My Art History classes (all 4 of them) have been my favorite courses that I have taken since going back to school. I love learning about the details like brushwork, lighting, form, and composition, as well as the culture at the time and how that formed the artist's or architect's piece of work. This quarter I am in a class that studies Art History from Baroque until 20th century.
We are at the Romantics right now and it is probably my favorite time period to study so far. The Romantics wanted to evoke emotion via art since the church was going through the counter-reformation and trying to bring people back to a place of deep inner spiritual life. I think I would have fit in perfectly art wise during the Romantics movement. They were brooding, looked deep behind the meanings of things, loved poetry, nature, and imagination, and believed that talent as an artist was a God given gift. (Politically I don't so much think I would have fit in with them.)
This past Thursday we were looking at Winter Landscape with Church by Friedrich and it brought tears to my eyes. As a class we were discussing what the painting represented in a life with Christ and I could not help but be overcome with emotion at the beauty of Jesus. That he gives broken (hearted) people (the little boy sitting in the snow against the rock) the chance to sit at the feet of the cross (notice the cross in the tree) and be healed (in their hearts) and have hope in life beyond this one (the gate with the church in the background). Absolutely beautiful.