Atlanta High Museum of Art

Atlanta High Museum of Art

A Story by Judy Maxwell

The assignment for my art class was to go to the art museum and then write a paper on my experience and any art I found fascinating. My experience was not a good one, and I wasn't about to lie to the teacher. This is what I wrote. He loved it.



Atlanta High Museum of Art


            Early in the morning on Sunday, the 18th of November I left the confines of a warm bed with one destination in mind: the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. After approximately an hour of riding in the car, we drove past the museum – google’s directions had served me well. Another hour later we were inside the museum, after having spent $10 in the only accessible parking lot. Upon entry, one of the first noticeable displays was the large group of fruit right outside a different door across from the one I had entered. Grabbing a map, I made an attempt to quickly decide where in the museum we would be going first. This attempt failed, however, as it does not seem possible to make a quick decision – the building being large and somewhat confusing for the first time visitor. The decision was made, however, and the first stop was the top floor – the skyway level.

The very first piece of art I noticed was a painting called “Four Color Frame Painting #1” by Robert Margold. This painting is exactly as described: it consists of a white canvas with four color squares painted on it. The squares are connected with an oval shape. Because this painting was so simple, I jokingly commented that I would write my entire paper on this painting. Interestingly, before starting this paper I attempted to do some extra research on the painting, and when I typed the artist’s name into google the only link it gave me was one about the FBI.

            The next thing I did on the skyway level was to accidentally wander into the louvre section where they were displaying all sorts of ancient Greek pottery and sculpture. As soon as I walked into the room, I heard a small child shout “Look, he’s naked!” and I knew precisely where I was. Unfortunately, the collection as a whole was much less impressive on first glance than I had imagined it would be. The majority of the sculptures were small enough for me to hold in my arms, and many of the pieces of pottery were broken and crumbling. After I read the story about the collection and its history, however, I found it to be much more fascinating. Apparently, the entire collection had once belonged to the Empress Josephine, the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. She had received much of the collection as a gift from Ferdinand IV, and he had obtained these objects from a dig in Herculaneum and Pompeii. Josephine continued to collect ancient Greek sculpture, and her collection managed to remain intact even after her death. One thing that I noticed about many of the pieces of pottery was that the names were just descriptions of the coloring, etc. They were labeled with names like “Attic Amphora with Black Figures” and “Attic Amphora with Red Figures”.

            While I was in this section of the museum, I learned of the many rules that the museum keeps, and I learned of the strict enforcement of these rules. While I was looking at one of the above mentioned amphoras, a man near me was taken aside by one of the many museum security officers that were walking around and told that he was not allowed to drink from his water bottle. I was soon after told that I was not allowed to use a pen in the museum, as the ink could damage the paintings. The security guard was nice enough to give me a pencil, however. Throughout the rest of the museum visit, I noticed people being taken aside by security for similar reasons.

            Last, but certainly not least, one of the later paintings I noticed was in the section on Impressionism. This was one of my favorite of the paintings that I saw in the museum. I noticed it from pretty far away – I walked into the room and this painting immediately caught my eye. As I was walking towards it, I said “I think I’ll write about this little vampiric looking girl”. This painting was the “Infanta Margarita Teresa” by Diego Velazquez. It was a large enough painting that it caught my eye when I first saw it, and it had a whole description and history on the wall next to the actual painting. Apparently, Velazquez painted many different pictures of this little girl, who was a princess of Spain. The painting that this museum had on display was just one of many pictures that are in various museums all around the world. The description next to the painting also said that several later artists tried to paint their own versions of the Infanta, and these artists included Manet and Degas.

            When I first arrived at the Museum, I thought it unlikely that I would enjoy myself there. I was upset about having to pay what seemed like an arm and a leg for parking, and I walked into the museum in a less than perfectly happy mood. After seeing the displays from the Louvre, and seeing so many paintings by famous artists like Degas and Velazquez, however, I was satisfied with the visit. I felt that it was a good experience and I am glad to have gone.

© 2008 Judy Maxwell

Author's Note

Judy Maxwell
This is not to be taken seriously -- it's just a BS paper for a BS class.

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I'm glad you found something of value. I took my kids to the Cincinati Art Museum one day over their spring break. They're 10, 9 and 5. They found so many new things.

Someday maybe you'll go because you want to. Because you want to lose yourself in the colors and the shapes. Going to the art museum because it's an assignment is the same as reading a book because it's on a required reading list.

Posted 13 Years Ago

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Added on February 5, 2008


Judy Maxwell
Judy Maxwell

Canton, GA

I'm a student at Reinhardt College. English major. I plan to go on to an institute of even higher education and try for a doctorate after I graduate. If you steal my essays I will track you down and .. more..

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A Poem by Judy Maxwell