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December 01, 2008

An Artist in Oxford

My tutorials have been quite an experience; as an artist, I am encouraged to explore and take ideas from the scenery that is integral to the city and its surroundings. Oxford is an aesthetic heaven. My primary tutor and I do practical work in painting and drawing, our meetings take place at his house. Not only I am able to work on my own and discuss the nature of art with him, I am also able to see his work as it develops. We have taken trips to the Cotswolds, a string of villages in the center of England. The houses in these villages have remained roughly unchanged since the fourteenth century, except for a few minor modifications- a tip of the hat to modernity. All of these houses are worthy of the artist's eye. There is a sense of the immense weight of history surrounding these places, and it fascinates and invites one to explore further. The aesthetic experience of traversing the English countryside and cityscape is joined with the amazing opportunity the student has in exploring the art of the many museums in Oxford. Museums in England are joyfully free of charge, when it comes to admission; anyone who wants to peek into the museum for ten minutes on a lunch break to get their art culture fix can easily be satisfied. For the more intense enthusiast, not only are there great paintings in the regular galleries of the Ashmolean museum, but one can go to the print room and request to privately see any of the drawings, photographs, paintings, or other artifacts of great masters that the Ashmolean owns. In fact, this resource has been the foundation of my secondary, art history tutorial. My first week's work was based on my study of original drawings by Michaelangelo. As an Oxford student, one not only gets the privilege of seeing such history first-hand, but can also to get a tactile sense of it. The educational system allows extremely close one-on-one time with a tutor, and there is great flexibility in the relationship, I have in many ways been able to eliminate the focus on unimportant issues in my study of art, and been able to discern what is truly valuable in my study with someone, who not only instructs, but acts as a fellow researcher.

Joshua Hynie
Fellow, Michaelmas Term '08

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