I’ve found that every day here in Barcelona I am expanding my knowledge while digging deeper in my thought-processing and development. To be completely honest, I can’t distinctively remember the last time I was at an art museum. I know that I’ve been to the Art Institute of Chicago but my recollections are scarce. What I do know about my visit to this Chicago staple is that I never took the opportunity to stand in front of a piece and break down what the artist was trying to convey, the story he/she was trying to tell. I would approach a piece of work, admire it or detest it for shallow qualities that were immediately visible, and carry on to the next. My experience at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya in Barcelona was distinguishably different. Immediately upon entrance to the first exhibit, our professor (Dr. John) had an arch of students circling Retaule del Corpus Christi & Frontal del Corpus Christi by Mestre de Vallbona de les Monges with another row of students behind them. After the first row analyzed for a minute in a stagnant location, they turned around and explained what they saw to the student behind him/her. The line-up was then switched and the back row of students was able to hear what different angles on the work of art offered and how different minds interpreted the artist’s intentions and story. We analyzed the mood that color selections were evoking and the chronology that the artist may have wanted us to follow. Spending around 7 minutes on just one work of art compared to the brief 20 second glance I practiced in Chicago offered a wholesome experience; an opportunity to store memorable and historical artwork while using clues to unveil the mystery of the piece. Various other activities throughout the museum contributed to a feeling of satisfaction when leaving as opposed to empty memories from my Chicago experience.
NOTE: The image of Retaule del Corpus Christi has been edited for brightness and clarity.