Monday, May 7, 2012

4/23/12 Guided Activity #1 London

Guided Activity #1 Blog
            We started off the day by getting up for a bus tour to the Globe theater.  We arrived at the Globe theater and Sara Dern did a presentation on it and did a very nice job.  Unfortunately some of us in the class were not allowed to go in to the theater because they don’t do large group tours.  I was a little disappointed but a few of us in our group went to the millennium bridge in London right next door to the Globe.  We were excited to go on the bridge because it was from one of the Harry Potter movies and a few of us were huge Potter fans myself included.  After we departed the Globe theater we had free time until the evening.  Part of our free time had to be used for our first Guided Activity.  For our first Guided Activity assignment we were given in London, we were tasked with visiting one of the many art galleries in the city.  Many of them were free with our London pass.  The group I was with decided to go to the National Gallery.  They had such works from famous artists like Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Monet, and many more.  We were supposed to find two contrasting pieces of artwork in the gallery that spoke to us.  When we walked in everyone in my group split up individually around the gallery to find our artwork.  I started browsing in the first room of the gallery admiring various paintings.  I finally came across a very striking painting of Christ carrying the cross to his crucifixion while two soldiers lead him with a rope around his neck.  It was one of the most beautiful pieces of artwork I had ever seen.  As I walked by it I had no choice but to look at it and analyze it because it spoke to me so much.  It was a painting by Altobello Melone made in 1515.  I am of the Christian religion so I think that is one of the reasons why it spoke to me so much.  The first thing I noticed about the painting was Christ’s face.  It was a close up shot of his face for the most part.  In one snap shot I could see the sadness, fear, hope, all in his face.  The reflection of his life all in one look, it was incredible.  It was one of the most realistic paintings I have ever seen of Jesus Christ before.  A lot of it had to do with his eyes.  The emotions captured in the painting would not have been complete without his eyes.  His face told the paintings story.  Something else that stood out to me in the painting was the depiction of the soldier to Christ’s right.  The artist made a decision to make the soldier look slightly cartoonish and unrealistic, almost like a caricature.  I couldn’t quite figure out why at first but I think that it was because the artist wanted the viewers to keep their focus on Christ.  The soldier helped tell the story but to truly grasp the meaning of the artwork you had to look into Christ’s face.  It was at that moment that I truly understood more than I had before what Jesus went through.  The painting almost brought me to tears.  I was in love with the painting so much that I proceeded to go to the gift shop to see if I could find a print of it to purchase.  Sadly they didn’t have anything on the painting to buy.  Though I will never forget that painting and Christ’s face will always stay in my memory.  I was incredibly happy after we left the gallery.   I had never before been so moved and thought provoked by a piece of artwork in my life.  It was an amazing experience. We spent the rest of the day exploring the great city.  In the evening we went to go see The King’s Speech play at Wyndham’s theater.  It was one of the best plays I have ever seen.  It was a very good day to say the least. 

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