Nathan Young ’20 — Standing and admiring famous art throughout Europe is something that I never thought would be possible before I received the Givens Scholarship. After receiving the scholarship, I thought of the many possibilities of museums and artwork that I could visit. However, I did not realize it until I stood in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. There I saw the man who influenced many important 18th and 19th century Spanish artists. This opened my eyes to the world of art. Before Europe, I had hardly blinked an eye at art’s importance to a country’s history and now I had the opportunity to witness the “writing” and changes of the Spanish society in that era.
I embarked on a trip to Madrid, the center of Spanish art. While there, I witnessed the works of many of the masterpieces of Spanish art including works by Goya, Velazquez, and Ribera. My personal favorite were the works of Goya which I had particular interest in from my work researching his use of women in a paper in Spanish 301. Upon seeing these works it brought together the amazing realization that I am seeing in person the works I had written and observed so much during my studies at Wabash. It changed my perspective on the importance of how art influences people and its immense importance to a country’s culture. For example, seeing the painting of Carlos IV and his family by Goya in the museum drastically changed my perspective of the painting and the importance of the Spanish royal family. The painting’s position in the center of a large room with the clever positioning so that the royal family “looks” over the large hall of the museum is very symbolistic of their role in Spanish society. The nuances of the painting such as the queen standing slightly forward in a position of power is something that I never would have been able to notice without taking an art class through the lens of a Spanish citizen.
I cannot thank enough the Givens family for their generosity provided me and other Wabash men the opportunity to expand beyond our comfort zone. I never would have been able to travel and see the many amazing spectacles of Europe and North Africa. My appreciation of art changed drastically during my time in Europe and I know that art will continue to be a strong interest of mine for the rest of my life. Thank you immensely for this opportunity and I can only hope to pay the same generosity you paid to me unto future Wabash men.