History of Art trip to London with The Bigger Picture
A 'petit' version of 'Le Grand Tour' perhaps best describes our History of Art trip on Monday 23rd April. Upon arrival, Miss Fisher and seven SFC1 girls were welcomed by Alex Fielding, an enthusiastic art historian and writer, who studied History at Oxford University before gaining her MA at the Courtauld Institute of Art in the architectural history of Rome.
The learning experience gave us a taster of the first-hand study of objects of art and architecture, undertaken at university level study up and down the country.
Alex's engaging narrative contextualised Rembrandt's self-portraits; how the luminosity of youthful skin in one painting vanished into the reddened eyes and tufts of silver hair in another. The traces of a Suffragette's attack on the 'Rokeby Venus' seemed to heighten instead of undermine its power, while Caravaggio's peasant disciples seemed to invite us all to join their 'Supper at Emmaus'.
This understanding of the scale, the surface texture, and the context of display enriched our knowledge of history of art greatly.
Walking against the wind in the City of London, architecture such as the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey sprang up in columns and buttresses, through Alex's expressive and precise terminology. The evolution of architecture suddenly became clear as we found ourselves surrounded by its context.
Skills essential for our A Level course, notably our ability to visually analyse and to articulate our ideas about works of art, were challenged further by the modern and contemporary collections in Tate Britain. Through group discussions and direct teaching, I believe that we are now more equipped to respond critically to artwork, even work engaged in controversial issues.