By Martha Nodar

Oglethorpe freshman Jordan Michels looks at Manet’s 19th century oil on canvas, “Le Dejeuner sur J’Herbe” (Luncheon on the Grass).

Classic and modern landscape paintings in a new exhibit now on display at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art caught the eye of Oglethorpe freshman Jordan Michels, who credits her art history professor for “reviving her interest in art.”

The “Sky Light: Landscapes, Traditional and Contemporary” exhibit, which runs through March 9, consists in part of paintings and lithographs from Impressionists and Post-Impressionists Eugène Boudin, Armand Guillaumin, Édouard Manet, Maxime Maufra, Camille Pissarro and others capturing the French countryside.

Influenced by Japanese prints, Manet’s 19th century oil on canvas, “Le Dejeuner sur J’Herbe,” (Luncheon on the Grass) is one of the paintings in the show and one of Manet’s most controversial pieces.

“The greenery surrounding this composition serves as a natural frame, and makes me think it is perhaps a warm day in late spring,” Michels said. “I want to know more about the female figure in white garments depicted in the center background.”

What: Sky Light: Landscapes, Traditional & Contemporary

Where: Oglethorpe University Museum of Art

Philip Weltner Library, 4484 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven

When: Now through March 9

Regular Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: noon—5 p.m.

General Admission: $5 (Free for children under 12)

Closed on Mondays and school holidays

Parking: Free

For more information: 404-364-8555, museum.oglethorpe.edu

Manet’s piece holds a contrast to Maufra’s 19th century, “La Glace Etans de Ville d’Avray” (The Frozen Pond in the Villa of Avray), portraying a wintery scene. Maufra’s expertise in marine painting does not go wasted in this composition where the water literally takes center stage.

“In this piece, the action is in the foreground with the implied movement of the water,” Michels said.

“There is also a contrast of warmth and cold between the snow depicted in the left foreground and the dark green leaves of the trees bordering the edge of the water toward the right background.”

Michels, who is majoring in international studies and minoring in Japanese culture, praises her art history professor Jeffrey Collins for what he brings to the classroom.

“Dr. Collins is not a traditional teacher,” she said. “He likes to engage his students in conversation, and we have the freedom to express ourselves.”

In addition to teaching art history and anthropology to Oglethorpe students, Collins also oversees the university’s study abroad program, which allows Oglethorpe students to travel to other universities around the world and study there for a semester. Michels said she hopes to travel to Japan during her sophomore year.

Every summer Collins organizes a trip to Europe for Oglethorpe students and alumni to experience first-hand the works of art they may have discussed in class and the unique features of different cultures.

“Our program transforms students into highly independent thinkers and doers, develops global citizens, and promotes deep understanding of other cultures and languages,” Collins said.