One thing that I can promise studying at York will do is encourage you to rewrite your bucket list. Being a lover of the canonical arts, before I started doing history of art at York my list was fairly standard: visit the Vatican to see Michelangelo’s famous ceiling; go to the National Gallery; visit MoMA, the Louvre… all that good stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to do all of those (thankfully now I’ve been to the National Gallery, praise be the Department for taking me), but I think it’s about time to add some places I want to visit thanks to the art that this degree has exposed me to.
Firstly, the Uffizi in Florence. Might be a fairly obvious one to some, but for a simple girl who never did history of art prior to York this is one of those galleries I’d never given much thought. Boy was I wrong in doing so! Can I just go and goggle at Botticelli yet?! Both the Birth of Venus and La Primavera will make an appearance in your first year, one to do with Warburg’s art history and the other in relation to reinventing antique styles. Two other new personal favourites are also in this gallery: Titian’s Venus of Urbino, and Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith and Holofernes (both are competitors in my dissertation planning: watch this space).
My second bucket list gallery comes directly from the Reinventing Antiquity module I did in 1st year. This module looks in depth into Greek antiquity and how art done after this appropriates techniques used by the Greek masters. Through this module I discovered the Parthenon’s rocky past: I’ve already seen some of the Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum and I want to see the other half of them in the Acropolis Museum in Athens. Please someone take me…
A place I never even knew existed before this degree is the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales administered by the Patrimonio Nacional in Madrid. This place will crop up if you choose to look at art in Spain. Even though it is a place of religious extravagance (and I am not religious) it’s a building that I think would open my eyes to the intense effects of Christianity on 17th-century Spain. I think it’s important to see how other cultures organise their art, and it is this reason why this space is on my bucket list.
My other two are a little bit further out geographically, and two places I never thought I’d ever want to go to if it weren’t for my degree. The first is Jerusalem to see the Dome of the Rock. I’m not here to shed light on politics or religion, but the actual building is something I just want to stand in awe at. The second is the Getty Museum in LA. Why? Well it’s got a bit of everything: antiques, sculptures, and my favourite, paintings. One of these days I’ll find a way there I promise.
The last place I’ll talk about in this blog is the Hagia Sophia in Turkey. As a Byzantine beauty, it has the most amazing mosaics with inspiration rooted in 4th century Roman art. Again, it’s one of those buildings that I could spend the whole day just standing and staring at if I ever had the chance.
I hope this list wasn’t too vague: there are a lot more that I haven’t included. If there is any art gallery, space or building that you think would be good to pop on my art-historical bucket list, please let me know!