EA Tours Blog
Museum Monday: The National Gallery.
Hello educational travelers!
Artist Hans Haacke once said “Museums are managers of consciousness. They give us an interpretation of history, of how to view the world and locate ourselves in it. They are, if you want to put it in positive terms, great educational institutions…”
Actor and comedian Alan King described museums as being “good things, places to look and absorb and learn.”
Famous fashion designer Marc Jacobs had the following to say, “Sometimes, you just have to clear your head and get out and see other things. It is very important to be nourished. I love to go to museums and galleries…It doesn’t promise you inspiration, but it nourishes your creative soul, and that’s good.”
Museums, of all kinds, are one of life’s greatest gifts to humanity. They offer us a chance to “get away” from our daily life and escape into another world. On any given EA student tour, you’ll have the opportunity to visit a handful of some of the world’s greatest museums. One of those might even be The National Gallery in London!
With educational student tours to London being one of our most popular educational travel destinations, tour participants will have the chance to explore this museum if they choose to do so. London’s National Gallery is truly magnificent as it holds one of the greatest art collections in the world!
This world-renowned art museum is easily accessible for student groups as it’s located on Trafalgar Square right in the heart of London. With its founding in 1824, the National Gallery has come to be filled with over 2,300 paintings that represent all the major painting styles of Western Europe. From late medieval and Renaissance Italy to French Impressionists, there’s something for everyone. The history though of how the museum came to be is an intriguing one.
In 1824, the House of Commons bought banker John Julius Angerstein’s collection of 38 paintings that were to be auctioned. From this small collection of paintings the National Gallery flourished over the years and the rest is history. However, after this initial purchase, the National Gallery’s collection owes its success to the way it was greatly shaped by its directors, most notably Sir Charles Lock Eastlake. Today, the museum’s collection of 13th to early 20th century paintings is the 4th most visited in the world behind the Louvre, British Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
So why should student tours stop off to see these priceless works of art? I have a few reasons and I’ll tell you why.
First, museums allow you to learn and that’s what all educational tours are about. The National Gallery is always hosting informative talks, giving tours, or you can search through their online guide. It’s always great when you can take some time to learn about the artist, study their work of art, and try and discover more about the painting than what you initially see.
Second, museums allow you to be inspired. Similar to a photograph, a painting is worth a thousand words. They tell a story which in turn invites the viewers to think about what they see. Does the painting represent a particular moment in history? Does it make you happy? Sad? How do the colors influence the subject? There are so many questions that come to mind when looking at these marvelous works of art that you can mull them over in your head while you’re exploring the National Gallery and its contents.
Third, as I briefly mentioned at the beginning of this post, museums are places where you can go and relax. They’re a great way to break away from the lively capital city and become captivated by the various art styles. Once inside, search out some of the more prominent pieces. From da Vinci to van Gogh, the National Gallery is home to some pretty incredible pieces of art that teachers and their students shouldn’t miss. Some of these include Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait, Diego Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus, Joseph Mallord William Turner’s Fighting Temeraire, Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks, and Hans Holbein’s The Ambassadors.
Lastly, and perhaps the best, is that entry into the National Gallery is completely free! How awesome is that?! The United Kingdom believes that these works of art belong to the people so they want to make it accessible for everyone. Which I personally think is wonderful!
The National Gallery in London is truly a wonderful museum that should be included on any educational student tour to England. Teachers and their students have a chance to view the world’s best art in one of the world’s best cities. With the paintings covering several centuries of art, visitors should have no problem finding something to their liking.
If you’re ready to visit this art institution, give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to start planning your EA educational tour.
Until next time,