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Lesson Plans

Re: Michaelangelo's David in Middle School

From: Larry Seiler (
Date: Tue Apr 04 2000 - 05:34:24 PDT

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    Michaelangelo's David in Middle School

    Gee...checked out the web site's image. First of all, very nice job of a
    middle school student.

    I certainly don't find this piece possibly distasteful, in fact, if your
    middle school is like so many these days, there is probably an indoor
    swimming pool and phy ed instruction for the students, and most swim co-ed.
    If you do not have such Harold, I'd point out to your principal that indeed
    many middle schools do have such. To cover the David's chest is to suggest
    a profanity that would be inconsistent with school's pool/swim phy ed
    programs. unbelievable majority of kids today watch MTV which if you
    spend an evening doing will provide a cultural lesson for you to be sure.
    Not to say MTV ought to set the cultural fact, I'm usually shaking
    my head knowing what kids are watching, hearing, learning. As a teacher
    involved in the arts I feel I need to watch it every so often to keep a
    pulse on what pop culture seems to be enculturating. But certainly there is
    risked the chance that credibility to give serious consideration to what may
    truly be at risk behaviour by the students through school promotions by
    suggesting boy's bare chests is immoral (when students know it is
    not)...lessens the weight of that which is indeed wrong also stressed by
    this same administration.

    Only the most extreme puritanist religious organizations today require men
    to wear shirts while swimming. Thus, a man's bear chest is not considered
    in the least profane or indecent. Perhaps at a shirt and tie affair, yes.

    Thirdly, the work as is serves to highly promote the Renaissance arts and
    draws attention in a unique way to Michaelangelo's work. Much work in that
    period was seeking to find that which was divine in man reflective of design
    by the Creator. This issue reminds me of a book Franky Schaeffer's,
    "Addicted to Mediocrity" where on the cover it shows a wall painter in bibs
    and hat with a paint roller and ladder rolling white paint over the groin
    area of Adam in the Sistine Chapel.

    Note...I am a person with high personal ethics and possessing faith, so I'm
    not coming from a liberal agenda here. I think this student's picture
    demonstrates an effort to reflect the ethical values desired among the
    middle school. I think to force the chest to be covered as well will set a
    precedence that will limit a great deal of art history that can be covered,
    bring up ethical questions about artists that we know held high ideals
    ..whom set high standards of artistic excellence, suggesting mediocrity is
    to be preferred if the high standard of morality is satisfied. Again...not
    against morality, but rather it is being defined in this instance upon the
    principal's insistence. It suggests to the student that she did something
    immoral. An unnecessary humiliation in lieu of that fact that the summer
    brings throngs of chest bearing boys to the swimming hole or "public" pool.

    As is...the piece has an almost humorous quality about it. Covering the
    chest would raise the question of why David's head was necessary? Then the
    question of aesthetics has to be reasoned with. Just my thoughts on it.
    Give my congrads to your student by the way from one fellow painter to
    another! Nice job...

    Larry Seiler
    Landscape Paintings-
    Professional Plein Air Painters-
    WetCanvas Artists pages- (shorter and quicker loading)
    artist's personal site-


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