The Benton: Inspiring the future with classics

By Brett Steinberg for the Daily Campus

The Benton Museum’s permanent classical art collection showcases works that dates back hundreds of years, and yet many students connect the ancient art to modern.

“It’s sort of a portal back in time. To see what some people look like, or how people are portrayed. This is history,” said Gregory Bicknell, an eighth-semester mechanical engineering major and gallery attendant at the Benton.

Although many of the pieces are older, they hold ideas and aesthetic inspirations that have greatly influenced contemporary art. As you walk through the exhibits, the paintings become more current, as a sign that art progresses with the times it’s created in.

Krystina Jackson, an eighth-semester psychology major, compared the new and old ways of capturing a moment. “Our social media is their art,” said Jackson, viewing the paintings as a relic that freezes time of a bygone era.

“We just take it and move on,” said Miranda Tarpey, an eighth-semester marketing major, talking about how we take easy pictures on our phones compared to physically painting every single detail on the canvas to truly capture the moment.

“Think of the importance we now put on photography and what goes on in the TV. Those paintings are sort of that equivalent of back then, but in a different way,” said Jean Nihoul, adjunct professor in the art history department and assistant curator and academic project coordinator at the Benton.

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