Swept away from Mill Bay by the salty tang of freedom, eighteen students from Mr. MacLean's Art History 12AP class boarded a ferry bound for a weekend of beauty in Vancouver. For two days, the itching thirst to reunite with the rush of the outside world, and the burning hunger for art, were satisfied to the full.
On the night of our arrival, we wandered down the concrete jungle of downtown Vancouver to explore the illuminated cityscape. The thudding pulse of the city was irresistible: the lights, the noise, the leaping rhythm.
Standing strong amidst the sprawling chaos of cars and people, however, are the buildings. With the sprightly Mr. MacLean spearheading the Brentwood scholars, we dashed around downtown Vancouver the next morning to examine the architectural landmarks which compose the skeleton of the city. We stepped into the Holy Rosary Cathedral to gaze at glowing stained glass windows lit by the rising light, watching Biblical tales come to life; we trooped to Victory Square to spare a moment to remember what others have forgotten; we contrasted clean, geometric skyscrapers against the splendor of the Sun Tower. Rose windows, sculptures, rusticated stone, dentils, balustrades ? thanks to Mr. MacLean?s expertise, we learned it all. As light moved across the sky, we watched shadows gather in the vertical grooves of fluted columns, we scrutinized the sly egg-and-arrow motif between the lavish folds of Corinthian capitals.
A quick brunch at White Spot was followed by the main purpose of this brief retreat. If a city has a pulse, it must therefore have a heart: in Vancouver, it is the magnificent Vancouver Art Gallery. Featuring an exhibition titled ?The Color of My Dreams?, the walls were adorned with art from a cultural movement sparked by the works of Freud and Jung. It is a style marked by the exploration of unrestrained expression, and surmising about the semblance and substance of dreams: surrealism. Breton, Dali, Ernst, Magritte ? the list is long. Standing in front of Magritte?s witty The Human Condition, one could examine those endearing little swirls of his brush strokes that textbooks are unable to recreate ? physical, irrefutable proof that these artists had truly existed.
As the sun began to sink, we were allowed to walk one last time around the city. The iconic Vancouver Public Library, inspired by Rome?s Colesseum, glowed in the distance. The evolution of art is intriguing: the Colesseum used to be a gladiator?s arena for violence and bloodshed ? the form has been imitated, and now functions as a structure of protection rather than aggression. The library?s organic, oval form, shelters rows and rows of books within its strong, sweeping walls, safeguarding pages of knowledge at its centre. One can only wonder if those Ancient Romans ever realized that they were not only shaping marble, but shaping art, history, and beauty beneath their fingers?beauty that would be worshiped, beauty that would inspire architects over thousands of years? and beauty that would one day be admired by an eager cluster of scholars from Brentwood College School, Mill Bay, BC.
A tremendous, tremendous thank you is in order to Mr. MacLean and Ms. Horsfield for coordinating this exciting, enriching experience.
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