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<<6th grade world history textbook and select examples of art they
determine to be beautiful and explain why; another required students to
identify "not beautiful" examples of art and to explain why. Student
responses seem to indicate that some of their views have changed
concerning art and beauty. Students seem to be looking at things with
a more critical eye; they no longer simply look at the surface value of
a work or rely on their first impressions.
• Next week we will investigate primitive art and the Lascaux caves.
This will be followed up with an art making experience using paper bags,
charcoal, pomegrananates and berries in which students will create their
own cave paintings.
Regarding beauty. We accidently got on a discussion as my students are doing
Psychological Portraits. We looked at the work of Lucien Freud and discussed
how he seems to go beyond the physical facade and find the fragile and
vunerable and even frightening aspects of the human psyche. We looked at
portraits in a more traditional sense (Mona Lisa, Robert Henri, Renoir,
Gainsborough) and others dealing issues (Ivan Allbright, Van Gogh, Gaugin,
etc) The students got "went off" on the Mona. What's the big deal, she's not
beautiful, rich, etc. We discussed beauty in a general sense. We even
discussed what would have been beautiful in prehistoric community. Would you
pick a waif-like mate or a strong and sturdy body to make it through the
winter and childbirth. The students spoke of images they had seen from
National Geographic regarding "beauty" and "status". It is interesting how
easy it is to narrow ones acceptance of beauty even though we are aware of
other criteria. Just a thought