Contrary to popular belief, art history doesn’t have to be boring! The Ancillae art teachers are incorporating art history into their weekly lessons in a fresh and fun way for every grade level. Gone are the days of using a projector to show boring art slides! The art department has created lessons spanning the entire art timeline to prove art history is worth exploring.
First grade students begin exploring art dating back to 20,00 B.C. on the timeline. Mrs. Rich’s class is studying prehistoric art and the discovery of the Lascaux caves in France. Students created a ‘cave painting’ of their very own and watched in awe as their paintings were displayed to create a cave in the classroom! First grade ceramic students are studying Ancient Egypt with Miss Perrine. Each student will create a clay scarab and learn to write their name in hieroglyphs. Students in Mrs. Flanigan’s textile class are designing and dyeing silk scarves inspired by Greek patterns.
Second grade pick up the art timeline right where first grade left off with further exploration of Ancient Greek art. Mrs. Rich’s class is creating black hydra pots using a scratch art technique. With Miss Perrine, students are studying Gothic architecture, focusing on gargoyles typically found on cathedrals. Each student will create a clay pinch-pot gargoyle. Students in Mrs. Flanigan’s textile class are weaving a stained glass window. The students are choosing bright colors to weave through the loom that they created with black yarn.
Third grade is exploring the Renaissance and Rococo art periods. Mrs. Rich’s students are introduced to famous Italian Renaissance artists beginning with Michelangelo where they discuss his process of painting the Sistine Chapel. Students are asked to crawl under the table to fully understand just how difficult it is to work in less-than-ideal conditions! Students in third grade are studying the Rococo period in art history with Miss Perrine. Each student will learn coil-building technique in clay to create a pot or vase with Rococo-style designs. The Rococo period continues in Mrs. Flanigan’s textile classroom where the students are creating lace-like bowls made from ribbon and thread. The students are doing well using the sewing machine for the very first time.
Impressionism is introduced to the fourth grade through a study of Monet and his famous garden paintings. Students in Mrs. Rich’s classes are creating their own garden landscape in the impressionistic style through a guided step-by-step lesson. Students in 4th grade are also studying Post-Impressionism, specifically the artwork of Vincent van Gogh. Each student will learn the slab-building technique in clay to create either a bowl or a vase inspired by nature and emotion, rather than a realistic approach. The Impressionist painters were heavily influenced by Japanese art, and in Mrs. Flanigan’s textile class students are studying the Japanese hand stitching technique, Sashiko.
Fifth and sixth grade students are studying the African-American folk artist Horace Pippen- a local painter from West Chester. The students are creating an “Imagination” water color through a combination of guided and free drawing as well as basic watercolor technique lessons. Fifth grade students in Miss Perrine’s class will focus on Art Nouveau and Cubism. Each student will learn the slab-building technique in clay to create a bowl with linear, natural forms inspired by Art Nouveau. Students will also use the school cameras and new skills in Photoshop Elements to create a Cubist photo collage.
Seventh grade students study Wassily Kandinsky and how synesthesia cognate made him a fantastic abstract artist. Students then sketch abstractly to three different pieces of music noting how each selection evokes different emotions in us. Seventh grade students in Miss Perrine’s class will focus on Surrealism. Students will draw inspiration from the paintings of Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte to design a final image using Photoshop Elements. Each student will combine seven image sources, including photographs taken at Ancillae, to create one surreal photo manipulation.
In Miss Perrine’s eighth grade class, students are choosing a period of art history to focus on during their second project of the school year. In ceramics, each student will make a vase that represents a period of art history that the student has studied and model the design after. In digital art, students will create an exhibition poster/advertisement for their chosen period in art history, imagining that they are a graphic designer working for an art museum. Using the medium of their choice in Mrs. Rich’s class, students will create a piece inspired by an art history timeframe. They will review and research their period which culminates in a final project to be displayed at the year-end art show.