Helping young children to love and create beauty.
HISTORY OF ART (2ND-6TH) IS A COMPANION COURSE TO VERITAS HISTORY COURSES FOR STUDENTS IN GRADES 2-6.
God made us creative and on Mount Sinai gave instructions on how to use art. Virtually all cultures have made art that reveals its hopes, dreams, and beliefs. And by studying the art of past cultures, we can learn something about ourselves in the present.
The Veritas approach to learning art history in grammar school includes a very popular curriculum. It’s called History of Art: Creation to Contemporary and has a distinctively Christian overview covering well-known works of art, from the Lascaux Cave paintings and Winged Victory to the Mona Lisa and American Gothic. The program also takes time to focus on art by Christians and about the Christian faith.
There are four ways to teach the course:
Work through the program in one year. Two great works of art are on each of the 32 flashcards, along with information about each art movement studied. The full-color workbook contains comprehension questions, crafts, activities, readings, and features on artists of the faith. This option used typically as a for credit course.
Teach alongside the Veritas history curriculum, covering the art to coincides with the time periods studied. When used fully integrated with the Veritas History Series this art history program is used from second grade to sixth. Each card has a color bar across the top of the card that matches the history cards, and the overview pages have timelines that use the history card number system to place the art in the proper sequence.
The versatility of this curriculum makes it possible to consider using it as a transitional program in 7th grade, because it spans all of Western history. Although full of fun activities for younger kids, the textbook also has in-depth readings for older students about such things as the Golden Mean, perspective, interviews with contemporary artists of faith, and more.
Finally, the art history cards could be used to complement an art program where your students are learning to “do” art that you may already be using, mixing them in as a way to add “appreciating” art, its depth and inspiration, while developing basic art skills.
Your students will be able to identify all the major art movements in Western art as well as know the titles and artists responsible for over five dozen artistic masterpieces. These movements and works of art are the grammar of art history and will allow the student to navigate nearly every museum of Western art in the world, as well as know how they fit in the study of history. The course is available in You Teach format.
The Veritas Approach to Art
Young children are almost without exception “drawn” to art (pun intended)! Their innate curiosity and wonder about the entire creation naturally extends to wanting to capture it in vivid colors on paper. So a formal, comprehensive art program is essential to a classical education from a Christian worldview. Introducing children to the visual arts and training them how to capture beauty addresses the third part of the invaluable trivium of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
Done properly, a classical art course uses the God-given way children learn and acquire skills (mostly through imitation), and thereby come to create and appreciate beauty. In keeping with Veritas’ commitment to and use of students’ characteristics at each stage of growth, in our art program we apply the following approach:
During the earliest years we use sensory exploration and their natural interest in the world’s variety: colors, smells, light, sounds, textures, even tastes build strong associations in a child’s mind. Wonderful book illustrations can be appreciated very early on. This is a time to guide their exploration of art media, giving them simple objects and scenes to see and copy frequently. Imitation is their God-given way of approaching the adult world. At this level the classical methods we use reinforce and encourage the imitative nature of children.
The primary tool we use, Drawing With Children (by Mona Brooks), presents copying and practice as a means of learning to draw. It insists on developing mastery of basics, focusing on five basic elements—an “alphabet” of shapes:
Extensive practice is key. Even the great Michelangelo said, “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all.” Unlike some contemporary thought, we recognize great value in the mastery of basics. It’s the “grammar” of art.
Students learn to view the world through these five shapes and how to develop the images on paper. All can learn to become artists to the extent God has gifted them and develop their own unique style of realistic interpretation. And to the extraordinarily gifted, this training in the basics will always serve them well.
As the children mature, we help them attain closer and clearer reproductions in their own work and also increasingly expose them to the names and works of famous masters—learning to recognize similarity (style) of pieces and naming them.
You Teach Course
Art I - Grammar
History of Art
Art I - Grammar
Art II - Grammar
History of Art
5 - 6
Art II - Grammar
History of Art
Art Studio I
Art Studio II
*History of Art is sometimes taught in second grade by those using the course in conjunction with the history courses.
Simply put, creation is our best model for what God considers beautiful and fitting for imitation and meditation. This doesn’t limit a student’s scope—just the opposite. Creation, including man’s shaping and use of it (as seen in historical events, architecture, landscapes, everyday life), provides us with an almost inexhaustible source of subjects. Principles in God’s Word guide our study of art history, which includes the examination of the best works of artists in the past (most of them non-Christians). We “plunder the Egyptians” and recognize that, self-consciously or not, these artists gave glory to God through beautifully reflecting His light, color, balance, atmosphere, and other true and accurate displays of His character in the work of the creation.
Systematic, encouraging exposure to God-honoring use of creative skills calls to the heart and mind of a child: seeing and appreciating with the heart, understanding and emulating with the mind (eye and hand). Creatively using trained skills to portray a unique vision is the appropriate work of an artist. Glory to God, not oneself, should be the primary goal of all Christian artists. This conviction, combined with skill and the love of real beauty, will set Christian students and artists on a path that will restore great art It will even win over the relativistic, humanistic view of art today.