Oxford Impressions

  I fell in love with Oxford as soon as I stepped into it. Large swathes of ocher-colored buildings rush toward you; dome-topped towers clustered into forests are dizzying; The walls and streets are full of history, culture and art; the sky and the ground are full of solemnity and beauty.
  I suddenly panicked. Faced with such a rich cultural feast, he lost his mind and forgot the rules of etiquette. I came here thinking I was well prepared – I had a bottom line. The appetite that has accumulated for many years is to come to the United States and have a feast. I didn’t expect all of this to come so violently and so vividly! It was like entering the gold hole of Ali Baba – there was no way to start.
  Staying in the humble but neat dormitories of medieval monks – a little nostalgic already. Outside the window, hundreds of years old trees scatter green shade; under the window, the long-trodden stone road stretches out to the deep courtyards and alleys. As soon as the window on the other side was opened, what came into view was the gray-green spire on the top of the church. The bell rang just in time, telling the hour. The church under the tower, together with the dormitory building opposite, all stone buildings are bathed in bright sunlight, reflecting a warm golden yellow.
  The door of the building faces a square yard with a green lawn in the center. Only one or two long wooden benches were placed around the lawn and on the sidewalk between the buildings. On one side of the yard is the church of the college, on the other side is the large dining hall, and on both sides are the dormitory buildings with three to four floors. Thick vines climbed the walls of the dormitory building, snuggling around the windows.
  The door of the building where I live is narrow and unremarkable, squeezed into a corner of the courtyard. There was a clump of flowering trees near the base of the wall, with faint purple flowers, branches and leaves inadvertently reaching out to the door. The door of the building is next to the entrance of the church, just a step away. The church door was left open, I hesitantly pushed it open and entered, but there was no one in the front hall. The exquisite iron gates leading to the hall were also half-open, as if not refusing to come. I no longer hesitated and stepped in.
  Immediately, there was a radiance in front of him, and it was beautiful. I held my breath and stopped. The stained glass that falls from the sky like a waterfall hangs all over the wall, and the warm and mysterious brilliance flickers in the air; the wall columns and wall decorations rising straight up, connecting to the ridge of the vault, continue up to the dome. Window frames, doorposts, arch beams, and walls are no longer shackles; lead bars, planks, and stones are no longer barriers. Matter takes refuge in spirit. This is another world, completely different from the world outside the door. Entering here, common thoughts disappear, and the mind is purified; entering here, the body dissolves and the spirit sublimates. This is heaven, the realm of spiritual and artistic perfection. I was intoxicated.
  There is no one in the church, and I am alone in this wonderful art paradise. Portraits on stained glass passionately narrate moving biblical stories – from Genesis to the Passion of Christ; the saints in the frescoes and the knight’s emblem on the wall solemnly and proudly recall the history of the Church – steadfastness , loyalty, honor, sacrifice; the finely carved decorative patterns on the lintels proudly show the piety of the believers and the sincerity of the artists…
  I can’t help but put my hands to my heart and praise: art, you have made me experience the spiritual Sublime and magnificent. In this kingdom of heaven, whether you are a believer or not, as long as you are in it, you will definitely become a believer—a believer in art.
  Oxford University has a unique organizational structure, consisting of nearly 40 relatively independent colleges. These colleges are not established according to majors, such as humanities colleges, engineering colleges, business colleges, etc., but are established and named by private or private groups, and are mainly responsible for recruiting students and providing students with dormitories, canteens, books, and self-study. Hall, etc. Students from various colleges choose majors and tutors from the professional departments set up by the university, mainly study by themselves under the guidance of tutors, and also participate in many irregular lectures provided by the university.
  From a very early time, Oxford’s colleges have been based on the form of courtyards; a college often has two or three courtyards connected irregularly, and one or two gardens. The buildings are mainly student dormitories, but each college must have a chapel and a student dining hall. The chapel is the spirit of each college, while the dining hall is where the college meets and where students dine.
  The college I live in is called Exeter College, the fourth largest college in Oxford by age; it consists of two quadrangle courtyards and two large and small gardens.
  After coming out of the chapel, according to the sketch map of the college, I walked through a narrow corridor in the dormitory building to find the large garden. As soon as I walked out the door, I suddenly felt enlightened. The green grass, the tranquil and gentle flowers of various colors. On the right, a row of lush trees leaned against the mottled and fallen masonry wall. On the left is the college library – a delicate Gothic building, the window beside the door is surrounded by flowers and vines, and the pointed arched windows are subtly hidden by layers of flowers and plants, revealing a vague poetic and romantic. Immediately I thought of the window and garden where Romeo and Juliet had their tryst. A building connected to the library has tall glass windows that occupy almost all the walls, and the wooden lattice bars on the windows are slender and rhythmic. I peeked through the glass, and it seemed to be a very large hall, hazy and mysterious. I wanted to go in and have a look, but I couldn’t find the entrance. At the end of the garden is a small hillside with several large trees with thick branches and leaves. There are stone steps to go up. I wandered up the hill, only to find myself standing in the heart of Oxford. I couldn’t help exclaiming.
  A huge dome-topped round building is close at hand, standing in the sky with extraordinary style. The ochre-colored building glows golden in the sunlight. The rotunda has a distinct Italian Renaissance style: the dome-like dome designed by Michelangelo for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Bramante’s circular main body, a circle of columns with flower basket stigmas, and a round arch. Add gable decoration, stable and rational, solemn and sublime. Behind it, a large steeple of a church towers into the sky. On the other side, there is a row of castle-style stone walls, round arch gates, and a row of minaret-style decorations on the top of the wall; behind there are undulating large and small pointed and round tower tops. On the other side, the dark glass windows of a collegiate chapel break through the monochromatic stone walls, arranging a series of abstract patterns. Between buildings, there are pebble paths, lawns and flower beds. A fantastic picture.
  In Oxford, full of cuboids and cone-shaped Gothic buildings, the dome occupies a central and authoritative position. I rushed there to investigate that day, and it turned out that this building is the Radcliffe Reading Room of the Bodleian Library, the largest library in Oxford. It is mainly used for undergraduates to study and read, and is generally not open to tourists. .
  Just a reading room? Incredible. Such a majestic and sacred temple occupies the center of the academy and overlooks the whole city, but it is neither a temple, a church, nor a palace, a city hall, nor a principal’s office or a VIP building. It is just a place for young students to read freely. A place to gain knowledge. What is the sacredness of knowledge? This is the sacredness of knowledge! This is the purpose and belief of Oxford University. Knowledge is above all else. Think about it, what kind of luxury, and how noble and glorious it would be to sit in such a hall of knowledge to read and study.
  I sat on a wooden chair in the garden, enveloped in art and knowledge. Wish I could sit like this forever. This is a place where seminary students and monks practice asceticism. It is a paradise for cultivating spiritual nobles!   Three
It’s time to report to a reception room called Morris.
“Morris”? Which Morris? I murmured to myself. After entering the room and signing in, after the reception, I noticed that there were several paintings hanging on the wall. There are oil paintings, pencil sketches, and two not-so-big rug paintings. Familiar style! The owner has explained the origin of the house’s name with understanding. It was William Morris! A well-known arts and crafts designer and poet who participated in the activities of the Pre-Raphaelites who set off a decorative arts and crafts movement affecting Europe and the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century! Could it be that this tapestry is him? When I approached and took a closer look, another famous name also jumped in front of my eyes: Edward Burne-Jones—the late representative painter of the Pre-Raphael School!
  It was them, it was them! .
  This is Oxford. If you are not careful, you will fall into the long river of history, and you will step into the ocean of art as soon as you take a step. Just opening your mouth and asking will lead to a lot of stories. I usually go to an academy for the first time, and before I can touch the east, west, and northwest, I am already dizzy and dizzy when I am hit by the glittering works and the clanging names of writers and artists.
  It turned out that Exeter College happened to be the alma mater of the two artists. In the mid-nineteenth century, they both studied here at the same time. Burne-Jones majored in theology, and Morris specialized in church architecture. The two of them hit it off and became good friends; not only did they often discuss theology, study the art of church architecture, write poems and paintings, etc., but also like to travel together and inspect buildings around the world. Britain’s unique natural scenery and medieval life atmosphere have cultivated their sensitive and special taste in appreciation; and after returning from a trip to the Nordic continent, they were completely fascinated by Gothic architecture, painting, and poetry, and they decided to devote themselves to art without hesitation. . It is a legend that the two friends have cooperated sincerely for life and created many high-quality works of art. The tapestry painting on this wall and the large tapestry in the church were the result of their collaboration: Burne Jones was responsible for the original drawing, and Morris was responsible for the overall design and the supervision of the carpet weaving.
  Returning to the church from the Morris parlour, there was a piano beside the altar; a young man in a black dress with a thin and handsome face was practicing the piano attentively. There is a concert here in the evening. I sat down and listened on the bench opposite the Three Kingdoms tapestry. I couldn’t tell what tune he was playing, it should be a hymn. The notes that are suddenly crisp and cheerful, then solemn and dignified, and then melodious and lyrical, dance in the radiant air like a dance. I was no longer dizzy with excitement, but my heart was peaceful. I’m imagining this evening, when the group of organs that take up almost half the wall play Bach’s organ pieces, when the chorus sing Handel’s “Messiah” hymn, when his celestial anthem” “Hallelujah” reverberated in the ceiling of the dome, and when the whole audience could not help standing up in admiration, what a holy, what a sublime, what a perfect scene!
  Tickets for the concert were sold out two weeks ago . I don’t feel particularly sorry. I’ve had a few shocks in just half a day in Oxford; twice the church was completely my own. Satisfied, very satisfied. If you add the accompaniment of the organ and the sound of the chorus, my God, even God will be jealous of me.