Randolph is the only U.S. educational institution collaborating with the National Gallery, London.
Ashok Roy, director of collections for the National Gallery, London and an analytical chemist, visited Randolph this fall to kick off a new partnership.
An avid painter since high school, Codi Hinds ’17 enjoys the process of mixing colors and recreating scenes. She finds that same fascination in the science lab when she combines chemicals and analyzes the results of an experiment.
“I love science, and I love art,” she said. “If I could combine those two, that would be exciting.” Hinds recently heard real evidence that there is a way to utilize both of her passions. Last month, she found herself sitting across the table from one of the world’s leading experts on combining art and science. Along with about 15 other students, she was able to share conversation and lunch with Ashok Roy, an analytical chemist and director of collections for the National Gallery, London.
Ashok Roy meets with Randolph art, chemistry, and museum studies students over lunch.
Roy’s visit was the kickoff of the new academic partnership between the National Gallery and Randolph College. The partnership is the first of its kind for any U.S. educational institution.
Officials at the London museum proposed the partnership when they purchased George Bellows’ Men of the Docks, a painting from the College’s collection, in February. The partnership will include annual visits from high-level National Gallery staff members as well as an internship program for Randolph students.
Nicholas Penny, director of the National Gallery, wanted to help the College’s students and alumnae maintain a connection with the treasured painting. “My trustees wanted to do something to help all those associated with the College—as well as the millions of North Americans who visit the National Gallery—to feel part of this institution,” he said.
The Randolph community is excited by the educational possibilities. “This partnership provides a rich resource for us,” said Carl Girelli, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. “It will honor and expand our dedication to the liberal arts and play an important role in our commitment to intercultural competence.”
Art professors were especially excited about the internship program, which will offer students experience in all aspects of museum work. A National Gallery internship would boost any student’s resume, said art history professor Andrea Campbell. “It would raise eyebrows immediately, in a good way,” she added. “It certainly speaks to a Randolph student having the best kind of experience available.”
During Roy’s nearly week-long trip to Randolph, he gave a public lecture focused on methods for telling the difference between authentic and fake Renaissance art. He also gave class presentations about how chemistry sheds light on the materials used in art and helps preserve art from destructive elements.
“The first point of understanding the material is for conservation,” he said. “It’s important to conserve art because we want to be able to pass on these great works of art to future generations so that they can understand something of their cultural history, the enjoyment of looking at art. Unless those works survive, those advantages wouldn’t be available.”