Wendy Jones
Fine art is the head and the heart and the hand together

The Rebellious Curator

(posted on 18 Oct 2020)

"It was very cold and next day snow began to fall, turning pinnacles into wedding cake decorations. The examination was held in the Hall of Oriel, and we all wrote in greatcoats and mufflers, and at the least, our left-handed gloves. The Provost, old Phelps, gave out the papers. I remember very little about them, but I suppose I was outshone in pure classics by many of my rivals and I had the impression I was doing very badly."

- C.S. Lewis, from Surprised by Joy - The Shape of my Early Life


I love the mental image of this quote. My college experience was not exactly like Lewis's Oxford days, but the description reminds me of my years at UNL and the countless Art History classes I took at Richard's Hall on that long-established midwestern campus in Lincoln. The dark windowless lower-level rooms with a slide projector at the back, and a large white vinyl screen at the front with an ancient pulpit-type podium. The desks were old, made of wood, and smelled of linseed oil. I loved everything about that room. I will never forget Dr. Spence. At the time, he was close to retirement..seemed very aged, but his knowledge of American Romanticism was astounding. He was the Professor who introduced to me to The Hudson River School and after that, I was hooked. After class, one would emerge from the darkness to the upper floor of the building as the bright Nebraska sun sharply illuminated the stained glass. I walked by the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery as the snow lightly danced on the grass, and knew at that moment I wanted to be in no other place.. sigh, I miss that.