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By Samantha Schefka, University of Michigan

I have enjoyed my classes here more than most classes I take at the University of Michigan. As part of my program, I took a class titled: 20th Century Spanish Artists, Picasso, Dali, and Miro. Because of this class, I have a whole new love and perspective in art. I mainly studied art done by these arts known as “modern masters”; however, we also paralleled these artists with other artists that were famous during their time. Not only did we learn about the art but we learned about the life of the artist and how it influenced the artists’ art. All of these artist were from Cataluna, Spain. Because of this, we were able to visit many of the pieces studied. We went to an entire museum devoted to each of the artists. I can honestly say visiting these museums was one of the highlights of my entire trip. I was able to see iconic pieces by all three arts as well as when I went outside of Barcelona. When going to Madrid for a weekend visit, I went to two art museums. I visited Museo Nacional del Prado and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Some of Salvador Dali’s early works and his most famous works reside at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Here I was able to see works such as: The Egnima of HItler, The Great Masterbator, The Invisibale Man, and the Endless Enigma. The part I like most about this museum is that I stumbled upon it entirely by accident.

Earlier in the day, I had decided to take a snack break and buy an ice cream cone in the closest McDonald’s. While there, I struck up a conversation with an older gentleman. He told me about a fantastic museum that was free for students under 25 years old with an active student ID. He was referring to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Feeling as if I had done everything I wanted to do in Madrid, I took him up on his advice. Just as he said I was able to enter for free with my U of M ID. As I walked into the first exhibit of the museum, I instantly recognized some of Picasso’s famous works. I thought it was cool, but Picasso was not my favorite artist. It was not until I randomly stumbled on the Dali exhibit ( I was doing the exhibits out of order because that museum is extremely confusing) that I found the Salvador Dali exhibit. As I entered I noticed a piece that I recognized. The Enigma of HItler was hanging on the wall directly in front of me. One day prior to this I had been assigned the topic of my final project, worth the majority of my grade. This painting was one of the three I was assigned. I was astounded. I could not believe I was in the same room as this incredible, surrealist work of art. Seeing this work of art was not only a memory I will treasure forever, but it really helped me with my exam because I was able to see minute details in the painting that I did not notice in the online image. I believe this made my exam score better.

Samantha Schefka

Samantha is from University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, and studied abroad at SIS during SUmmer 2018.

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