by Peter A. Benoliel
Some years ago, I was asked to give a lecture to students enrolled in a small university’s humanities program describing the personal epiphany I experienced which led to my passion for the humanities. Try as I might, I could not think of an isolated, single experience but rather a series of moments that stretch back to my childhood and have “stuck to my ribs” over a lifetime.
A very early memory: perhaps at the age of six or seven, I became mesmerized by Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony” and repeatedly played it on the phonograph…
by C. Allen Parker, Partner, Cravath, Swaine and Moore, LLP
In what I believe was the latter part of the 1980s, I was dragged, kicking and screaming, to a van Gogh exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum. And for the first time in my life, I wore one of those machines around my neck, where you listen to headphones and you hear somebody describe what it is you’re going to see. It was a brand-new experience.
The narrator was the then-director of the Metropolitan Museum, Philippe de Montebello, and at the introductory part of the exhibit, I was really struck by the quality of what he was saying. It was…
When I first encountered Paul Cezanne's most famous painting, The Bathers
, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art I was struck by the way the artist was able to depict subtle differences among the figures even though none of them have distinct facial features. Over time, as I've revisited this amazing work and learned more about Cezanne's desire to create a work that was both modern and timeless, I find myself constantly noticing different things—the natural community of the nude bathers versus the buildings in the distance, the framing…
by Robert D. Newman, President and Director, National Humanities Center
Robert D. Newman describes the experience of encountering Francis Bacon's paintings for the first time.