After first arriving at Southern Virginia several years ago, Doug Himes was astounded at how many of his art students had never made the journey north to visit the National Gallery of Art, one the single greatest art collections in the world. From then on, he promised to make sure each and every student had the opportunity to walk through its halls and admire its vast spectrum of works — from ancient to contemporary.
This last Friday, Himes’ advanced drawing and printmaking classes, a group of seasoned gallery veterans, were given the opportunity to not only walk the halls of the Smithsonian, but to venture into the elusive print studies room. There, they were able to see and study the works of artistic giants like Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, M.C. Escher and Albrecht Dürer. And the best part? No crowds and no glass. Students literally had inches between them and the different pieces.
“I couldn’t resist admiring the finesse and skill in which these masters created their pieces,” expressed Taelor Worthington, a junior and art major at Southern Virginia.
“There’s an honesty and a sense of trust that comes from being able to see a work up close and personal,” said Ben Patty, a senior and fellow art major. “When you see the pen strokes on the original, you realize the artist’s abilities were far more incredible than you had imagined. You can feel the emotion and trust that nothing has changed since they put the pen down. Honestly, after seeing them in person, it felt wrong to go back and look at a copy.”
“After that experience, I now realize I would rather spend an entire day in a room with a few pieces of art — really be able to study them and understand what the artist was thinking and trying to convey — than walk a whole museum.”
Photography by Serena Call, a senior and art major at Southern Virginia University.