Looking around, it’s evident that Spring has finally sprung here at the Mitchell School. In more ways than one, the orioles are chirping. Tulips are poking their sprouts through freshly thawed mud. Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” is the theme of the week. However, the surest sign of the new season is the sudden appearance of long cloistered Mitchell School staff. Much like the hibernating bear awakening in his cave, Mitchell School faculty have slowly emerged from the dim confines of their studios, venturing into springtime in search of blooming landscapes and new art.
This was the case over the last two weeks when school director Trevor Twist, his eyes having finally adjusted to the sunlight, hit the snow cleared roads with a group of Mitchell School students and art enthusiasts to see the Woodner and Piero della Robbia collections in Washington D.C as well as the Homer and Sargent watercolor show in Philadelphia. In Washington, Trevor and his merry band of followers wandered through the national gallery for several hours taking in the rarities of Renaissance draughtman work displayed in the Woodner collection. According Trevor, it was a real gift to see these works in person. “We use so many of these pieces in class at the school on a regular basis, it’s great to see them in person,” he said.
The following week, Trevor’s group ventured out at dawn and arrived in Philadelphia for a full pre-opening guided tour with their docent, Peggy. The exhibit featured a variety of Winslow Homer’s and John Singer Sargent’s emblematic expressions of the American landscape and lifestyle at the turn of the 20th century. “You can’t beat them when you’re up close and personal,” said Trevor. “Even as someone who’s seen them a hundred times, they can teach you something new again and again.” After the tour, the Mitchell School convoy headed over to Trevor’s alma mater to take in the school’s current exhibit of World War One paintings, including John Singer Sargent’s sobering work of 1919, “Gassed.”
Both trips inspired the groups to seek out scenes and subjects of their own to capture. We hope that you too have emerged from the cold season in good spirits and are ready to explore these new spring landscape and festive portraits through art. If there’s anything that can enhance this season, it’s breaking out of the studio and exploring our blooming Spring world with an artistic lens.