Better Writing Through Art

Course Curriculum

Better Writing Using Art

Course Name: Better Writing through Art

This course is designed for the adult learner who wishes to enhance their writing skills through viewing selected paintings. Students will come away better able to communicate ideas and concepts using the written word. During the course students will be afforded the opportunity to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Sample Lesson

 Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps

Painting is about the world that we live in. Black men live in the world. My choice is to include them. This is my way of saying yes to us.

-Kehinde Wiley

 

Written Assignment: Black Men as Heroic Figures in Art & Literature.

Students will meet me at the Brooklyn Museum to examine the painting for themselves and then write a two to five page essay on the subject: Black Men as Heroic Figures in Art and History. Students will think about the artist, Mr. Wiley’s statement on why he selected this pose and be prepared to share their thoughts on how African Americans are portrayed in local museums.

“This portrait imitates the posture of the figure of Napoleon Bonaparte in Jacques-Louis David’s painting Bonaparte Crossing the Alps at Grand-Saint-Bernard.”

This posture is also imitated in Don Gaspar de Guzmán (1587–1645), Count-Duke of Olivares, ca. 1635

Artist: Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (Spanish, Seville 1599–1660 Madrid)

 

Course Name: Women of the Bible as viewed through historic paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art


Courses held on Fridays and Saturdays

Sample Lesson

 Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps

Painting is about the world that we live in. Black men live in the world. My choice is to include them. This is my way of saying yes to us.

-Kehinde Wiley

 

Written Assignment: Black Men as Heroic Figures in Art & Literature.

Students will meet me at the Brooklyn Museum to examine the painting for themselves and then write a two to five page essay on the subject: Black Men as Heroic Figures in Art and History. Students will think about the artist, Mr. Wiley’s statement on why he selected this pose and be prepared to share their thoughts on how African Americans are portrayed in local museums.

“This portrait imitates the posture of the figure of Napoleon Bonaparte in Jacques-Louis David’s painting Bonaparte Crossing the Alps at Grand-Saint-Bernard.”

This posture is also imitated in Don Gaspar de Guzmán (1587–1645), Count-Duke of Olivares, ca. 1635

Artist: Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (Spanish, Seville 1599–1660 Madrid)

Relating Art to History and Current Events

Course Name: Better Writing Through Art

Courses held on alternate Fridays and Saturdays in July & August

 

Required Texts: Ways of Seeing by John Berger

Suggested Film:

Rembrandt’s J’accuse

2008NR 100 minutes

Filmmaker Peter Greenaway’s essayistic documentary brings art to life by meticulous examining Rembrandt’s group portrait “Night Watch,” searching for clues to murder and the motives of the 34 characters depicted. Beginning at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Greenaway weaves in the social history of the 17th-century city as he unravels secret messages never noticed before and a conspiracy that involves everyone in the painting.

Supplemental Texts as needed

Sessions would be held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for tours and discussion. Other museums such as The National Museum of the American Indian in New York, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Brooklyn Museum, MOMA, the New York Historical Society, the Guggenheim, and the Frick may be incorporated as needed.

This course will introduce students to the social aspects of history through viewing various types of artwork via a sharing of ideas and cultures. Students will come away being able to analyze and synthesize information about how art and history relates to their daily lives.

 

The instructor Ms. DeBorah Ann Palmer graduated cum laude in 2002 with a BA in English Literature from Marymount Manhattan College.

 

Curriculum:  Better Writing Through Art

Course Description

Course Name: Better Writing through Art

This course is designed for the adult learner who wishes to enhance their writing skills through viewing selected paintings. Students will come away better able to communicate ideas and concepts using the written word. During the course students will be afforded the opportunity to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as other selected museums throughout New York City.

 

 

Course Name: Women of the Bible as featured in Art

We will explore the roles of women in the Bible as seen through the eyes of artists from the 15th to the 20th Centuries.

 

 

 

Black Men as Heroic Figures or Noble Savage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sample Syllabus

This example is flexible and will be adapted accordingly

How to “Read” an Artwork

The students will use the following structure to help them organize what they learn about the selected artwork. As the students go through the process, they will take notes on the relevant information they discover.

The “reading” process is divided into four steps:

1. Description

2. Analysis

3. Interpretation

4. Judgment


Step 1 – Description

  • What is the name of the artist who created the artwork?
  • What kind of an artwork is it?
  • What is the name of the artwork?
  • When was this artwork created?
  • Name some other major events in history that occurred at the same time this artwork was created.
  • List the literal objects in the painting (trees, people, animals, mountains, rivers, etc.).
  • Consider the significant art elements that are present in this artwork and describe them:
 LINE  TEXTURE
 SHAPE  COLOR
 FORM  VALUE
 SPACE  PATTERN

Step 2 – Analysis

In this step consider the most significant art principles that were used in the artwork.
Describe how the artist used them to organize the elements.

 BALANCE  CONTRAST  EMPHASIS
 HARMONY  VARIETY  UNITY
 GRADATION  MOVEMENT  RHYTHM
 PROPORTION  DEPTH  COMPOSITION

Step 3 – Interpretation

Based on what you have learned so far about the artwork, what do you think the artist was trying to say?
Why did the artist create this artwork? What do you think it means? What feelings do you have when looking at this artwork? Do you think there are things in the artwork that represent other things – symbols?


Step 4 – Judgment

Do you like this artwork? Do you think it is a good artwork? Do think it is an important artwork? Would display this artwork in your home? Is this artwork good enough to put in a museum?

Justify your opinion. Explain why you feel the way you do about this artwork based on what you have learned about it.


The Student Art Critic

After going through the process individually or as a group (group response is recommended), each student will write a four paragraph critique about the artwork using the information that was recorded.

  • 1st paragraph: Describe the artwork
  • 2nd paragraph: Analyze the artwork
  • 3rd paragraph: Interpret the artwork
  • 4th paragraph: Make a judgment about the artwork and back it up with good information.

 

 

 

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