The Courtauld Institute of Art is an Independent College ofthe University of London specialising in the History of Art and Conservation. Itoffers courses at both undergraduate and research levels and counts many of theleading figures in the art world amongst its alumni.The Courtauld Gallery is one of the finest small museums in theworld currently housed in the original home of the Royal Academy. The collectionspans the early Renaissance to the 20th century and is particularly renowned forthe unrivalled collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings.
Museums as a unique learning environmentIn times of increasing social and economic division museums have akey role to play in promoting the exchange of knowledge, anunderstanding of visual literacy and the impact of the arts oncollective human history.Museums reveal aspects of our collective human history and culturalidentity. They can play an important role in broadening perspectivesand encouraging extended learning beyond the constraints of theschool curriculum or the limitations of our working lives.Our aim should be to offer ways of crossing boundaries, of path-finding through the multi-faceted layers of meaning while alsoallowing for the visitor’s personal experience of exalted attention andcreative thinking.
‘’ We liked the mythical aspect in the story of Cupid and Psyche by Reynolds. We also liked thecontrast in the lighting, the obscurity and how Cupid looked innocent and pale. We focused on thestory behind the painting, where Psyche is about to discover the true identity of Cupid. Reynoldsuses a lot of lighting which focuses on the subject, in a similar way to Caravaggio who he admired.We created one image made up of six photographs. Each photograph evokes one of the themesfrom the Cupid and Psyche myth using abstract colours. In all the photographs, Psyche isrepresented through the colour orange/yellow. The images are also themed around the idea ofcoupling, where two characters and colours are intertwined. ‘’ Divine, Maria and Raffaella
’’We chose the ivory diptych of the Virgin and Child because we liked the contrast of death andlife in it and the intricate stories. We loved the purity of the ivory and the immaculate way it iscarved. We liked the idea that the person who made it was unknown as it added mystery to thework. We researched gothic ivory collections and found out that this diptych would have been madein Paris, in the 14th century. We also liked that the diptych was kept close for protection but tolda story inside it, a story that is precious and personal. ‘’ Emily, Izabela and Emily
Look Again…An exhibition of photographic portraits created by young people with artist MarysaDowling, inspired by works of art from The Courtauld Gallery collection. Guests wereinvited to a Private View held jointly with the new Victorian Watercolours exhibition.‘Being involved in this project is a real privilege for me. I thought of abandoning art forgood as soon as I get to university, but this project made me change my view about mypriorities and showed me that I could never ever escape something that has always beena part of me: that is art.’ Shanice
Late Opening Event: public workshops and talks…
The Courtauld Goes East in 2012The Youth Council is made up of 24students aged 16 to 21. They assistwith workshops in the gallery duringLate Events, school visits and outreachprojects, for example:Look Again…. Goes Eastexhibitions during summer 2012 in twocommunity galleries in the Olympicboroughs: • The Hub in Newham • Rich Mix in Tower Hamlets
Quotes from the students:‘I have more confidence and it has given me commitment, strength and anunderstanding of how galleries and museums work behind the scenes.’ Jean-Yves‘I understand the art world better, especially things like conservation and curating. Itwas a privilege to be part of this project and to be part of something which wasnationwide.’ Duane‘Amazing - It made me more confident and independent and got me into university!Being part of such a supportive group was lovely.’ Roxi‘Making new friends and meeting all these new people who work in the gallery waspriceless and very inspiring.’ Shazad
ConclusionIn order to ensure that we offer a genuinely useful andunique learning experience we should avoid compromise interms of both art practice and academic knowledge andgenuinely share what we know.If we’re going to use our resources and creativity to facilitateart education projects, whatever the age or background ofthe participants, we must set the bar as high as possible in allareas of our work and not underestimate our visitors. Henrietta Hine 2012