Alexandria Campus Prof. Sarah Liberatore, Prof. Martha Davis and students from Art 100 and Spanish 202 classes visited the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Prof. Liberatore led the group on an informative tour, which began in the West Wing’s rotunda with an overview and brief history of the museum and tips for deciphering information on museum labels. She also pointed out several architectural elements of the building, such as a barrel vault and ionic columns.
The tour then continued through the West Wing with stops to see Spanish masterpieces by El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Zubarán, Murillo and others. Students learned about historical context, artists’ techniques, biographies, and symbolism that appears in the works of the paintings. They also heard chilling accounts of Christian martyrs and stories about the lives of saints, kings and queens.
Next, the group traveled on the moving sidewalk installation of Leo Villareal to arrive at the East Wing, where they studied modern works by Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and Joaquín Torres-García. The tour concluded with stops to admire the paintings of two Catalonian artists, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí.
After the tour, the students were able to continue exploring the museum’s collection on their own. Prof. Davis and Prof. Liberatore hope to build on the success of this visit by taking students on annual tours of other local collections of Spanish and Latin American art.