Encountering Art History
Through Washburn’s International Programs, I have had the opportunity to study abroad multiple times. This past March, I traveled to Greece over spring break with about thirty students from the Washburn Art and Kinesiology Departments. It was an incredible experience that differed from any of my previous experiences abroad. I not only encountered historically significant art, but also got to travel with other students and professors, instead of unaccompanied.
Our adventure began together when we landed in Athens, Greece. We spent the first couple of days exploring the city’s market, tasting Greek foods, and visiting ancient ruins. My favorite thing though, was climbing the Acropolis to see the Pantheon and the city of Athens from one of its highest points. The Acropolis Museum had an unbelievable collection of art in their Archaic Gallery and their Pantheon Gallery displayed the sculptural decoration of the ancient monument. The reconstruction of the ancient Olympic stadium was also pretty impressive. It allowed us to imagine where the original Olympic games were held and what it looked like.
The next day we boarded a Crystal Cruise Ship and sailed off into the Aegean Sea. The cruise ship took us to the beautiful white washed city of Mykonos, the famous Biblical city of Ephesus, and the islands of Patmos, Rhodes, Crete and Santorini. In Mykonos, we wandered through the narrow streets, between bright colored doors and windows and gawked at the famous windmills. The day after, we sailed to Ephesus (present-day Turkey) and the island of Patmos. In Ephesus, we walked around the vast stretch of ruins that remain in the once thriving port city, as well as visited the house of Mary, mother of Jesus. On Patmos we visited the cave where the Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation and watched residents perform customary dances in traditional outfits. In Rhodes, we strolled down the stone streets, visited the Grand Master’s Palace, and sat on the steps of the Temple of Apollo. On the island of Crete I finally got to see the Knossos Palace! I have read about the palace in art history classes and was blown away by the level of complexity and its’ decorative frescos. On Santorini, we gazed at striking white churches with bright blue domes, got lost in a back alley, and left the island with several bottles of wonderfully sweet Grecian wine. Our adventure ended in Athens, where it began. We toured the modern Olympic stadium and tried to wrap our minds around an event that has been around for almost 2,800 years.
This trip to Greece took me to so many different places! Ancient ruins, sculptures, frescos, and pottery were daily a part of my travel experience. I had the opportunity to physically encounter ancient art and ruins that I once thought I would only see in my textbooks.
Other students and I stand together at the top of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.
The beautiful whitewashed city of Mykonos with brightly colored doors and windows.
One of the temples built for a Roman emperor found amongst the ruins in Ephesus.
The main entryway of the Grand Master’s Palace on the island of Rhodes.
A view of the brightly colored city of Santorini built into the steep cliffs of the island.