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Lesson Plans

Re: art history

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
carla schiller (
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 12:16:00 -0800 (PST)

I've been reading the answers to "why teach art history?" with interest,
since what I teaach *is* art history. In fact, I guess I approach art
from the opposite direction than all of you studio art teachers. I find
that it is important for me to incorporate "doing" projects into my
curriculum, to give students a feel for what it is like to use different
media and try different techniques, or else they don't really appreciate
the culture and emotion (I'm not going to say "beauty," not after this
fall's philosopher's walk!) of art as deeply. Last year I was so pleased
that after a mosaic project, one of my students said to me that she never
before fully appreciated the achievement of the Byzantine church mosaic
So I guess my take on why a studio art teacher should teach some art
history is to help his/her students become appreciators of art as well as
creators of art. We've been discussing meaning in art on this list serve
lately. However much an artist may or may not care or consider legitimate
a viewer's conception of the artist's work, the reality is that every
viewer has a reaction of some sort that is totally beyond the artist's
control. As human beings, none of us can do other than see out of our own
eyes (I think the popularity of telepathy-type scifi themes comes from a
wish that we could see out of other's eyes) and that subjective reality
perforce (stuffy word, but I can't think of a better one right this
second) gives us each a unique take on any work of art.
Whew! Didn't mean to be so wordy! Hope some of this is useful...

Carla Schiller, Esq.
Teacher, Highly Gifted Magnet
North Hollywood High School, CA
webpage index:
"One never sufficiently appreciates the absence of pain."
---Robinton, from "The Dragons of Pern" by Anne MacCaffrey

On Sun, 21 Feb 1999, Christine Merriam wrote:

> << Would anybody like to tell me why art history is important in teaching
> art? >>
> Last weekend I was talking to my sister and my nephew describing a lesson I
> teach about the history and art of Mexico.
> My nephew said "Wow!! You teach about art, not just make stuff!" Apparently
> he had a less than positive experience in his last art class.
> My own 2 cents.... art history gives us "the context" of the people places,
> times etc that influence the creation of art. This can make ones understanding
> and appreciation of it much richer. Another personal quirk of mine is the
> fascination I have with the visual connections I see between many different
> ancient cultures, and art history answers many questions I come up with....
> like, is it a coincidence that people in Asia and Central America use many of
> the same symbols and the stories or myths behind them are so similar?
> Christine Merriam
> Kayenta Intermediate School