Teaching with Giotto di Bondone

Giotto di Bondone, 1266/7 – 1337
Joachim meets Anna at the Golden Gate, 1303-06, Cappella degli Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua

Giotto once said… “Take pleasure in your dreams; relish your principles and drape your purest feelings on the heart of a precious lover.” Teaching with Giotto di Bondone is a set of student activities and worksheets inspired by the great Italian artist I so much admire. I visited the Arena Chapel, the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi and sites in Florence where Giotto left his mark, several times so far, and my hope is that I will be fortunate to visit them again. Every time I came face to face with his work I felt I saw, like Matisse said, “the summit of my desires…”     http://www.giotto-di-bondone.com/quotes/     and     https://www.theartstory.org/artist/giotto/life-and-legacy/

Giotto di Bondone, 1266/7 – 1337
Lamentation Scene Angels (detail), 1303-06, Cappella degli Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua

When the time comes for me to introduce my students to Giotto’s oeuvre I start with Quotes on Giotto di Bondone by famous artists and writers.

Dante Alighieri, in his Divine Comedy (Canto XI, lines 91–95), compares teacher to student, Cimabue to Giotto and writes… “O empty glorying in human power!  /  How short a day the crown remains in leaf,  /  If it’s not followed by a duller age!  /  In painting it was Cimabue’s belief  /  He held the field; now Giotto’s got the cry  /  And Cimabue’s fame is dim…”     https://blogs.getty.edu/iris/everyones-talking-about-giotto/

Boccaccio, for example, placed Giotto on the same level as Apelles, the most famous of the Greek painters and described him as “one of the lights of Florentine glory.” Most important of all, Boccaccio wrote that Giotto “[…] had a genius of such excellence, that nothing gives nature, mother of all things and operator with the continuous turning of the skies, that he, with style and with pen or brush, did not paint so similar to that, which is not similar, indeed more quickly it seemed, so much so that many times in the things he did it is found that the visual sense of men took error in it, believing it to be true that it was painted. […] ”     http://www.rose.uzh.ch/static/decameron/seminario/VI_05/intratestgiotto.htm

Cennino d’Andrea Cennini (c. 1360-1427) author of Il libro dell’arte, a treatise on artistic production of the late Medieval and early Renaissance period, writes that Giotto “translated the art of painting from Greek to Latin.”     https://blogs.getty.edu/iris/everyones-talking-about-giotto/

Finally, I present my students with a 1952 quote by no other than Pablo Picasso  “But when I am alone, I do not have the effrontery to consider myself an artist at all, not in the grand old meaning of the word: Giotto, Titian, Rembrandt, Goya were great painters. I am only a public clown-a mountebank. I have understood my time and have exploited the imbecility, the vanity, the greed of my contemporaries. It is a bitter confession, this confession of mine, more painful than it may seem. But at least and at last it does have the merit of being honest.”     http://babailov.homestead.com/PicassoConf.html

Teaching with Giotto di Bondone Activities…

For a list of “Internet” Lesson Plans, References and Student Activities “teachercurator” put together, please… Click HERE!

For my PowerPoint on Giotto di Bondone, please… Click HERE!

For the 3 Madonnas RWAP (Research-Writing-Art-Project) and PowerPoint, please… Click HERE! and HERE!

Student (Alexandra Diamantopoulou Grade 9, 2020) RWAP on the the 3 Madonnas

For Giotto’s Angels RWAP (Research-Writing-Art-Project) and a PowerPoint with student work, please… Click HERE! and HERE!

For a Word Search Activity, please… Click HERE!

For a WAC (Write Across the Ciciculum) Activity, titled “Giotto’s Musicians through Cinquain Poetry”, please… Click HERE!

I hope, Teaching with Giotto di Bondone will prove easy and helpful. Do you think it justifies my BLOG name as teachercurator?

Giotto di Bondone, 1266/7 – 1337
Baroncelli Polyptych Musicians (detail), c. 1334, tempera on wood, 185 x 323 cm, Baroncelli Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence

Daughters of Eleutherna

Lady of Auxerre, c. 640-630 BC, from Crete, limestone statuette, H. 0.63 m, the Louvre, Paris
Daughter of Eleutherna, 7th century BC, limestone statuette, the surviving height of 60 cm, so a total of about one meter, Museum of Ancient Eleutherna
 https://www.akg-images.com/archive/Dame-d%E2%80%99Auxerre-2UMDHUH75U8W.html
http://en.mae.com.gr/exhibits.html
https://burgondiart.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/la-mysterieuse-dame-dauxerre-est-elle-vraiment-bourguignonne/

The two statues Professor Nicholas Chr. Stampolidis, so affectionately calls Daughters of Eleutherna, hold me in fascination… “Crete was obviously the most important centre and it is the place where most of the stone sculptures of the Daedalic style originate. In contrast to the works that were directly influenced by oriental standards, the Daedalic sculptures depict mostly feminine forms. They are characterized by a complete frontality, and are represented with the hands placed on the thighs, with the hair combed into horizontal layers that were considered to be wigs -the known layered wig-like hair- usually with their head quite broadened and with clothes without folds. These elements can be seen in the known “Auxerre Kore”, who wears the characteristic large belt and her clothes are decorated with engravings and painted with a geometric pattern…” and, I would like to add, the badly damaged lower part of another Daedalic Kore at the Museum of Ancient Eleutherna. Foundation of the Hellenic World –  http://www.fhw.gr/chronos/04/en/culture/321arts_sculp_daedalic.html

The Daughters of Eleutherna were exhibited side by side at the Museum of Cycladic Art during the ELEUTHERNA Exhibition. The two statues can be barely seen at the right side of the Museum Photograph.

Back on December 1, 2004, until September 1, 2005, the Daughters of Eleutherna were exhibited side by side in a Museum of Cycladic Art Exhibition, titled, ELEUTHERNA, whose purpose was to bring together “…the results of systematic excavations conducted by the University of Crete at the site of ancient Eleutherna over the past 20 years… (and) to demonstrate the continuity of human presence and habitation in a city from the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium BC) to the Middle Ages (12th-13th c. AD), that is, a period of some 4500 years.” This exhibition marked the beginning of a new Lesson Plan for ancient Greek Archaic Art!     https://cycladic.gr/en/page/eleutherna

The Daughters of Eleutherna were exhibited side by side at the Museum of Cycladic Art during the ELEUTHERNA Exhibition.

This Lesson Plan uses the Inquiry-based teaching method known as Visual Thinking Strategy introduced by Abigail Housen and Philip Yenawine which “uses art to teach visual literacy, thinking, and communication skills—listening and expressing oneself. Growth is stimulated by: looking at artworks of increasing complexity, answering developmentally based questions, and participating in peer-group discussions carefully facilitated by teachers.” Philip Yenawine, Visual Thinking Strategies: Using Art to Deepen Learning Across School Disciplines, 2013     https://www.amazon.com/Visual-Thinking-Strategies-Learning-Disciplines-ebook/dp/B00XO20380

8 Steps to a Lesson Plan Success

Prepare by  Reading… https://www.ancient-origins.net/artifacts-other-artifacts/lady-of-auxerre-0010215 and https://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/statue-woman-known-lady-auxerre and https://www.tovima.gr/2008/11/24/culture/h-epistrofi-mias-kyrias/ and http://en.mae.com.gr/museum.html

Introduction Essential Questions: How do we communicate thoughts and feelings in the visual arts? – How do the arts of each period reflect the values of the culture? and Goals: Help students understand the importance of Daedalic Art in the development of Ancient Greek Sculpture – Assist students to connect the past with the present

Visual Learning PP: Show students what PP “teachercurator” has prepared, please… Click HERE!

Be Inquisitive 1: Ask Visual Learning Strategy Questions… and conduct a constructive conversation

Visual Learning Video: Show students the following Video titled “HALL B: THE LADY OF AUXERRE” directed by Andonis Theocharis Kioukas for the Museum of Ancient Eleutherna http://en.mae.com.gr/films.html

Be Inquisitive 2: Ask Questions… on the information provided by the Video on the Lady of Auxerre

Enduring Understanding: Daedalic Sculpture was the 1st step in the development of Ancient Greek Sculpture.

Assessment Activity: For an RWAP Activity, please… check HERE!     (RWAP stands for Research-Writing-Art-Project)

Daughter of Eleutherna, as exhibited in the Museum of Ancient Eleutherna

Unidentified Church in Constantinople known today as Vefa Kilise Camii

Unidentified Byzantine Church in Constantinople of the Komnenia Dynasty (11th or 12th century) with an exonarthex of the Palaiologan period (13th century)
Vefa Kilise Camii of Istanbul since the 15th century

“A former Byzantine church, now known by its Turkish name Vefa kilise camii, stands on Tirendaz Caddesi on the neighborhood of Vefa on modern Istanbul, only a few hundred metres away from the aqueduct of Valens. In the Byzantine period this area was located between the 7th and 10th regions of Constantinople. Several proposals have been put forward the dedication and identification of this church. In the 16th century, Pierre Gilles was the first to suggest that it was a church dedicated to St. Theodore. Other identifications have included a church of the Theotokos, the church of St Procopius τηςΧελώνης, and the monastery of Gorgoepekoos. Vefa kilise camii is one of the least documented monuments of the Ottoman period, and so it is not exactly clear when it lost its function as a Christian church. This event must have occurred before 1494, when it was recorded as having a medrese with fifty students… Excavations at Vefa kilise camii and a partial cleaning of the mosaics were carried in 1937 by Hidayet Fuat Tagay and Miltiadis Nomidis, but their work was published only in 1990 by Cyril Mango.” Writes Haluk Çetinkaya… an informative introduction for my new POST on the Unidentified Church in Constantinople known today as Vefa Kilise Camii.     https://www.persee.fr/doc/rebyz_0766-5598_2009_num_67_1_4834     As promised, my goal is to present short POSTs on all Byzantine Churches of Constantinople. This is my second attempt with lots of unanswered questions!

The first question to address is its Byzantine identification… “Frequently visited and recorded by 19th-century scholars and travellers, the building is sometimes identified as the church of St. Theodore (Ἄγιος Θεοδόρος ἑν τὰ Καρβουνάρια), based on the 16th-century account of Pierre Gilles, who noted a church of that dedication somewhere in this area.” The French natural scientist, topographer and translator, Pierre Gilles “In his four books on the topography of Constantinople, …describes initially the geographical location, the natural environment, the water supply and the climate of the region. He then reviews the city’s mythological and historical past, and subsequently, for each one of the seven hills of the city, describes the monuments, walls, gates and towers. He comes back to the most ancient monuments on every hill and ends with the description of Galata and the Ottoman monuments.”     http://rhegium.tripod.com/vefa.html     and     https://eng.travelogues.gr/collection.php?view=153

Identified or not, Vefa Kilise Camii is a Komnenian cross-in-square domed church of moderate size (each side is nine meters long), with an inner narthex and a three-domed exonarthex to the west. Beautifully built in a method described as “recessed brick technique”, the masonry of the building consists of alternate courses of brick and stone. The hidden brick row behind extraordinary thick bedding mortar is the characteristic of this building technique and a dating factor for the church as this construction method was popular from the second half of the 11th century to the end of the 12th century.     https://www.qantara-med.org/public/show_document.php?do_id=838&lang=en     and     https://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/fineart/html/Byzantine/index.htm?https&&&www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/fineart/html/Byzantine/home.htm

In 1937 under the direction of M.I. Nomides and the Ministry of Mosques, mosaics decorating the domes in the exonarthex were revealed, depicting, in the southern dome, the Virgin Theotokos surrounded by prophets and two imperial officers with prophets. Unfortunately, as of 2007, they have disappeared almost completely. Another note to add: Vefa Kilise Camii is one of the least studied Byzantine monuments of present-day Istanbul with the interior of the church proper, never been de-plastered and explored for remnants of its original history and decoration.    https://www.triposo.com/poi/W__110311532     and     http://rhegium.tripod.com/vefa.html     and     https://tarihivefa.blogspot.com/2019/02/vefa-molla-semsettin-gurani-kilise-cami_18.html

For a PowerPoint on the Unidentified Church in Constantinople known today as Vefa Kilise Camii, please… Check HERE!

The Month of October

The Month of October, latest 1407, possibly by Maestro Venceslao, Fresco, Torre Aquila, Castello del Buonconsiglio in Trento, Italy

I’m not sure everyone has understood, October,  /  your great beauty:  /  in those fat vats, as large as a full stomach,  /  you brew must and inebriation, you brew must and inebriation.  /  On my mountains, like mournful birds,  /  mad clouds flee,  /  on my copper-tinged mountains  /  low clouds raise like smoke, low clouds raise like smoke.          –         Oh days, oh months that run away endlessly, /  my life is always similar to you,  /  different every year, yet the same every year,  /  a hand of tarot cards one never learns to play,  /  one never learns to play… writes for The Month of October Francesco Guccini in his Canzone dei dodici mesi.   https://lyricstranslate.com/el/canzone-dei-dodici-mesi-song-twelve-months.html

The Month of October fresco comes from Torre Aquila in the Castello del Buonconsiglio in Trento, Italy. It is part of an amazing fresco Cycle of the Twelve Months painted on the walls of the tower’s 2nd-floor main room and presents autumn at its best. This exceptional room, 6 x 5,8 x 3 m in size, was commissioned by Prince-Bishop George of Liechtenstein, as a quiet, atmospheric retreat, away from the rest of the Castello’s busy and noisy state quarters. Master Wenceslas, a Bohemian painter active in Trento since 1397, creates a rich October scene, full of natural beauty and pastoral activities. There is no doubt that Prince-Bishop George of Liechtenstein, looking at the October scene, was tasting his top-quality Trentino wine as well!

Torre Aquila in Castello del Buonconsiglio in Trento, Italy and the Month of October fresco to the right of the picture…

October is a busy month for farmers in Trento and Master Wenceslas is documenting it in the best possible way. The scene is rich, dense and joyful… inspired by real-life but immensely beautified. The commissioner of this fresco, Prince-Bishop George of Liechtenstein wants to present the idea that his territories flourish under his good governance and prudent guidance. The painter, Master Wenceslas, understood this very well, and created an autumn scene of dazzling green colours, verve and dynamism!

The Month of October Torre Aquila scene is dedicated to wine making, from the very beginning of the process, picking up the grapes, to pressing, grape must preparation and tasting…

The sun is bright and shining over the Trentino valleys, and well-tended rows of vines cover the painted scene, touching the colourful mountains at the very top. Trentino was at the time a famous wine-producing territory, and Master Wenceslas presents extensive vineyards, their branches heavy with grapes, ready to be harvested. Everyone must work hard… everywhere you look, there is a zeal for activity.

The first thing you notice are the Trentino peasants, men and women, all dressed in white robes assigned to different harvesting tasks. Some of them pick up clusters of white or red grapes while others carry them on their shoulders in large baskets. On the left side of the composition, a screw-press is in action. What a luxury! Only gentlemen of great wealth could afford such an item, let alone a screw-press large enough to require at least two people to operate it. Master Wenceslas was apparently quite familiar with pastoral activities like that because he renders the process with fine precision! We can only assume that as a European travelling artist, Master Wenceslas had acquired first-hand experiences and visions of such joyful harvest events… where… aristocrats and farmers can, for once, forget the worries of everyday life, and “work” together enjoying the small pleasures of life. 

For a Student Activity, please… Check HERE!

Émile Gallé

Victor Prouvé, 1858-1943
Portrait of Emile Gallé, 1892, oil on canvas, Musée de l’Ecole de Nancy

“Our roots are in the depths of the woods-on the banks of streams and among the mosses.” How do you like this phrase as a “Motto” on your studio door? Émile Gallé loved it,  and used it! https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/%C3%89mile_Gall%C3%A9

One of my fondest memories as a child was to “play” with a small Émile Gallé vase. I would take it up in my hands, study the details of the depicted flowers, gaze at it across the sunlight, count the different colours… try to understand how it was made, ask countless questions! My mother was horrified with my Gallé “games”, as at a younger age, I broke a similar vase and she did not want a repetition of my mischief. I was, however, very resourceful and time with my “vase” became my favourite pastime… one day I even hid it in my cupboard so that it will be all mine! This is how my fascination and love started for… GLASS… a humble material like silica, a constituent of sand and fire!

The French designer Émile Gallé, a protagonist of the Art Nouveau movement, was the greatest of Glass aficionados. “His naturalistic designs incorporated with innovative techniques, make him one of the pioneering glassmakers of the late 19th, early 20th centuries. Taking his inspiration from nature and plants along with a heavy Japanese feel it is no wonder the French have been known to describe his work as “poetry in glass” and across the globe, collectors are willing to pay premium prices just to own an example of this talented iconic designers masterpieces.”     http://www.artdecoceramicglasslight.com/makers/galle/gall-emile—biography

Born on the 4th of March 1846, in the city of Nancy, Émile Gallé, was the son of a successful merchant and manufacturer of glassware and ceramics, Charles Gallé, who had settled in Nancy in 1844 where his father-in-law owned a factory which manufactured mirrors. He grew up and studied in Nancy botany, philosophy and art. “The young Gallé studied philosophy and natural science at the Lycée Imperial in Nancy. At the age of sixteen, he went to work for the family business as an assistant to his father, making floral designs and emblems for both faience and glass. In his spare time, he became an accomplished botanist, studying with D.A. Gordon, the director of Nancy’s Botanical Gardens and author of the leading textbooks on French flora.”     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89mile_Gall%C3%A9

Gallé was an avid traveller who visited museums and influential glass designers, improving his glass-making techniques. In London,  at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Oriental Glass Collection, he focused his interest on the art of Glass Enameling and fascinated by Designer Eugene Rousseau, he experimented with the Glass Cameo Techniques. He trained as a glassmaker at Meisenthal before joining his father at the family factory in 1867 where he was given a chance to experiment with his newfound knowledge. When he 1877, Émile Gallé replaced his father as director of the factory… his career as an artist truly took off.

For a PowerPoint on Émile Gallé, please… Check HERE!

“The aim of my work: The study of nature, the love of nature’s art, and the need to express what one feels in one’s heart.” Ecrits pour l’art, ed. Henrietta Galle Paris 1908/Marseille (1980)…     https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/%C3%89mile_Gall%C3%A9

The Monastery of Pantokrator in Constantinople and the Pala d’Oro in Venice

The Pala d’Oro (the altar retable of San Marco in Venice) is an altarpiece with about 250 Cloisonné enamels of different sizes and epochs (10th – 12th century) on sheet gold. It was commissioned in Byzantium by the Venetians. The Archangel Michael is believed to have come from the Monastery of Pantokrator in Constantinople.

“Pala d’Oro (Italian, “Golden Pall” or “Golden Cloth”) is the high altar retable of the Basilica di San Marco in Venice. It is universally recognized as one of the most refined and accomplished works of Byzantine enamel, with both front and rear sides decorated.” Have you ever wondered what the connection might be between The Monastery of Pantokrator in Constantinople and the Pala d’Oro in Venice?     https://www.projectexpedition.com/tour-activity/venice/vip-alone-in-st-marks-basilica-after-hours/36173/

The Monastery of Pantokrator, I wrote a few days earlier, consists of three churches: the South Church, the North Church, and the Middle Church or the “Heroon.” The South Church dedicated to Christ the Pantocrator is the oldest and the largest of the three…     https://www.teachercurator.com/art/the-monastery-of-pantokrator-in-constantinople/

The Monastery of Pantokrator of Constantinople, 12th century
Imperial Church of the Komnenian Dynasty
Şeyh Süleyman Mescidi of Istanbul

The amazing Monastic Complex of Pantokrator, however, built by Emperor John II Komnenos, served a dual purpose… to honour the wishes of Empress Piroska-Eirene, tending to the needs of the “poor, sick, and suffering souls…” and be used as a mausoleum for the Komnenos Imperial family.

The Monastery of Pantokrator of Constantinople, 12th century, Les Eglises de Constantinople by Jean Ebersolt, Adolphe Thiers, 1910

As you look at the elegant domes crowning all three Pantokrator Churches, your eyes slowly tumble down to embrace the graceful arches… allow your imagination free to envision the splendour that once graced their interiors, and ponder over the lives of all Byzantine Royals entombed under their stylish vaults.

The North Church, dedicated to Mary Eleousa was built after the death of Empress Piroska-Eirene, between 1124-1136, by Emperor John II Komnenos. The Church, built within the Monastic complex of Pantocrator, was dedicated to services offered by lay clergy but open to a wider congregation and attended by laymen. Smaller in size compared to the South Church, it follows a similar architectural style to the South Church and according to scholars, it was equally resplendent in its interior decoration.     https://www.thebyzantinelegacy.com/pantokrator-monastery

The smaller Middle Church, the last to be built, bridged and opened to the two original, free-standing, side Churches. Dedicated to Archangel Michael, affectionately called the Heroon, the Middle Church was the smallest of the three Pantokrator Churches and served as an Imperial Mausoleum. The architectural style and use of the Heroon, capped by two elliptical domes, was probably inspired by the roughly contemporary, Crusader Martyrium of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem as the arrangement of the Imperial Burials in its interior further testifies. “While several Arcosolia are still evident in the western bay, the identities of their occupants remain unresolved. The only exception is that of Emperor Manuel I (1118-1180), whose black marble sarcophagus was located in the passageway from the South Church to the (middle) Chapel. It is likely that its two domes had two separate functions, the one in the east serving as the liturgical area, and the western one, where the tombs were located, functioning as a funerary space.”     https://www.thebyzantinelegacy.com/pantokrator-monastery     and     http://constantinople.ehw.gr/Forms/fLemmaBodyExtended.aspx?lemmaID=11770

The Emperors and Empresses buried in the Heroon spared no funds in embellishing the Pantokrator Churches with amazing examples of monumental Art as well as items of luxurious Minor Arts. Visitors to the Monastery of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ the Pantokrator describe it as impressive in importance, resplendent in its decoration and dazzling in luxury! Unfortunately, “…under Latin rule of the city (1204-1261), the region in which the monastery stood belonged to the Venetians, who transported many of the holy utensils, relics and icons of the monastery to Venice.”  It is most probable “that some of the panels of the Pala D’Oro in San Marco originally came from the Pantokrator Monastery. While it was originally ordered from Constantinople by the doge Ordelaffo Falier in 1102, it was reworked following the Fourth Crusade’s sacked Constantinople in 1204.” http://constantinople.ehw.gr/Forms/fLemmaBodyExtended.aspx?lemmaID=11770

Fragments of the original Mosaic decoration of the Middle Church at the Monastery of Pantocrator in Constantinople.

The Treasury of San Marco, Venice, Basilica di San Marco, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1984) is informative and Free to Download ONLINE companion Catalogue of the synonymous Exhibition that took place in New York in 1985. Sergio Bettini’s article Venice, the Pala D’Oro, and Constantinople is “illuminating” to say the least, on how the Palla D’Oro is connected to the Monastery of Pantokrator. (Please read pp. 33-64)     https://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpublications/the_treasury_of_san_marco_venice

After Hagia Sofia, present-day Şeyh Süleyman Mescidi or popularly called Zeyrek Camii, is the second-largest religious structure from the Byzantine Empire to survive in Istanbul.

For a Student Activity, please… Check HERE!

Exterior View of the Monastery of Pantokrator in Constantinople (The South Church to the right, the Middle Church to the left)

1st Day Back to School

School Lesson, Attic red-figure Kylix from Cerveteri by the painter Duris, around 480 BC, 11.5×28.5 cm, . Altes Museum, Pergamonmuseum

Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.” Said young Malala Yousafzai and I couldn’t agree more! Today, September 14, 2020, is the 1st Day Back to School for all students in Greece and I want to celebrate it with a new Lesson Plan. https://www.shutterfly.com/ideas/school-quotes/

Have you ever thought about how the 1st Day Back to School was during ancient Greek time? We can only guess by examining an amazing ancient Greek Kylix in the Altes Museum, in Berlin by the Duris Painter. Using it as an example, I will introduce my students to school reality in Greece – 2.500 years ago!   

“Every student has a teacher, every teacher teaches a different discipline; the picture unites what actually took place in different rooms. One side of the shell begins on the left with lessons in the lyre game, teacher and student play in unison. A particularly worthy teacher follows in a comfortable armchair; for the viewer of the picture he has opened the scroll with the beginning of the heroic song, which the pupil standing there in a cloak has to recite by heart. On the right a strange spectator, half belonging, half excluded. He sits there with his legs crossed in a casual, ignoble style: we have to see him as the pedagogue (‘boys’ leader’), the servant who accompanies the distinguished boy to school and back home. – On the opposite side, on the left, a young teacher is playing the melody with the double flute, to which the schoolboy sings. The fourth teacher corrects a work of his pupil on the blackboard. The scene ends again with a pedagogue.”     http://www.smb-digital.de/eMuseumPlus?service=direct/1/ResultLightboxView/result.t1.collection_lightbox.$TspTitleImageLink.link&sp=10&sp=Scollection&sp=SfilterDefinition&sp=0&sp=2&sp=1&sp=Slightbox_3x4&sp=12&sp=Sdetail&sp=0&sp=F&sp=T&sp=15   

1st Day back to School Lesson Plan

Essential Question: Compared to antiquity, how similar or how different is Education and subsequently, School Classrooms, today?

Goals: Help students understand the importance of Education in the development of Mankind – Assist students to connect the past with the present – Help students learn about Education through works of art

Enduring Understanding: Education is the process of helping students acquire knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits.

8 Steps to Success

Introduction to the Lesson -Essential Question: Compared to antiquity, how similar or how different is Education, and subsequently School Classrooms, today?

Visual Learning – Part 1, “My Classroom … then”: Show students what PP “teachercurator” has prepared, please… Click HERE!

Be Inquisitive – Questions and Answers: Discuss each picture and then ask students the questions “teachercurator” prepared for you … Q&A click HERE!

Goals: To help students understand the importance of education – Assisting students to connect the past with the present- To help students learn about education from works of art.

Visual Learning – Part 2, “Classrooms … now”: Show students the “33 Eye-Opening Pictures Of Classrooms Around The World” so you can discuss it.     https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/gabrielsanchez/this-is-what-going-to-school-looks-like-around-the-world

Be Inquisitive: Guide students to Comparisons between the past and the present. Compare pictures to their own classroom. Furthermore, discuss with students what they like/dislike in each picture and what they would like to have in their own classroom. Be creative!!!

Enduring Understanding: Education is the process of helping students acquire knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits.

Assessment Activity: For a “Writing across the Curriculum” Activity, please… check HERE!

OR… Music was a very important component of Ancient Greek Education and students were expected to learn how to play musical instruments. Inspired by the 2nd and 3rd Slides, have students do the Getty Museum “Classy Cardboard Lyre” Art Activity because it is easy, exciting, creative, fun, and educational! https://www.getty.edu/education/teachers/classroom_resources/tips_tools/downloads/aa_cardboard_lyre.pdf

Rosa Bonheur

Rosa Bonheur, 1822 – 1899
The Horse Fair, 1835–-55, oil on canvas, 244.5 cm × 506.7 cm, the MET, NY

“Ah! If nations could only agree to employ their resources to perfect agriculture and improve transportation, and to bring all their girl children a good education, what an explosion of happiness there would be on earth!” Rosa Bonheur said and I couldn’t agree more… She was a formidable lady and I like her!     https://www.quotetab.com/quote/by-rosa-bonheur/ah-if-nations-could-only-agree-to-employ-their-resources-to-perfect-agriculture

Anna Klumpke, 1856–1942
Rosa Bonheur, 1898, oil on canvas, 117.2 x 98.1 cm, the MET, NY

Rosa Bonheur was a lucky, talented lady! Her progressive painter father, Oscar-Raymond Bonheur, trained her to become a commercially successful painter and a spirited woman of staunch belief in women’s equality. “To my father’s doctrines, I owe my great and glorious ambition for the sex to which I proudly belong and whose independence I will defend until my dying day.” She was the oldest of four children, two girls and two boys, born to a pianist mother, who patiently and ingeniously taught her reluctant daughter how to read and write. Sophie Bonheur, Rosa’s mother noticed how reluctant her spirited daughter was to do her homework and how enthusiastic she was to draw. As the artist recalled ‘…One day she had a bright idea…She told me to draw an ass opposite the A and a cow opposite the C and so on…’ Rosa not only learnt how to read and write but, but inspired by her mother’s teaching method, she developed a lasting love and deep understanding of animals.   https://www.theartstory.org/artist/bonheur-rosa/life-and-legacy/

Rosa’s formal education started at a boarding school run by Mme. Gilbert, but “…The Gilberts refused to harbour… such a noisy creature as I and sent me back home in disgrace…my tomboy manners had an unfortunate influence on my companions, who soon grew turbulent… ” Her father decided to take charge. She was 13 years old when Rosa started working at her father’s Studio first training to do pencil drawings of plaster casts and engravings, later still life paintings working from nature, landscapes, animals, and birds. Finally, she was sent to study painting and sculpture at the Louvre, the youngest of all students as she was only 14 years old.

Rosa Bonheur, 1822 – 1899
Ploughing in Nevers, 1849, oil on canvas, 1,340×2,600 mm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

In 1841 Bonheur exhibited at the Paris Salon for the first time. By 1843 she was successful and selling her paintings regularly so much so that she was able to travel the country for inspiration and more paintings of French landscapes and animal studies. At the 1848 Salon Rosa Bonheur was awarded a gold medal, and the French government commissioned her to paint Ploughing in Nevers, exhibited at the 1849 Salon, to honour the age-old tradition of field ploughing by animal power.     https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/becoming-modern/avant-garde-france/realism/v/rosa-bonheur-plowing-in-the-nivernais-1849     and     https://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/works-in-focus/painting/commentaire_id/ploughing-in-nevers-2040.html?tx_commentaire_pi1%5BpidLi%5D=509&tx_commentaire_pi1%5Bfrom%5D=841&cHash=60f905d6af

Rosa Bonheur, 1822 – 1899
The Horse Fair, 1855, reduced version, 120 cm × 254.6 cm, National Gallery, London

Bonheur’s most famous painting was accomplished in 1855. Titled The Horse Fair, it is monumental in size and shows the famous horse market in Paris, on the tree-lined Boulevard de l’Hôpital, near the asylum of Salpêtrière, where Rosa Bonheur, dressed as a man by special police permission, sketched, preparing the painting, twice a week, from the summer of 1850 to the end of 1851. Rosalia Shriver writes that “When (the painting) was finally finished and exhibited at the Salon of 1853, its creator was only 31 years old. Yet no other woman had ever achieved a work of such force and brilliance, and no other animal painter had produced a work of such size.” Bonheur herself said that when she paints horses her “…dream is to show the fire which comes out of the horses’ nostrils; the dust which rises from their hooves. I want this to be an infernal waltz.” https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/435702      and     Rosalia Shriver, Rosa Bonheur: With a Checklist of Works in American Collections, Art Alliance Press, Philadelphia 1982

Rosa Bonheur, 1822 – 1899
The Horse Fair, ca. 1852, oil on canvas, 26.67 x 63.5 cm, Albright-Knox Art Gallery

The original version of the The Horse Fair is part of the collection, and proudly exhibited, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York along with two small studies of the painting on paper. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery has also a small oil on canvas study. Finally, a reduced version of the painting, dating in 1855, is exhibited in the London National Gallery of the United Kingdom, where Bonheur was highly successful , more so than in France. Interestingly, Bonheur’s fame and popularity in Britain led to a meeting with the Queen of England who, along with many of her countrymen appreciated Bonheur’s sentimental approach to landscape and rendering of animals.     https://mymodernmet.com/rosa-bonheur-facts/

Rosa Bonheur, 1822 – 1899
The Horse Fair, 1840–99, black chalk and graphite, 18.4 x 41.1 cm, the MET, NY
The Horse Fair, 19th century, black chalk, grey wash, heightened with white, 13.7 x 33.7 cm, the MET, NY

For a RWAP (RWAP stands for Research-Writing-Art-Project) student Activity, please… check HERE!

“Art is a tyrant. It demands heart, brain, soul, body. The entireness of the votary. Nothing less will win its highest favor. I wed art. It is my husband, my world, my life dream, the air I breathe. I know nothing else, feel nothing else, think nothing else.”     https://www.quotetab.com/quotes/by-rosa-bonheur

The Monastery of Pantokrator in Constantinople

The Monastery of Pantokrator of Constantinople, 12th century
Imperial Church of the Komnenian Dynasty
Şeyh Süleyman Mescidi of Istanbul

“The most important imperial foundation from the Komnene age is the Monastery of Pantokrator, which continues to this day to impress both the scholar and the casual visitor. It is as clear to those who visit its three churches, which despite repeated devastation still inspire admiration for the perfection of their construction and the elegance of their decoration, as to those who read its Typicon that John II Komnenos and his empress Eirene spared no cost to erect a splendid monastery complex, which absorbed a number of smaller foundations, mainly in the environs of Constantinople, and to make generous provision for its upkeep and operation…” writes Sofia Kotzabassi in her preface for the 2013 Volume on The Pantokrator Monastery in Constantinople. I couldn’t agree more! https://www.academia.edu/32217856/The_Icon_of_the_Three_Holy_Hierarchs_at_the_Pantokrator_Monastery_and_the_Epigrams_of_Theodore_Prodromos_on_Them

Overlooking the Golden Horn, built on the slopes of the 4th Hill of Constantinople and in the company of such great buildings like the Church of the Holy Apostles and the Aqueduct of Valens, the monastic complex of Pantokrator with its churches, library and hospital, stood formidable and impressive. What an amazing structure… Founded by the Byzantine Emperor Ioannes II Komnenos (1118-1143) and his Hungarian princess-wife Eirene, and built between 1118 and 1137, the Pantokrator Monastery served in various ways the Orthodox Byzantines, the Catholic Venetians during the Latin rule of Constantinople, and since 1491?, converted into a Mosque, it still serves the Moslem Turks, known today as Şeyh Süleyman Mescidi.

The Typikon of the Monastery of Pantokrator (Christ the Almighty), a key document that still survives, helps us understand the importance of the monastic complex, its role in the city’s milieu, and the rites followed by its residents. Reading it, we learned that the Monastery “housed 80 monks, of whom 50 were choir brothers. The monastic complex included a 50-bed hospital with a medical school and a gerokomeion (old-age home) for 24 elderly men.” In addition, the Monastery served a leprosarium constructed at some distance from the main complex. The Monastery of Pantokrator consists of three churches: the South Church, the North Church, and the Middle Church or the “Heroon.” The South Church dedicated to Christ the Pantocrator is the oldest and the largest of the three. This POST will focus on the Pantokrator Church, its architecture and amazing decoration. A second POST, coming up soon, will discuss the “Heroon” and its connection to the Venetian Pala d’Oro.     https://www.thebyzantinelegacy.com/pantokrator-monastery

A characteristic example of late-12th century architecture, the South Church dedicated to Christ the Pantokrator served as the Katholikon (main church) of the monastic complex. It is the largest cross-in-square church in Constantinople, with a central dome originally supported by four columns of red marble, probably spolia (replaced with piers by the Ottomans), a tripartite bema (triple apse), and a narthex. “The dome is supported by a sixteen-sided drum, each side was pierced by a window.  The side aisles had galleries, from which only the southern survived. The narthex, which projects to either side, also had a gallery. It was covered with five groin-vaults, the middle one of which was later altered to a dome. At the same time, the exonarthex was added. The prothesis and the diakonikon are simple square rooms, each with a projecting apse.”     http://constantinople.ehw.gr/Forms/fLemmaBodyExtended.aspx?lemmaID=11770

The Church was beautifully decorated… sparing no expense. What remains is just a glimpse of its original splendor…

The Monastery of Pantokrator of Constantinople, 12th century
Opus Sectile Floor

Wall revetments of yellow, white, porphyry and verd antique marbles decorated the entire church. Stained glass windows, a medium we associate mostly with Western Medieval Art, covered the windows of the Church presenting geometric patterns and full figures. Was that enough of a decoration? NO! The emperors of the Komnenian dynasty and their spouses were such generous donors, the Church was filled with icons and artefacts in gold and enamels, manuscripts and embroidered silk vestments. As for the upper part of the church walls, they were covered with precious and shining mosaics. Finally, the brilliant Opus Sectile floor decoration which included scenes of hunting, bucolic interludes, mythological creatures, but also a disk with the zodiac cycle and aspects from the story of  Samson… Can you imagine its beauty, eight hundred years ago…

Interesting to Read: Notes on Recent Work of the Byzantine Institute in Istanbul by Arthur H. S. Megaw, from Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Vol. 17 (1963), pp. 333-371 Published by: Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University.

For a Student Activity, please… check HERE!

The Month of September

The Month of September, latest 1407, possibly by Maestro Venceslao, Fresco, Torre Aquila, Castello del Buonconsiglio in Trento, Italy

And in September, O what keen delight!  /  Falcons and astors astors, merlins, sparrow-hawks;  /  Decoy-birds that shall lure your game in flocks;  /  And hounds with bells: and gauntlets stout and tight;  /  Wide pouches; crossbows shooting out of sight;  /  Arblasts and javelins; balls and ball-cases;  /  All birds the best to fly at; moulting these,  /  Those reared by hand ; with finches mean and slight;  /  And for their chase, all birds the best to fly; /  And each to each of you be lavish still  /  In gifts; and robbery find no gainsaying;  /  And if you meet with travellers going by,  /  Their purses from your purse’s flow shall fill;  /  And Avarice be the only outcast thing. The Month of September is a Sonnet by Folgore Da San Geminiano (c. 1250-1317), is translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in his book “Dante and His Circle,” (Roberts Brothers, Boston, 1893).    http://www.sonnets.org/folgore.htm

There is no way for the visitor of the beautiful Italian town of Trento to miss Castello del Buonconsiglio, this imposing, impressive and unique example of secular architecture! It is equally impossible for the Trento visitor not to explore the Castello, where, since the 13th century, the prince bishops of Trento resided and embellished with two Palazzos, an Italianate Park, a Gothic-Venetian Loggia and massive Towers.

Castello del Buonconsiglio

In 1973 the Castello became an Italian regional Museum of Art, known as Castello del Buonconsiglio Museum. This is where the Trento visitor can admire numerous art collections, ranging from paintings and manuscripts to period furniture and local archaeological finds. La piece-de-resistance among the Museum’s treasures is the so-called “Ciclo dei Mesi” in Torre Aquila.     https://www.trentino.com/en/highlights/castles/castello-del-buonconsiglio/

“Ciclo dei Mesi” is a favourite theme in the arts of the Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance. Often linked to the signs of the Zodiac, the Cycle of the Months is often perceived as a link between the work of man, the seasons of the year and God’s ordering of the Universe. As a theme, it recurred in the sculptural decorations of cathedrals and churches across Europe, in illuminated manuscripts like the popular Book of Hours, palace frescoes and, rarely, panel paintings.

Trento’s September fresco panel in Torre Aquila is characteristic of Maestro Venceslao’s, the artist who painted the “Ciclo dei Mesi”, creative abilities. It is rich, colourful and informative. It tells us of how hard the Trentino farmers worked and how idle and pleasure-seeking its aristocrats were.

The upper half of September’s composition depicts the typical agricultural activities of the month: the preparation of the land and the harvest of seasonal products.  At the very top, a shepherd watches over his sheltered flock, while three farmers across a bridged river plough a well-tended piece of land. The two men are dressed in short light tunics and lead the plough, pulled by a pair of oxen and a horse. The woman, on the other hand, dressed in a white robe but with bare feet works with the hoe along the perfectly traced lines of the furrows. The middle composition presents another peasant woman busy in collecting turnips. The white turnip was very popular at the time. Peasants cultivated turnips in vegetable gardens or in open fields in abundance as, along with cabbages, turnips were the indispensable food for the long winters of northern European territories.

The Trentino aristocrats, however, in the lower half of the composition, are depicted still interested in their favourite entertainment: hunting with a hawk. The same red castle Maestro Venceslao painted in the August scene seems to be the residence of a group of three young aristocrats, galloping and ready to go hunting. A lady and two knights, surrounded by their dogs, are about to practice falconry with their well-trained hawks. They seem eager to join two more gentlemen, depicted higher up in the composition, who are already energetically hunting among the rocks and low bushes of the Trentino landscape. Who knows… they might of Folgore, the poet from San Gimignano, and his September poem on the pleasures of September hunting with birds of prey… 

A PowerPoint on Torre Aquila’s frescoes for the Months of August and September is… HERE!