I am taking an art history class. The course is entitled “Northern Mannerist and Baroque Art.” Now, the casual observer might make the mistake of assuming that in this class one would learn about Northern Mannerist and Baroque art. Perhaps you would talk about Mannerism until the middle of the term, then talk about the Baroque the second half of the term. That seems like a logical assumption, right? Ha! Fools!
We started off the class talking about the Northern Renaissance in the lowlands, because, of course, it is important to know about the Renaissance before talking about Mannerism, so you know where it came from. A few weeks worth of classes, actually, just to be sure. Around midterms, we were finally getting into Mannerism in the lowlands, and as we neared its end, with the Baroque and Peter Paul Rubens right on the horizon, what do we do? We go back to Germany. We go back to *before* the Renaissance in Germany.
Then we get into the Renaissance in Germany, and talk about Albrecht Durer. Now, I’m as big a Durer fan as the next girl, and I know it’s important to talk about him to see where later German mannerism comes from, but we spend class after class after class on Durer. Then we touch on German mannerism. Then student presentations.
Now, in the last week of class, we FINALLY get to Peter Paul Rubens. We have two days to talk about the Baroque. TWO FRICKIN DAYS!!!!!!! AGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
Be aware this is no new phenomenon. When I took the second art history survey class, which was to cover Medieval to Modern art, we got stuck in the Renaissance again, and barely scraped Baroque at the end. Look, I like the Renaissance and all, I know it’s important, and I know it’s Dr. Levin’s “thing,” but as a senior art major, I feel *severely* under-educated in the realm of art history. Ask me anything about the Renaissance, Italian or Northern, and I can probably answer, but Romanticism? Impressionism? Modernism? I am utterly clueless.
And it pisses me off.
But, alas, such is one of the disadvantages to going to a teeny tiny liberal arts college. I wish Sheldon could have taught an art history class. Art history with Sheldon would have been an awesome adventure, if museum trips with him is any indication of his presentation of the material.