Friday, November 11, 2011

Renaissance Art Day

Each year in my class, I spend a day talking about Renaissance art. It doesn't always totally fit exactly into the curriculum, but I think that art is so cool, especially from this time period, and it is more accessible to the kids than later artistic styles. I love to see them start to find details and meaning, where they had been afraid of art before. At the end of class, I had them fill out an exit slip and I asked them to tell me what their favorite piece of art was and why they liked it. Here are some of their comments.

Raphael - School of Athens
* I liked this because it had a lot of artists and philosophers in it.
* This is beautiful and it seems like everyone is happy. It's somewhere I would want to live. The other paintings are dark and have dark messages.

Hans Holbein - The Ambassadors
* I liked this because he did more than put two and two together. He was very creative.
* I liked this because of the conflict shown between traders and priests and the three levels of life between them.
* I liked that there were different ways to interpret the items in the painting
* I liked that this painting was hard to explain
* I liked that you had to look at this from a different perspective to really see things correctly

Jan van Eyck - Arnolfini's Wedding
* I like that the artist painted himself in this backwards
* I like the significance of the mirror
* the mirror was so amazing, so small but he drew very beautiful
* I like that it represented loyalty
*I like that all the detail and the symbols all mean something
* this painting is a symbol of life, love, lust, and death

Michelangelo - the Mona Lisa
* I like the background
* I think it's cool that her eyes follow you
* this is a real-life painting
* she is really ugly (disclaimer...we had talked about how Michelangelo painted real people, they aren't made to look better than they are)
* She attracted me with her smile the first time I saw her

Artemisia Gentileschi - Judith Beheading Holofernes
* This showed how strong a woman can be when she's been hurt
* Female dominance rules
* this captures the angerts and hatred, and portrays the strength that a woman has
* it shows how a woman can stand up against the bad guys
* her background gets my attention (Gentileschi was raped while in her teens)

Caravaggio - David with the Head of Goliath
* I'm not sure why I liked it, but something about it intrigued me
* David has a look of accomplishment on his face
* it shows David being powerful and heroic

My favorite part of Renaissance Art day is how the kids interact with the paintings. At the beginning of the period they aren't sure about things but before long they start finding symbols themselves, things I haven't even seen. It's a great activity to do the day before a break and I love opening their minds up to the possibility that art is not scary.

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