Students Guide Students
Is there a way of making art history fun for children?
Around 40 students from the Wilhelm-Gymnasium high school in Hamburg – most of whom were aged between 16 and 18 – spent several months studying the contents of the KAIROS project during their art lessons. Before the opening of the exhibition in Hamburg, they received first-hand information from the painter Wolfgang Beltracchi when they met him in Barlach Halle K. For the KAIROS project, Beltracchi had painted 28 pieces, including some large-format paintings, which are representative of the most important stylistic periods from the past 2,000 years of European art history. The paintings in the style of Caravaggio, Turner, Monet, Klimt and many other influential artists cover eras ranging from Ancient Rome to modern art from the middle of the 20th century. During his meeting with the students from Hamburg, Wolfgang Beltracchi spoke about the characteristic features of the various eras and their artists and presented his paintings – works that were never actually painted by the masters of the time, but nevertheless present important events from the periods in which they were alive.
The students gained rare insights that very few people are ever lucky enough to receive. Enthralled, they listened as Wolfgang Beltracchi candidly revealed the secrets and background behind the works. The “art profilers” then guided small groups through the exhibition, sharing their knowledge of KAIROS. The Right Moment with adults and students of all ages and from all types of school from primary school to high school. News of the joint project with the enthusiastic students from Wilhelm-Gymnasium, who were supervised by art teacher Uwe Niemann, spread quickly throughout Hamburg and demand for the unusual art tours was high.
Equally as pleasing was the impact of the project on its participants at the end of the exhibition in Hamburg. While the “art profilers” from Wilhelm-Gymnasium benefited from their in-depth involvement with the contents of the exhibition, the tours were also an enriching experience for the students who went on them. In fact, the participants discovered that art and history are not only fascinating, but can even be fun when taught in the right way.
This video provides further insights into the project: