Art History Students Visit Norton Simon Museum of Art

 Students in The History and Art of Modern Europe and World walked around the Norton Simon Museum of Art trying to guess the artist of each painting using the themes, colors and styles that they have associated with the major artists throughout the year, on a field trip March 5.  

The 42 students left during fifth period and returned in time to attend the second half of their eighth period classes.  The chaperones for the field trip included history department head Katherine Holmes-Chuba, visual arts teacher Marianne Hall, and history teacher Gregory Gonzalez. 

At the Norton Simon, the students started by walking through the sculpture garden and comparing the way the light hit the sculptures to how the Impressionist used light in their paintings to represent objects.  Once inside the museum, the art history students looked at art from the periods that they have been learning about this year, including art from the Baroque, Impressionist and Post-impressionist periods by artists such as Rembrandt, Degas, Manet and Van Gogh.

Each of the chaperones guided students, who were split into three groups by their fourth period classes, around the museum and led discussions on the art that they saw.  The students were able to discuss the main visual themes in each painting and relate what they have been learning about this year to the actual works of art.

 “I believe that the students realize how much they have learned. Students were able to identify the artist in all the main pieces,” said Holmes-Chuba.

Towards the end of the trip, students entered the wing of the museum devoted to Impressionism and Post-impressionism, and saw Manet’s “Ragpicker” at the end of a long hallway.  Students discussed how this is the piece that really ushered artists into the Impressionism, and based their discussions on the rest of the Impressionism art around the light and line that Manet used in this piece. 

“I think that it is different to study a work of art from a slide and actually be physically in front of it. I always enjoy this trip because I like to see my students’ reactions to works of art- something that they may have been indifferent to suddenly becomes a revelation in ‘the flesh.’ Many times I see this connection with Manet’s Ragpicker’” said Holmes-Chuba.