The lost masterpieces

Yasmine Novian


At 7:00 PM on December 18, 2012, the Esther and Sol Smith Family Library was transformed into an art gallery with masterpieces from the romantic through postmodern eras.

With students dressed up as artists such as José de Goya, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse and Roy Lichtenstein, the night was truly a trip through time.

Since September, the AP Art History and the AP Studio Art classes collaborated to create an authentic art gallery that showcased art pieces created by the AP Studio Art students and commissioned by the AP Art History students.

“As a former art history student, I found this project fulfilling because not only was I able to recreate a piece I had previously learned about, but I was also able to adapt my style to Mary Cassatt’s”, Gina Canter ’13 said.

Each student in the AP Art History class assumed the role of an art patron from a past era, studied his or her interests, and commissioned an artist from the AP Studio Art class to create a piece of work. The AP Studio Art students mimicked the style of one of the artists who would have typically created art pieces for the patrons they had been assigned. For example, one history student became the patron Gertrude Stein, and one art student became Pablo Picasso.

“My students had to reinterpret the art. They needed to follow guidelines from the patrons but they also added some of their own style,” Ms. Dori Kulwin, AP Studio Art teacher, said.

This project was more than just a final assessment for the students. The students gained an understanding of both art and art history that surpasses just studying the facts out of a textbook. Students dressed up, spoke in accents and truly embraced the role of their patron or artist.

“It was a cool way to collaborate with another program at Milken, especially because the kids in both classes share the same interests. Learning the history behind my art made the piece come to life and really have a story,” Jodi Marcus ’12 said.

Art pieces, along with biographies of the artists and patrons, will be on display in the Esther and Sol Smith Family Library during the month of January.