History of Art Study Day

Friday 28th June 2024

Lower Sixth pupils studying History of Art headed off to sunny Wales on Wednesday 19th June for their summer study day.

The first destination was the National Museum in Cardiff with its excellent Impressionist collection, and strong holdings of works by Botticelli, Claude, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, and Bacon. A temporary exhibition entitled The Art of the Selfie was of particular value in the light of our course on ‘Identities’. The ‘selfies’ on show were not teenage TikTok images, but painted self-portraits, most notably a Van Gogh Self Portrait on loan from the Musee d’Orsay.

After lunch, the students moved on to Llandaff Cathedral, principally to view the imposing Risen Christ by Jacob Epstein placed there after the Second World War to mark the Cathedral’s restoration after a direct hit during the Cardiff Blitz. It was also exciting to see Burne-Jones ceramic tiled reredos, a reminder of work done this year on the De Morgans and Pre-Raphaelite design.

The day was rounded off by a leisurely walk up to Castell Coch, the medieval castle outside Cardiff fancifully done up by William Burgess in the late nineteenth century to resemble a Bohemian or Bavarian fortress rising out of the Welsh woodland. The pupils enjoyed its lavish interiors fashioned to suit the tastes of the aesthete Earl of Bute.

Simon McKeown
Head of History of Art

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