Understanding today by studying the past

By Michelle Wang
Art History Buff

To enrich our collective understanding of the history of cultural heritage within New Zealand, Year 12 Art History students endeavoured on a trip through the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

As part of our internal that encouraged us to navigate our personal response to art, the class explored the imposing exterior of the Neoclassical architecture, as well as the Grand Foyer and Māori Court. Assuming the role of critics and analysts, the classical Greek revival architecture and portraits painted by Goldie and Lindauer were dissected through thorough notes, sketches, and photographs.

Upon completing the initial tasks, the class were encouraged to roam around to other portions of the museum to admire the fine craftsmanship of the interior, as well as the displayed artifacts.

Personally, I have learnt that the Greek Revival style was chosen as it embodied the idea of remembrance and knowledge, thus reflecting the museum’s function as both a war memorial and a collection of natural, human, and military history. The decision of using the Greek revival style was also buttressed by the site of the museum being upon the remains of a dormant volcano, mirroring the Acropolis Museum in Athens being constructed upon the Acropolis of Athens (an archaeological site).