In our 45 minute- long, weekly lessons in Art History, the aim is to complement and enrich the classical, liberal arts curriculum by exposing the children to works of art created in the time periods their study of History covers. The goal is to stir the students’ interest, cultivate their taste, and develop their skills of observation, analysis, and description.
The Lecture headings show just how much the Church’s calendar informs the art history curriculum, while the weeks between liturgical seasons allow for plenty of time to explore secular subjects and themes.
The vast and rich store of Christian art provides us with an indispensable aid to deepen our Faith, increase our appreciation of its holy Mysteries, and strengthen our Catholic identity. At the same time, our Christian perspective gives us a clear lens through which to look at creative works of a secular nature, and of other cultures.
Students will still benefit from a review of their lessons by revisiting these images, found under lecture titles, in separate files below.
Art History Teacher
Click on the lecture you would like to view. You can download the pictures onto your computer to view them or open them in Google docs or another suggested app.
Lecture 42- Summer Scenes-was composed in the Spring of 2017 as an end of year treat for our final class for the 2016-2017 school year. (Technical difficulties prevented our viewing!) It consists of an eclectic selection of art works depicting Summer. A Roman statuette of Ceres, goddess of grain, agriculture, and fertility, prompts a discussion of the mythical explanation of the seasons and of Ceres’ perceived role as a civilizing force. We take note of her attributes: a torch to light her search for Proserpina in the Underworld, a crown of wheat (corona spicea), a scythe, wheat sheaths and poppies (which grow in wheat fields). Poussin’s Summer, ( of his Four Seasons series commissioned by the nephew of Cardinal Richelieu), draws its inspiration from the Book of Ruth. We note the reference to Jesus’ ancestry and find the Eucharistic imagery is rich. A calendar page miniature from a 16thc Belgian Book of Hours illustrates the month of July. As is typical of illuminated calendar pages, both the leisure activity of royalty or noblemen,( in this case, falconry), and the labor of the peasants,( mowing), are pictured.
The 19thc is well represented here not by accident. In the 19thc there developed a broad movement that rejected “academic” art treating historical, Biblical, mythological and allegorical themes created in the studio, to embrace landscape and seascape and subjects of contemporary life, both public and private. Artists began to paint out of doors, “en plein air”, in order to capture the natural and fleeting effects of light that so fascinated them. We find themes of childhood innocence, family life, travel, leisure, sport and harvest.
Lecture 43-Homer-This lesson was put together with the idea of complementing and enriching the students’ study of Homer’s epic poems, artfully condensed by Padraic Colum in The Children’s Homer. Most of the images chosen are found on ancient Greek black and red figure vases. The Greek vase painters chose Homeric scenes of particular drama, poignancy or significance. With a spare use of line and judicious selection of detail, the action, or moment, or emotion is described. We find these stylistic traits common to poem and painting!