Class Adventures: A Peek into the Archives

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.

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“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. 

Artists & Architects: Filippo Brunelleschi

martyn10/hulton/people7/10Heralded as the father of modern architecture, Filippo Brunelleschi stands as one of the single most influential figures in the history of both art and architecture.

Born in Florence during the Italian renaissance, Brunelleschi began his journey as a goldsmith and sculptor. In 1401, he competed against five other artists for a prestigious commission: the bronze doors of the Florence baptistry. After making  it to the final two, Brunelleschi lost to his arch nemesis, Ghiberti.

The two trefoils below are his (right) and Ghiberti’s (left) competition entries. The were both challenged to create an engaging and articulate depiction of The Sacrifice of Iasaac.

Enraged and dismayed, Brunelleschi then travelled to Rome with his friend and fellow artist, Donatello, to study the buildings of antiquity. There he discovered a love and talent.

Later, he returned to Florence and won the competition to construct the dome for Florence’s cathedral, the result of which would become one of his most notable accomplishments.

His other major accomplishment was born out of his study of architecture, but became a revolutionizing tool for artists of all mediums. Brunelleschi created a mathematical grid that allowed painters and other masters to create realistic representations of reality.


His understanding of architecture and perspective allowed artists to create paintings and spaces more incredible than ever.

If you’d like to read more, here are some links:

(Post by Erin Seage ’16. Photos by &