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1 .<-NARRATOR:->Listen to a conversation between a student and his art history professor.
1 .<-FEMALE PROFESSOR:->How was the museum?
1 .<-MALE STUDENT:->Great. I hadn't been there for a few years.
1 .<-FEMALE PROFESSOR:->Did you enjoy the Van Gogh painting?
1 .<-MALE STUDENT:->That's the thing-looks like I have to change my topic...
1 .<-FEMALE PROFESSOR:->[concerned tone] Hmm, we're getting close to the deadline....
2 .You were writing about the theme of night in the paintings of Vincent van Gogh? It-it's a wonderful topic...
1 .<-MALE STUDENT:->I know.... People don't usually think of Van Gogh as an artist of nocturnal themes.
2 .They think of brightness, sunshine... all that yellow and orange.
1 .<-FEMALE PROFESSOR:->You're right, of course, about the intense light associated with his daytime paintings, but his night paintings don't exactly lack brightness.
1 .<-MALE STUDENT:->That's the paradox that I really like-the paradox of painting a nighttime scene using so much color and light.
2 .So I was planning to focus mostly on his painting Starry Night.
1 .<-FEMALE PROFESSOR:->But?
1 .<-MALE STUDENT:->When I went to the museum to look at the actual painting, like you told me to, it wasn't there.
1 .<-FEMALE PROFESSOR:->Really? [surprised tone] Isn't it part of the permanent collection?
1 .<-MALE STUDENT:->Yes, but it's on loan right now to a museum in Europe.
1 .<-FEMALE PROFESSOR:->[disappointed tone] I see. Well, I am strict about having students write about paintings they can observe firsthand.
1 .<-MALE STUDENT:->Well, I found another painting I could study instead...
1 .<-FEMALE PROFESSOR:->OK...
1 .<-MALE STUDENT:->I read that there are two paintings called Starry Night.
2 .The first one was done by the French Realist painter Millet... It may've been the inspiration for Van Gogh's painting.
3 .Millet's painting is located near my family's house in Connecticut-and I'm going there this weekend, and could study it then.
4 .I made sure it's not out on loan...
1 .<-FEMALE PROFESSOR:->That definitely would work, then.
2 .Van Gogh copied many of Millet's compositions.
3 .We know that he really admired Millet's work.
4 .And a lot of us think Van Gogh saw this particular painting by Millet in Paris in the late 1700s.
1 .<-MALE STUDENT:->Yeah. Although Millet was a Realist painter and Van Gogh a Postimpressionist, the two paintings still share lots of features-not just the name.
2 .The most striking shared feature has got to be the amazing light effects.
3 .I'm excited to go see it. But, one other thing...
1 .<-FEMALE PROFESSOR:->Uh-huh?
1 .<-MALE STUDENT:->I was thinking about getting a head start on my next assignment while I'm at the gallery in Connecticut-the assignment on miniatures.
2 .They have a lot of miniature portraits of children as part of their permanent collection...
1 .<-FEMALE PROFESSOR:->American miniatures?
1 .<-MALE STUDENT:->Yeah. So I figured I could also get started on that essay... study a few while I'm there.
2 .I'd focus on the meaning of the objects that some of the children are holding; some are holding flowers, one child has a rattle, another a toy violin...
1 .<-FEMALE PROFESSOR:->That would be fine.
2 .Uh, those objects-we call them attributes.
3 .The attribute chosen to be included in a particular miniature was often meant to communicate parents' hopes and dreams for their child.
4 .So I think you'll learn a lot about how people viewed children at the time the miniature paintings were done.