Monday, August 8, 2016

Art History, the big Story approach

As my children are transitioning towards Elementary/Middle School, I am trying to apply some of the Montessori Elementary principles to what we do, going from manipulative/concrete to abstract and big picture.

This approach is working particularly well in the study of Art. Rather than approaching different techniques in random order, we are following a small booklet, "The Child's History of Painting", which is a simplified narration of the evolution of art, with plenty of activities related to each moment.

It gives children the big picture, in the same way "The History of the Hand" and "The History of Writing" do in the Five Great Lessons, and it helps them understand art in context, within its historical times.

I  usually start with the activities suggested in the book, but I also like to incorporate my own.

Here is an example of a fun activity we came up with, in which we combined history, art and a little bit of craftsmanship by a cool DIY scratch art paper medium.

The subject is Ancient Greece, more especifically the Red Figure and Black Figure in pottery.

In order to reproduce the effect, we simply created a scratch paper using only red orange crayon for the Red figure  and use red orange card stock for the Black Figure.

The Red -figure inspired vases

The Black-Figure inspired vases

When placed side by side, the effect is quite striking, and it helps understand the details involved in the change of background for each style.