Today was the first of five art tours given to Cornell students in Washington by the art historian at the National Gallery of Art and Cornell professor, Eric Denker. The tour lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes and covered five paintings, but changed the way the 20+ people that went will ever look at an artist’s work again. We didn’t go over the typical study of lines, colors, and positionings (that’ll be dedicated for the four other tours with Mr. Denker) but rather the little details that get passed over by the casual art observer, and what the artist means when he/she paints certain images, animals, or clothes. For instance, with “Masked Ball at the Opera” by Manet we compared the painting to the title, found Manet in his painting, the ticket that he dropped, the political statement that the jester made, and through this learned about some of his impressionist principles but deciphered why he wasn’t an impressionist artist. That was an example with one painting and similar practices went on with others from the Renaissance, Reformation, and Dutch periods. It was extremely enjoyable (the Gallery was beautiful) minus the ketchup stain on my shorts thanks to the Polish sausage I ate. I will be sure to go on the following four tours sans the food on my clothes.