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Art History at the Ashmolean

Posted: 8th November 2017

The Study I art historians attended the Ashmolean History of Art Study Day yesterday. Talks by Colin Harrison, Senior Curator of European Art and Prof Craig Clunas, Professor of the History of Art at Oxford were supplemented by workshops to develop skills of visual analysis and interpretation.

On Tuesday 7thNovember the Study 1 history of art students made a brisk walk down to the Ashmolean museum in the centre of town where we had a day of lectures and workshops. Our first being a lecture on Manet, and the context behind his piece ‘Fanny Claus’. Our lecturer Colin Harrison, a professor of History of art at the University of Oxford, explained all of the sketches that Manet drew before creating his final piece. After this we were divided into groups and were sent off to out our workshops the first one being on landscapes, which coincides with our syllabus. My favourite part was going to see the print room where we discussed the difference between war paintings, the attributes we saw, what aspects of the works symbolised and how the artists had conveyed their opinions in their art. We proceeded into other workshops where we focused on visual analysis where we were fortunate enough to see Manet’s ‘Fanny Claus’ which is held by the Ashmolean and shares a room with works by Van Gough, Picasso and Inchbold. The day ended with a last lecture at about oriental art where was learnt about Qin Shi Huang’s terracotta army and Ai Weiwei’s sunflower seeds.

Throughout the day we learnt so many new skills through our habits or mind such as thinking and communicating with clarity or questioning and problem posing in group discussion. However, most importantly we reinforced responding with wonderment and awe as we were presented with incredible arts throughout the day; including portraits, landscape, sculptures and installations and there was never a dull moment.

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