foundation, and the Pompidou Centre designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rodgers.

The art historians also had the opportunity to see first hand many works that they have studied this year, such as Matisse’s Luxe, Calme, et Volupte and Mondrian’s Composition en Rouge, Bleu et Blanc II where we were able to appreciate the imperfections in Mondrian’s rigid forms, which are not discernable in the photographic reproductions that we learn from.

Our last port of call was the Musée D’Orsay on the final day, which houses a modern collection of art in a magnificently converted railway station. This is a museum full of treasures from Monet’s Water Lilies to Degas’ Ballerinas. We all had a fantastic time and our thanks to Miss Fisher, Ms Whitehead, and Mrs Owen for organising it and accompanying us.

Jemima Terry, SFC2