November 10th, 2008
Emily Hickner, Gallery Assistant–Students were instructed to first make observations about the works in the room. Most students focused on the medallion rather than the Rubens piece shown in a modern format on the opposite wall. Immediate observations were that the works were all drawings/sketches, that there were figures in most of the drawings, and references were made to the format the drawings were shown in. I explained the reasoning behind showing the drawings in a modern format verses an 18th century medallion.
Secondly, I discussed how most of the figures were iconic in a historic, mythical, or religious sense. Most of the drawings were sketches or cartoons created for large scale frescos which depicted a scene that these figures were a part of. Some students picked up on the gestural style used in many of the drawings in the medallion. In turn, I pointed how movement in certain drawings allowed the eye to flow from one drawing to another. Gesture and expression were significant when the students were considering their assignment. The assignment was for each student to pick out a drawing and decide what style of music and type of instruments would best portray that drawing.
I noticed students often created their own story for the drawings. For example, Fragonard’s drawing of a woman positioned against against a column entitled “The Young Girl Abandoned” was viewed by one student as a sad woman taking refuge in a place of comfort and solitude. The student described soft, melancholic music to accompany the drawing. Another student chose a somber cello composition for Beccafumi’s Head of a man Turned Three-Quarters Right. Several pupils were drawn to the expressive character in Caracci’s Studies of Grotesques, which was paired with rock music, new age music, and Asian style music. Others were interested in Cambassio’s Nymph and Putti Riding on a Dolphin, connecting it with an impassioned staccato on the violin.
Overall the students seemed enthusiastic about understanding the mood of a drawing. They recognized that music and visual art can be linked by evoking a particular emotion.