The people I follow on Twitter are mostly educators but I do follow some others as well. One such person is the author Alexandria Szeman. Every Saturday Alexandria chooses one painter and tweets their work. On 4th March 2017 the artist she featured was Anna Boch who was a Belgian Impressionist (1848-1936). Anna Boch was a name I was not familiar with. I loved all the paintings Alexandria tweeted (you can see them here). Alexandria and I started chatting about impressionists and as Monet is my all time favourite we started talking about him. The National Gallery in London has quite a few Monets and whenever I go to the Gallery I make a point to go to the rooms where these are displayed. I then told Alexandria about the other place I visited in order to see Monet’s work; the Musee de L’Orangerie in Paris.
After Alexandria and I finished chatting I started thinking of the time I had been to Paris and had visited the museum. On a previous visit I had visited the Louvre and I also knew about Musee d’Orsay. The trip during which I had visited Louvere hadn’t been for the express purpose of going there. I happened to find myself in Paris and thought since I was in Paris with a free afternoon I should go and see the Mona Lisa. So I did. The trip to Musee de L’Orangerie was different. This was a trip I planned for the sole purpose of going to the Orangerie.
You must be wondering where I am going with this. Bear with me, it will become clear. As I said I did not know a place like Musee de L’Orangerie even existed. The first time I heard about it was when I attended a lecture at my daughter’s school. The lecture was delivered by Professor Anthony Slinn. Professor Slinn has spent over 30 years lecturing and now gives over 200 presentatons a year. Professor Slinn is an exceptional speaker. He stood at the front, facing his audience (we were sat in rows!). He enthralled us with his wit and intelligence and his meticulously researched presentation. You could hear the passion in his voice. He told us about Monet and we listened. He brought the topic to life. Though I love impressionists and especially Monet, I would never have gone to Paris just to visit the Orangerie if it had not been for Professor Slinn. And why did I do that? Because I was listening to someone who is an expert, someone who is passionate about his subject. And sitting there, “passively” listening to him, I became passionate too. Many people think that when teachers stand at the front and “just tell” their students it must be a boring experience for the students. Not so. If the teacher is an expert and passionate about their subject then this “just telling” stuff makes students passionate too; passionate enough to jump on the Eurostar and spend the afternoon in the Musee de L’Orangerie
The video below doesn’t do jsutice to the exhibit but it may give you an idea of the treassure that was awaiting me in the Orangerie because a passionate expert transmitted his passion to me.