The study of the Florentine Renaissance is in its full motion at ECLA: students attend lectures on art history as well as study literature of the prominent figures of the time. In addition to presentations and discussions in the classroom, the visit to Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie allowed students to see the actual works of art. Visiting various Berlin museums is an integral part of ECLA’s Academy Year program.
Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie possesses one of the most important collections of European art- from early medieval panel painting to the neo-classical works of the early nineteenth century. ECLA students visited the museum last November, when it was hosting the Rembrandt exhibition. This time the subject of interest was the early Italian painting, with works by Giotto, Fra Angelico and Botticelli. The tour was guided by Geoff Lehman and Aya Soika, ECLA’s faculty members involved in teaching the art historical component of the core course.
Walking in the large halls of the museum, students had a chance to engage in discussion about the significance of the paintings. With Aya and Geoff they traced the development of the painting techniques and observed the differences in execution in different parts of Europe. For instance, early German iconographic images emphasise the subject matter and symbolism of the depicted objects, while Italian paintings focus on the rigid structure and the viewer’s access to the painting.
The students learned that as a result of the division of the city after the Second World War, the art collection was split between two exhibition centres, one in the West and one in the East Berlin, for more than fifty years. Today it is finally reunited and on display in the new welcoming interiors of the Gemäldegalerie at the Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz.
By Nargiza Majidova (’07, Uzbekistan)