Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Art for Lent

image of The Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew
We homeschoolers are studying the paintings in Jesus of Nazareth:  A Life of Christ Through Pictures.  For these several weeks we're soaking in the artistic and religious beauty.

All the paintings in the book are owned by the National Gallery of Art, so to finish up we'll take a trip downtown to see them in person.  They're not all on display, but I am able to search online to find out which pictures are up and (this is key!) which rooms they're in.  I'll map out our visit so we can maximize enjoyment without exhausting attention spans.

I did this project years ago with an earlier batch of students, so I know it will be meaningful and fun.  A museum visit makes a great field trip for the whole family (maybe Easter break for us) or a group of friends.  We'll see other works, too, but I prefer having a focus for our outing.

About the book:  my county library has only four copies left (many more years ago), so I bought a used one in very good condition for a great price from Amazon.  If you want to try this, it's not too late to get started!

About the gallery:  If you're interested in my chart of paintings currently on view at the NGA, send me an email and I'll get it to you once I've completed it.  My address is LRice31 trash at cox dot net (take out the trash).  In addition to location, the nga website also has a few paragraphs of information about most of the pictures.  I'm adding the commentary to my document, but you may be interested in looking it up for yourself in the meantime.

About picture study:  Here's a quick "how to" from Simply Charlottle Mason

Picture Study

Art appreciation was one part of Charlotte’s “spreading the feast” before her students; and her method, as always, was gentle and inviting. Display a picture and mention the artist who created it. Have children look at the picture until they can see it clearly in their minds’ eye. When all children are ready, turn the picture over or close the book and ask them to describe the picture. When their narration is finished, display the picture again and notice together any new aspects. Summarize any accompanying information if desired, but be careful not to interfere with each child’s forming his own relationship with the artist’s work. This study is not a lesson in art criticism. Display the picture in a prominent location in your home so children can look at it throughout the week.

Continue to study works by the same artist for several weeks until the children become familiar with that artist’s style. If possible, read a short biography about that artist sometime during your study of his or her work.

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