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CHAPEL HILL, NC n The Ackland Art Museum at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill presents “The Pursuit of Learning: Images of Study, Scholarship, and Education,” on display in the Museum’s upstairs gallery from March 5 n May 18.
Featuring artists who have turned their eyes to the human effort to acquire wisdom, The Pursuit of Learning covers a wide stylistic range and features works by Albrecht Dürer, Pieter Bruegel, Francisco Goya, Winslow Homer, and Diego Rivera, among others.
Covering more than four centuries, the images included in The Pursuit of Learning range from the documentary to the symbolic and from the sublime to the ridiculous. Themes include the glorification of learning, the scholar as hermit, saint, or eccentric, the ardent or reluctant student, and the joys and sorrows of the classroom.
The practice of art is a discipline with analogies to conventional academic study, and yet the artist’s course of study has had a very different history from the mainstream of learning represented by school and university. In the middle ages, painting and sculpture belonged to the “mechanical” arts rather than the “liberal” arts, but over the next few centuries, artists sought intellectual recognition through theoretical writings and the formation of academies. This combination of manual with intellectual accomplishment has tended to differentiate artists from students of literature, history, or science, and accordingly, artists have developed an ambiguous view of the student, teacher, and scholar, seeing them sometimes as kindred spirits, sometimes as aliens. The Pursuit of Learning puts these diverse perspectives on display in one wide-ranging exhibition, giving us the opportunity to consider this universal part of life through the visual image.
For information, call 919-966-5736.

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