Fifteen students rose early Saturday morning to catch a train to New York, meeting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for an excursion with history of art professor Alexander Nemerov. The trip, organized by undergraduate art and art history journal Dimensions, consisted of a seminar-style discussion about two paintings led by Nemerov.
Nemerov guided students to two relatively obscure paintings in the Met’s collection, Mattia Preti’s “Pilate Washing his Hands” and Ludovico Carracci’s “Lamentation.” Rather than giving a lecture on the history or composition of these paintings, he chose to ask questions that would inspire close looking of the pieces. The discussion, fueled by comments and observations by the students, lasted just over an hour. Nemerov ended by asking the group to contemplate the modern state of painting as a medium and if its ability to evoke pure, sincere emotion—in the way the Preti or Caracci is able to—has deteriorated. In the afternoon, a few students continued the day of art with a trip to the Whitney Museum of American Art to view two popular exhibitions: “Edward Hopper and His Time” and “Charles LeDray: workworkworkworkwork,” the exhibit of a contemporary artist famous for his meticulously detailed sculptures carved out of human bone.
A second excursion is being planned for next weekend. Students will meet at the Met with history of art professor Christopher Wood and then at Bloomingdale’s with sociology professor Jeffrey Alexander “for a discussion on the ‘iconic’ status of everyday objects.”