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AS History of Art take a trip to the National Gallery

On Monday the 29th of September a fresh batch of History of Art students made their way to the National Gallery in London for their first opportunity of the year to show off their newfound skills in the analysing and exploration of paintings through the ages. A leisurely stroll (for some at least) to Trafalgar Square provided us with an opportunity to apply some our knowledge of architecture to the decorative old-fashioned buildings, but it was really the portraits, landscapes and still lifes that took main stage when we got to the Gallery. Ambling, well, stalking at times, through the maze of mirror-like floors and lavishly wallpapered rooms reminiscent of a 1700s manor house we passed so many Dutch, Gothic, Italian and Renaissance paintings it was impossible to stop and admire them all. Luckily, however, we were able to sample most of the greats, such as Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Diego Velázquez’s The Rokeby Venus and Anthony van Dyk’s massive Equestrian Portrait of Charles I.

Each and every talk was a highlight and as they progressed it became apparent that we were not only gaining insight into the masterpieces on the walls but also into the minds of the budding History of Art students standing in front of them. Everyone managed to find their own interpretations in their assigned work and was ready with highly detailed and carefully researched speeches to impart upon the group (and a few tourists we swept up on the way). For everyone their passion and enthusiasm for art filled the halls and made it a truly interesting and worthwhile educational afternoon out.

By Tabitha Evans