An advantage of being a small school is that we can pick up and go–the whole school–when we choose. On Wednesday, November 4, we chose to spend the day in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Each class had a different assignment. Ninth graders had just finished a course in History through Art, and spent the day roaming from Egypt through Greece, Rome, the Italian and Northern Renaissances, to Rembrandt and, later, the Impressionists, taking notes and sketching. Tenth graders are currently studying Ancient History, and so spent most of their time with ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. They will study the history and culture of China in December, and spent time in the Chinese exhibits, too. Eleventh and Twelfth graders will also study China, and joined the 10th grade at this exhibit. They have just completed a study of modern literature, and could relate that to paintings of the last 100 years or so.
Among the special exhibits that some of us attended were Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid,” Robert Frank’s photos from “The Americans,” and the swords, armor, and other art of the Samurai. A video on the making of a samurai sword–steel folded like pastry dough into many layers, then wrapped around a flexible core of a different steel–demonstrated the skill and tradition of Japanese sword makers, although the technology they used looks the same as that used by our 9th graders in blacksmithing–coal fire, anvil, and hammer.
After the museum, we walked through Central Park, stopping at the Zoo, the sculpture at 60th Street and 5th Avenue, and Rockefeller Center’s ice rink, before returning to Grand Central.