I just came across an excellent strategy for teaching homeschool art appreciation. I just had to share. It is Charlotte Mason’s Picture Study.
First off, an excellent quotation given on the post below to get is in the mood.
“Every child should leave school with at least a couple of hundred pictures by great masters hanging permanently in the halls of his imagination . . . At any rate he should go forth well furnished because imagination has the property of magical expansion, the more it holds the more it will hold.” — Charlotte Mason, Vol. 6, p. 43
Over on Homeschool Encouragement, Tonia from The Sunny Patch did a guest post called “Art Study the Easy Way.” She describes a strategy of studying 6 artists a year for 6 weeks each. Each week, you discuss just one artwork with your students. Tonia gives a great how-to which consists of the student looking closely and studying the artwork, and then narrating it back to you. Printing it in color and keeping in a binder will give your students a reminder of all the great art they have learned about in the year. Click over to the post to find out more!
Here is a good video demonstrating this process and its value. It is a must watch if you plan on doing this! She talks about how to find cheap reproductions as well.
I really love the simplicity of this program and the focus on putting the kid in the driver’s seat. In the video, she talks about having your child developing a personal relationship with the art and the artist. Love. Love.
I have a couple of additional thoughts on this activity. The picture on the post had some artist names that were all very similar. I would add some variety to make it more interesting for the kids. A whole year of Impressionism would be super boring! Also, be sure to include artists from other cultures and time periods. It is easy to focus on just the “great masters” and forget that those artists were seemed great by historians in a Western-centric and male-centric perspective.
I plan on furthering the resources on this topic and do some of the art finding and selecting for you, but this post is getting a little long. Next time, I will be sharing 6 American artists, and future posts will delve into more.
Charlotte Mason Picture Study Resources on the Art Class Curator
Here are the resources I have created so far for Charlotte Mason Picture Study. Each has a PowerPoint of 6 artworks and information about the artist.
- Charlotte Mason Picture Study: Henry Ossawa Tanner
- Charlotte Mason Picture Study: John Singleton Copley
- Charlotte Mason Picture Study: Thomas Cole
- Charlotte Mason Picture Study: Mary Cassatt
- Charlotte Mason Picture Study: Frederic Remington
Charlotte Mason Picture Study Books and Postcards
- Dover Art Postcard Books – In the video, she talks about the Dover art postcard books. I used to be so addicted to these back when I worked in a museum store in college! I am really trying not to order them all right now. Dover also has artist sticker books and famous artwork coloring books. I might have to break my coloring book rule for those. Step away from Amazon.com, Cindy. Step away.
- Taschen Basic Art Series – I’ve mentioned these Taschen books on my blog before, but they are great. They focus on individual artists or styles with big reproductions and not a whole lot of text. Plus, they are cheap!
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