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Irene Risser

Experiencing art is an interesting phenomenon.  A painting speaks in a unique way to each person viewing it.  Each painting presents multiple layers to evoke thought–from the aesthetics to the perspective to the technique to the symbolism.  Claire Bown gave me two museum tours (actually mini-classes) recently.  She guided me through the Dutch Masters collection at the Rijksmuseum and then introduced me to the life and work of Vincent Van Gogh at the Van Gogh Museum.  Claire is an excellent guide and teacher.  She leads but does not pull.  She presents facts but then allows one to make up one’s own mind about the artwork.  She helped me to “see” more of the multiple levels of each painting which for me was THE learning experience during the tours.  The best parts of each tour were when she presented the artwork within the context of the culture and history of the Netherlands where these artists lived and worked. Why the work was painted became as important as how it was created which told me a lot about how the artist fit into his community.  I had a wonderful experience with Clare’s Thinking Museum tours; she truly did make me think!