A group of 20 Democracy Prep Endurance High School 9th graders who have been selected to travel to Italy as a part of Democracy Prep’s Global Citizens Program visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in preparation for their upcoming trip. Scholars practiced how to navigate a museum and have meaningful interactions with pieces of visual artwork.
Four DPEH teachers who will accompany the scholars on their trip as chaperones guided the group through the museum. The scholars explored the Greek and Roman Art room first. Scholars looked for artifacts and sculptures they found compelling and studied those pieces closely. In the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts room, many scholars chose to study the marble sculpture Ugolino and His Sons because they found the emotions on the faces of the sculpture captivating.
10th Grade Global II History teacher and trip leader Chris Rhodenbaugh challenged the scholars to use their knowledge of the process of examining art to make an educated guess about what was happening in Ugolino and His Sons prior to reading the sculpture’s written description.
“I think it’s that he (Ugolino) is obligated to help them (his sons), and he’s scared,” said Benjamin Acquah.
Benjamin noticed a museum visitor sketching Ugolino and His Sons and used the opportunity to learn about someone else’s understanding of the piece. He asked her why she was drawing the sculpture.
“I want to understand what was in the artist’s mind when he made it, and drawing the sculpture gives me time to really think and notice everything about it,” she replied.
In a room featuring Italian Baroque paintings, Mr. Rhodenbaugh challenged scholars again, this time to identify the room’s theme. Scholars Anais Flores and Lazaro Marales thoughtfully examined the paintings.
“I think the theme is religion,” said Anais. “I think the theme is the Bible,” said Lazaro. Both scholars were correct. All of the paintings in the room related in some way to Christianity.
The last stop of their after-school field trip to the museum was an exhibition of a wide variety of Michelangelo’s works, including 133 drawings, his earliest painting, and a replica of the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. The DPEH scholars will study more of Michelangelo’s art on guided tours while they are in Italy. They will see two of his most famous pieces: the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City and the sculpture David at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence.
The group of 20 scholars and their five chaperones depart for Italy on Thursday, February 15th, and return on Thursday, February 22nd. The seven-day historical trip will include a day trip to Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii, climbing to the top of the cupola (duomo) of Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (the main cathedral in Florence), and a visit to Gladiator School where scholars will learn about Ancient Rome and the lives of gladiators. Scholars will also have an opportunity to practice the basic techniques of gladiator fighting.
The DPEH scholars selected for the trip are just one of five groups of DPPS 9th grade scholars visiting Italy this school year. A total of 95 DPPS scholars will explore Italy and learn about Italian history and culture.
To learn more about this trip and the other trips DPPS scholars take to Ecuador, South Korea, South Africa and more, please check out our website: democracyprep.org/global-citizens