Since I have been here learning French at the ILA Language Immersion School in Montpellier I have found that art is a very big part of the culture here and in France in general. During your French Intensive course for adults at ILA you will have the opportunity to explore this side of the culture whilst deepening your language skills and here’s how.
I have wanted for a while to find the time to explore a bit more into the art world but it has always been pushed aside by other seemingly more pressing matters. I had often found art a bit inaccessible and found endless paintings of landscapes or fruit extremely boring. I couldn’t appreciate art easily and didn’t have an avenue to easily discover different styles to find something that was particularly striking to me. I have been lucky enough to hop over this hurdle however at the French school as art is a recurring theme within our lessons.
The first thing we did that I thought was really interesting was that everyone in the Intensive course class had to do a little exposition of an artist from their country. This was a great as we had a smorgasbord of different styles as we looked at work from artists all over the world: German, Brazilian, Columbian, Italian, Spanish etc. I found a few artists just in that first session that I really liked and already had a starting block to explore from. Laure our teacher also contributed with a couple of French artists that really impressed me too and they were current artists which made it seem somewhat more relevant to me. Also, what is great is that we were doing the expositions ourselves so we could research whatever we wanted and go as in depth as we wanted as well.
I was struggling for inspiration as I didn’t have much of a connection to canvas art until that point so I opted for ‘Banksy’; a graffiti artist famous in the UK. I had heard a little bit about him and seen pictures of his work, you’d have to work pretty hard to not hear about Banksy in the UK. So, I had the opportunity to research this figure I had heard about again and again but had never delved into deeper, I was broadening my general knowledge whilst developing my French skills which felt great! As I learnt more about my subject I grew more interested and heard of other artists as well and then when the other students in my French class were discussing their subjects I was more interested in their stories as well.
Discover French Art Movements in Your French Lessons
My connection to art started to deepen when we began discussing movements. I got to discover a richer story behind names of artistes I have been hearing all my life. The first one we discussed was impressionism so I got to hear about Monet, Manet, Cezanne etc. Then we went on to discussed how impressionism inspired Van Gogh and how Cezanne’s work was a precursor to cubism. With cubism Picasso’s name came into the mix. Just like that I had exponentially broadened my knowledge of the art world and my interested had deepened along with it.
I now had a very foundational knowledge of art history, not much but something to build from and I also had a mix of current artists I could explore as well. To think that I was able to learn all this interesting stuff at the same time as learning French was incredible and one of the things I love about the ILA French Immersion School. If you have an interest, even a mild one, in art doing a French language stay here is a great way to enhance it. The teachers are great at working the subject into the French lessons in a natural way and you are in a great city for appreciating art. I will delve into where you can go to discover and enjoy art here in Montpellier in another article but for now enjoy what you learn in your French classes.