Art and the Magic of Museums

There’s something magical about Europe – its vast history, culture, food and people – and its art museums are just as enchanting. As soon as you set foot inside one, they transport you back to another time and place. They have the power to engage with you and create meaningful experiences.

“Art is something that removes us from our day-to-day existence and has the ability to place us where we’ve never been,” said Instructor Kathryn “Kitty” Klauber.

Expand your travels this spring in Ms. Klauber’s course, Treasured Art Museums of London and Paris, and learn more about the rich art history of these two great European capitals. From Paris’s the Louvre to London’s Tate Modern, there is something for the art lover in all of us. She will discuss some familiar favorites as well as those often overlooked by the harried traveler. You will listen to stories of these art venues and their masterworks, master artists and benefactors. Ms. Klauber gave us a sneak peek of her upcoming class below.

What differentiates London and Paris art museums from other European art museums?
All museums have unique histories and evolutionary twists, but London and Paris, with their spectacular wealth of art objects – accrued through centuries of royal power and expansion – are also European capitals Americans feel they generally know well. Thus, it’s the happiest of surprises when one discovers the odd room, a curious collection, an exquisite object … and even an altogether new museum that the traveler might have unwittingly passed on a previous visit. Both these great cities abound with wonderfully unexpected art treasures.

What do you expect students to takeaway from this class?
The notion of museums as rarefied, austere spaces that few enter and fewer still comprehend is inconsistent – to say the least – with my own philosophy of art. I revel in placing the experience, knowledge, and sheer joy of art before my students, and in their finding real excitement and satisfaction within museum spaces. Having, before the fact of travel, a sense of a museum’s design, its purpose, and its often idiosyncratic collecting history, artists and objects adds immeasurably to the thrill of viewing and discovery.

If you had to pick a favorite museum, which would it be?
I’ve really had ‘moments’ within museums rather than favorite museums per se. Marveling at John Soane’s obsessive collections; spotting Jan van Eyck’s tiny “Arnolfini Wedding Portrait” in London’s National Gallery (and being aghast by its brilliance); watching my daughter twirl spontaneously around Monet’s great Water Lilies series in the Orangerie; laughing aloud at Charles II’s complacent gaze from out his portrait in London’s National Portrait Gallery; and wandering into a low-lit room in a far corner of the Musée d’Orsay to have one’s eyes slowly adjust to a wall of van Gogh’s. But, if you must know which museums have given me the greatest ‘moments’ overall, you’ll want to take our class to find out!

Join us across the pond starting Tuesday, February 17 in either our daytime or evening section and explore Europe through some of its most treasured art museums.

Rachael Shappard

Author

Rachael Shappard, Marketing Coordinator

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