When students see paintings in galleries or museums, they are often awed by their beauty. They may wonder why the artists created them, and they might be curious about what the paintings represent. They might also be interested in the techniques that went into their creation. However, many students are not encouraged to explore art further, and as a result, they may not get a complete picture of what makes works of art great.
In the past, students might have been able to find information about artworks in books on art history or in art journals. Today, many students can find art-related information on the Internet, or in textbooks that are primarily online. This has resulted in a shift in what students know about art, and it is not always for the better.
Some scholars have argued that the teaching of art has become a commodity. They argue that teachers are focused on securing their jobs, so they do not have time to teach students how to analyze a painting or sculpture. They also do not allow students to take field trips to visit art museums or other galleries. As a result, the quality of student art and the knowledge of the discipline is suffering.
Art has been a source of wonder and intrigue for thousands of years. It has been a way for people to express their spirituality, and it has served as a memory system, reminding people of events in their lives. The art of the Inuit, for example, was used to honor ancestors. Ritual ball games, such as those played on Crete and in Aboriginal Australia, are another form of art that has both function and beauty.
In the early modern period, philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Schiller began to focus on art as a subject of philosophical exploration. By the 19th century, Winckelmann’s Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects inspired Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Hegel to write about art. These thinkers believed that art was more than beautiful, but could also be meaningful and symbolic.
Although some people have criticized the idea that art has a deeper meaning, it is still an important aspect of teaching about art. Without it, students would not be able to compare and contrast different artistic styles. It also encourages a dialogue between creators and critics. There have even been art movements that were created with the goal of defying critics, such as impressionism and fauvism.
In your classroom, you can help students understand the power of art by teaching about different types of media and how they have changed over time. Introduce a variety of mediums, such as water color, oil paint, charcoal, and clay, and discuss the ways that artists use these materials to create their works. You can also introduce the history of different cultures through art. Avoid making statements that sound like universal truths, such as “Across all cultures, blue symbolizes despair.” Unless you have solid evidence of this statement, it is best to stick with generalities about the impact of color in art.