Prior to becoming a temporary European, I had little inclination of how Germans, 
Italians, Austrians and British people live. But after having gone on a fruitful, exciting 
trip to six countries, I am now experienced in French, Italian and Swiss customs. I 
understand better the mindset and daily lives--and culture--of our ancient relatives 
across the drink. 

Every day of the trip was spent walking somewhere. Only in Paris, when I was food poisoned, and departing Florence by bus in the early morning, and London, did I not see as much as I could have wanted. For the World of Arts class, I specifically made out my own art journal sheets ahead of time. These I carried as worksheets for museums, museos, e les musées visited.

While traveling there are many things to do in a country. Usually I was in the main cities--so naturally there were many "tourist traps." But also in cultural hubs like Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris, Munich, London, Lucerne there are many museums, statues, open town squares, shops, and people to see. In each city I encountered different people from all walks of life. From students and merchants to waiters and other tourists, there was never a shortage of interesting people. And different art.

Dateline -- Heidleberg, June 29. After an hour's visit to the mysteriously magical Heidleberg castle, I went to downtown Heidleberg. Upon reaching the food cart covered Marketplatz, it rained profusely for about ten minutes. My leather shoes turned a darker shade of brown, and I was forced to take refuge under the awnings of daytime fruit carts. So, along with a close look at the local fruits, veggies, and spices, I talked in fragments with locals. (Sprechen sie English?) After the rain stopped I went around the square peering into various shops. In Germany I was just getting oriented to Europe-instead-of-America and the beer, so I did not visit the Deutch museum. I was so new on the continent that art museums did not occur to me at that time. But I did go on night promenades through Munich on walking tours, seeing famous buildings, some statues, and the life of Munich's citizens. This concludes the Deutchland for now.

Moreover, during some parts of the trip, I did not believe that I was in Europe; it was too fantastic to be happening. The people were great, the buildings were great, learning different languages and currencies and customs was remarkable.

After Germany, I traveled through Austria. A stop in Innsbruck proved quaint; half an hour later we found ourselves in the Swarovski Museum. This year-old, multi-million dollar light show-crystal trove was the most exciting museum I visited in Europe. Multimedia designer André Heller created the spectacular Kristallwelten in Wattens--all covered by a grass hill with a maze and playground above. Austria is a small country, so it couldn't offer the same kind of opportunities that the next would.

Italy was next on our trip. Here, I allowed some time to visit a museum in Venice: the Museo Correr. In the following weeks, I also visited the Louvre in Paris (photography allowed) and the National Gallery in London. I would have liked to go to the Tate Gallery, the Academia and Uffizi in Florence, and the Van Gogh Museum, but it could not be done with my time. I also wanted to see the Parthenon and the Pisa church and museum, but could not. I went to, but did not write journals in the Vatican Museum and other lesser museums. St. Peter's Basilica is immaculate. Pompeii is very educational and complete. (And it is an ideal "resort" area.) These and many great architectural sites are for pleasure sight seeing (in addition to analysis). Italy has Venice, Rome, Assisi, Florence, Pompeii, the Bay of Naples, the Cinque Terra, and the world's most modeled after ancient civilization. Italy is a concentration of worldly things.

In the rest of this report I will share my favorite paintings and sculptures (and buildings) from my chronicles of many throughout Europe. They include works from the Renaissance and the ancient world. I will also describe my art travel experiences.

At the Museo Correr. Lire 8.000 student admission.
Halfway through my trip I traveled through Italy. Specifically, Lido di Jesolo (Jesolo Beach), a small town less than 20 miles from Venice. A water taxi took me to St. Mark's square. From the Piazza San Marco one can see all the major sights of Venice: the Campanile, St. Mark's Basilica, the Doge's palace, and hundreds of shops, people and pigeons. In the early afternoon I went into this museum.

The inside of the museum is peaceful. Rooms are organized by era or theme. Every twenty feet, there is a window; one can look out at the Piazza San Marco, headed by the Basilica, or toward the city.

I covered the entire museum in one and one-half hours. Over this period, I saw collections of ancient art, paintings throughout history, and sculptures. It is interesting to note that after I returned home from the trip, I found out that many of the precious works and even parts of buildings in Venice--even St. Mark's bones--are stolen. In Museo Correr I wrote journals about 8 Italian works. They are all pleasantly good, but three stand out. They are: a stone statue grouping, Lorenzo Morosini's portrait and a mediaeval Madonna.

Dedalo e icaro is the name of an 18th century marble sculpture by Antonio Canova. The cool polished marble is lifelike, with a father and son getting ready to test the wax and feather wings of the myth. There is a string of real leather in the boy's hand. The lively D.E.I. looks like it was grafted onto stone from a fresco.

Two other specific works caught my eye as I wandered around the galleries. A portrait of one of Venice's rich men is how I would want my portrait to look. Dramatic, yet intelligent. Another interesting work is Madonna col Banbino (child), Pieta'e santi, trittico (triple). The Madonna painting is tempura on wood. Because of tempura's resilient nature, the colors were still bright and vivid. Gold, red, blue, brown, yellow--all for the sake of the mother of God and humanity to look upon it.

Within the Louvre. Free admission for under 18.

The Louvre’s fairly new entrance, the glass pyramid by I.M. Pei is a sight to behold between the three sides of the former royal residence and down the square from a magnificent arch.

Inside the Louvre I checked in my bag, then proceeded up the stairs to all the floors. The Louvre is possibly the most visited museum in Western Europe during the summer. The popularity of the Louvre is obvious: it has the largest variety and biggest quantity of art from all over Europe, from ancient times up to the impressionist painters. (Covered in the Orsay museum nearby.) And it is in Paris.

I didn't go with a museum guide around the whole museum; I did not need or want to. Instead, I used my map, the signs, and a couple friends to find the major exhibitions. These included Mona Lisa (naturally) and Winged Victory. After that, I visited the ancient Greece and Italy rooms. In one of them I found the sculpture of Zeus (journal # 09). My favorites included La Visitation and Napoleon's coronation. While I personally dislike Napoleon, the size of the painting, careful details, and the composition is likable. In contrast, I like the people in La Visitation who are wearing pastel robes. The evening sunset is also a nice touch.

In the National Gallery. £3.00 Student admission.

This is the easiest museum to peruse because it has a simple floor plan and everything one needs to know is readily posted in English. When I paid for a ticket, I was really paying for the temporary exhibition. DEGAS beyond Impressionism is the Gallery's current showing. Edgar Degas importance today is of his works after the age of 50.

The exhibition rooms start with some earlier works of Degas, then continue on, exploring his "radical" but "slow" change to a more expressive and less detailed style (Room 1: The Years of Transition). The next five rooms are a continuation of this progression though they also manifest a theme. (Drawing, Tracing and the Sequence; Combing the Hair; The Female Bather; The Role of Sculpture; The figure and the Landscape.)

Hundreds of people were crowding this temporary summer exhibit; I can see why. Degas' work is very--though trite to say--"interesting." I did want to express my passion however: Degas' work is...tantalizing-leads you in though you're often not invited-mystifying-mysterious-sensuous-emotional-expressive of emotions-passionate-ardent-moving-moody-muted while lively. All in one. (If this seems weird, simply in conveying my feelings, this just about covers them as can be done on paper.)

This exhibit is special. I liked Degas' work and thought about it in the tube when I wasn't paying attention to the tube station name placards. (In London the "tube" is the subway.) His paintings and sculptures seem to be copies of copies--likenesses shared across many canvases and wax castings. When I was a kid I did that sometimes--drawing several pictures of the same thing--so Degas' methods are not alien. (I didn't make that up, but I did have to dredge it from my memory. And I stopped doing that years ago:-)

Before I rushed down to the Degas rooms, I took an elevator link to the Sainsbury Wing where I trucked over to room 50 through 60 where Renaissance and pre-Renaissance work resided. Some of the National Gallery’s work is on loan from other places. I should have gone in depth not in the Renaissance wing (Sainsbury) but in the West, North and East wings (since I'd already studied enough from 1260 to 1600 in Italy.) Despite this shortcoming, I was still able to see much of the National Gallery, concentrating on Degas' works. My favorite paintings were Portrait of a Lady in Yellow, Combing the Hair, and Dancers. I really wish I could have spent at least a month [or six] in London.

The OVERALL CONCLUSION TO THE CONCLUDING REPORT & IDEAS Every time I sit down to write some more about my experiences in Europe, I never have a hard time recollecting things to write about, ideas to expand, or memories to relive. The Europe I went to was limited, but very special. In the art world too, I had a rapturous three weeks. Every day in America is merely another day closer to the day I will return to Europe. I have only begun to see what Europe has to offer, artistically and in all parts of life.

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© Ken - July '97
Todo fue escrita por Sal.