Students who had studied one of my most memorable high school courses—AP European History—spent the day in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with our teacher, Mr. Jason Gelman.
AP European History is a class that includes, among other course material, the analyses and interpretations of various art forms (paintings, portraits, sculptures, interior designs) from time periods stretching from the Renaissance all the way through modern art. Visiting the Met was a trip that the entire class had looked forward to taking, even if it was a little later than expected.
Because the class consisted of merely fifteen students, it inevitably became a close-knit community. We had reviews that lasted for hours that were filled with Dunkin’ Donuts and discussions of the material, and we were always deliberating concepts and questions inside and outside of the classroom. Thus, when the trip finally came to fruition, everyone quickly signed up, regardless of the fact that we completed the course in the previous year.
The day began at 10:45 am on February 14 when the students met at the Cedarhurst train station to ultimately connect with Mr. Gelman at the museum. We began our tour at 12:00 pm and did not leave until 3:30 pm. There was just so much to examine and imbibe! Although for the majority of our stay we had free rein to inspect whatever we desired, there were points when we gathered to discuss some prominent pieces by artists about whom we had learned in great detail, such as Van Gough. For the remainder of the time that we were exploring the magnificent art-permeated rooms, we messaged one another about rooms that would be worthwhile to visit.
My friends and I took particular interest in the representation of the palace of Louis XIV, who was an absolute monarch during France’s Classical Age. The palace of Versailles was well regarded as one of the most imposing and awe-inspiring buildings in Europe. At the Met, there was a circular room, reflecting the symmetry of the palace gardens that gave a panoramic view of the palace and really caused the visitor to feel like he/she was in France.
After perusing the multitude of Medieval, Dutch, Impressionist, and contemporary art pieces, the class regrouped in the lobby and talked about some highlights of the experience.
We then walked to a nearby Italian restaurant called Va Bene where we indulged in pastas, pizzas, fish, art reviews, and even some politics.
The trip was unanimously enjoyed and we look forward to possibly visiting the Museum of Modern Art some time in the near future.
Thank you to Mr. Gelman for leading us on such an invaluable and engaging day.