Re: ACT Classes, ideas welcome

Thomas Hurd,MD

Never discount elbows!

I agree with your assessment of European “package” tours.

I was trapped inside of one in Italy last year, because my wife scheduled it through her mother’s favorite travel agency. My mother-in-law is a wonderful woman, but our travel tastes are quite a bit different. 

I had been to Italy 20 years previously and went on my own all Michelangelo tour, with only Rome and Florence stops. The trip was made all the more special because my neighbor’s nephew was assigned to the Vatican and was able to spend a few hours during our week to show us some local flavor. 

The only thing I can recommend with delight in the 2019 “package” tour was I discovered private tours and night time hours in the Vatican.

I wasn’t being facetious however. That itinerary just happens to be my plan for  a 2020 tour. As my dominant focus is art admiration, I plan to visit in depth those same museums. 

The Louvre is my wife’s favorite, all  of Italy is mine. But I do love the access at the Musee d’orsay where you stick your nose and camera lens up to an inch from the canvas. I could be easily persuaded to add Amsterdam.

Let us all know if you do plan to teach in Europe (well, for me, in English. I’m no polyglot, except for a few Latin leftovers from 3 years in high school and anatomy classes). 

Even so, a color course in Atlanta is something that I would alter my itinerary to include before I go.

One thing I have wondered is how did Buonarroti make the curved ceiling look flat and yet three dimensional at once? When I look at those prophets and Sybils with there limbs seeming to extend in space, I feel it must have been the way he used his incredibly intense colors manipulate my retina and visual cortex! As I look today on my illustrated books following the restoration the photos hint but don’t give the full glory. The new OLSCC book mentions Michelangelo twice but different works; I’m sure it will be a pleasure to figure it out if the answers are in there. I notice he did use a lot of warmer orange tones contrasted to blue, cyan and greens. Not unlike popular film grading today. 

And as a one off the ceiling panel of Isaiah is a classic study of the a and b channel opposites!

Tom Hurd

On Feb 20, 2020, at 12:22 PM, Dan Margulis via Groups.Io <dmargulis@...> wrote:

On Feb 18, 2020, at 12:03 PM, Thomas Hurd,MD via Groups.Io <tomhurd@...> wrote:

How about a two week course in Paris, Venice and Rome?
You could have classes at the beginning and end and have on site demonstrations in the Louvre and Musee d’orsay in Paris.
The Uffizi in Venice.
Vatican Museum in Rome.
It would certainly lend itself wonderfully for the Chevreul aficionados. You could put an ACT course in there too somewhere I’m sure. So the participant’s European vacation pictures would get plenty of color correction.
The lure of a European vacation will get spouses along to help pay for the overhead of the course(s).
And it would draw fans from the Old World of course!

A tempting thought that I take as facetious, but I will avail myself of the opportunity to offer some free travel advice.

Teaching in Europe, and I’ve done it a lot, has been a great experience. But I would never do an itinerary like this one because it caters to the worst practice of non-European tourists: trying to see everything in one trip. Now granted that most people make only one or two trans-oceanic trips, if that many, they are greatly inclined to pack all the “must sees” sites into one visit. The result is that instead of seeing “everything” they see almost nothing except the inside of trains, and hordes of tour groups packing into the aforementioned must-see sites.

The Louvre, the Uffizi (Florence, please, not Venice), and the Vatican Museum house some of the world’s greatest collections of art; maybe only the Met in New York, the Prado in Madrid, and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg could be mentioned in the same sentence. However, I can no longer recommend them to friends who don’t have an absolute need to see certain pieces in person. The mobs are just unmanageable. 

Venice itself? As that eminent color theorist, Yogi Berra, once said: “Nobody goes there any more. It’s too crowded.” I first started visiting it in the 1970s. It was then a vibrant city, rich in history. Now most of the locals have moved out, and it’s one big tourist trap, packed like sardines when a cruise ship comes in. I don’t recommend it to friends any more, except possibly in February when the weather is bad enough to keep the crowds down.

Italy itself has an infinite number of first-rate attractions. Florence has scads of smaller museums with astounding painting, sculpture, and architecture. it would take weeks to explore them all without ever setting foot in the Uffizi. I would be less inclined to skip the Vatican, but if I did Rome has enough history to keep one busy for months.

Now that I’ve trashed the museums, let me put in a good word for the guides. Italy has a strict licensing system for tourist guides and my experience is that they all know what they’re talking about, not to mention eager to exchange views with clients who they think know what they’re talking about. They can give the nitty-gritty about each piece of art much better than I could. I can no doubt give a better explanation of where the art fits into a broader cultural experience. Probably, though, my best attribute as a guide in one of these clogged edifices is, that as a lifelong patron of NYC subways, I am highly skillful with judicious use of the elbows.

Dan Margulis

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