Teaching with Domenico Ghirlandaio

Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1449-1494
An Old Man and his Grandson (detail), c. 1490, Tempera on wood, 62 x 46  cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris https://paintersonpaintings.com/clarity-haynes-on-domenico-ghirlandaio/

Domenico di Tommaso del Ghirlandajo, who, from his talent and from the greatness and the vast number of his works, may be called one of the most important and most excellent masters of his age, was made by nature to be a painter; and for this reason, in spite of the opposition of those who had charge of him (which often nips the finest fruits of our intellects in the bud by occupying them with work for which they are not suited, and by diverting them from that to which nature inclines them), he followed his natural instinct, secured very great honour for himself and profit for his art and for his kindred, and became the great delight of his age… This is how Giorgio Vasari describes Domenico Gh irlandaio, the artist who was …endowed by nature with a perfect spirit and with an admirable and judicious taste in painting! Teaching with Domenico Ghirlandaio is a set of student activities and worksheets inspired by the great Italian artist I admire. Domenico’ Portrait of An Old Man and his Grandson in the Louvre is one of my all-time favourite Renaissance paintings. It touches me in a very personal way. It reminds me of my father’s love and unconditional devotion to my son, his Grandson… Του παιδιού μου το παιδί, δυο φορές παιδί (My child’s child, is twice my child), he used to say and looked at him with unbelievable tenderness…     http://www.travelingintuscany.com/art/giorgiovasari/lives/domenicoghirlandaio.htm

Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1449-1494
Madonna and Child (detail), 1470-75, Tempera on panel, 71 x 49 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC https://www.nga.gov/features/exhibitions/verrocchio-discoveries.html

When the time comes for me to introduce my students to Domenico’s oeuvre I start with Giorgio Vasari description of how …He is said to have been so accurate in draughtsmanship, that, when making drawings of the antiquities of Rome, such as arches, baths, columns, colossea, obelisks, amphitheatres, and aqueducts, he would work with the eye alone, without rule, compasses, or measurements; and after he had made them, on being measured, they were found absolutely correct, as if he had used measurements. He drew the Colosseum by the eye, placing at the foot of it a figure standing upright, from the proportions of which the whole edifice could be measured; this was tried by some masters after his death, and found quite correct. I usually finish my presentation of Ghirlandaio with Vasari’s final sentence… Wherefore he has deserved to be held in honour and esteem for such rich and undying benefits to art, and to be celebrated with extraordinary praises after his death.     http://www.travelingintuscany.com/art/giorgiovasari/lives/domenicoghirlandaio.htm

Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1449-1494
Last Supper (detail), 1480, Fresco, 400 x 880 cm, Ognissanti, Florence https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Domenico_ghirlandaio,_cenacolo_di_ognissanti,_1480,_03_giardino_con_uccelli.jpg

Teaching with Domenico Ghirlandaio Lesson Plan, PowerPoint and Activities…

For a List of ONLINE References on Domenico Ghirlandaio TeacherCurator put together, please… Click HERE!

For my PowerPoint on Domenico Ghirlandaio, please… Click HERE!

I always feel confident discussing an artist with my students when I prepare my Steps to Success Lesson Plan Outline

7 Steps to Success Lesson Plan

For Student Activities (four Activities), please… Click HERE!

I hope that Teaching with Domenico Ghirlandaio will prove easy and helpful. Do you think it justifies my BLOG name Teacher Curator?

Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1449-1494
Birth of St John the Baptist (detail), 1486-90, Frescoes on the right wall: Stories of St John the Baptist, W. 450 cm, Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence https://www.wga.hu/support/viewer_m/z.html

The Labours of the Months: January

By an unknown Venetian artist…
The Labours of the Months: January, about 1580, oil on canvas, 13.6 x 10.6 cm, National Gallery, London
https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/italian-venetian-the-labours-of-the-months-january#painting-group-info

Twelve months in a row,  /  Use them well and let them go;  /  Welcome them without a fear,  /  Let them go without a tear—  /  Twelve months in a year;  /  Greet the passing miracle,  /  Spring and summer beautiful,  /  Autumn, winter, gliding on,  /  Glorious seasons quickly gone—  /  God’s treasures in a row,  /  Take them, love them, let them go! I like the simplicity of Annette Wynne verse in Twelve Months in a Row, it reminds me of the simple way the anonymous Venetian Artist of the 16th century depicted the twelve months of the year, in twelve small paintings, now… in the National Gallery, in London. The Labours of the Months: January will start a new journey, exploring and learning… month by month…     https://discoverpoetry.com/poems/month-poems/     and     https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/italian-venetian-the-labours-of-the-months-january

Depicting the Labours of the Months was a popular artistic theme that was frequently used in the decoration of Cathedrals and Churches, Castles and  Palaces, Psalters, Breviaries and Books of Hours across Europe during the Medieval and Early Renaissance period. Each month, depicting popular activities of peasants and/or the gentry throughout the year, were sometimes paired with the Signs of the Zodiac circle. They would be either simple and small in size or large and elaborate, crafted in stone, wood, stained glass, painted in murals or often enough, painted in parchment. Many great Monuments and Libraries in Europe display fine examples of such artefacts for art lovers to enjoy.     http://www.livingfield.co.uk/ages/labours-of-the-months/

The Labours of the Months had a role in highlighting authority and privilege, hard work and, occasionally, small, everyday pleasures. They are often perceived as a link between the work of man, the seasons of the year and God’s ordering of the Universe. The Trentino Fresco Panels at Torre Aquila, for example, present trained and obedient peasants busy with their seasonal activities, but dominated by the local aristocracy who seem to only care for their idler activities. (I presented the eleven surviving Torre Aquila frescoes in 2020. Please check https://www.teachercurator.com/?s=torre%20aquila&cat=plus-5-results)

For 2021, I want to present something different, unpretentious but rare. In London, at the National Gallery, there are 12 small pictures, “painted on canvas and then each glued to a wooden panel. It is possible that they were made to decorate the recessed panels of a pair of doors. The paintings seem to have been planned in pairs with the figures facing each other and are currently displayed in two frames in groups of six. They show the ‘labours of the months’ – the rural activities that take place each month throughout the year.” This set of painted Doors combines simplicity in execution and extravagance in visual effect! The paintings, very small in size, about 13.6 x 10.6 cm, were achieved in vivid, bright, luxurious colours, like “ultramarine blue for the sky, strong vermilion and red lake for the clothing, with rich greens and yellows in the landscape. The restricted and repeated use of colour gives the group of little pictures a charming, decorative simplicity. All but one of the scenes show a man working outdoors on what appears to be the estate of a large villa, seen in several of the paintings, at the foot of the distant blue mountains.”     https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/italian-venetian-the-labours-of-the-months-january#painting-group-info

By an unknown Venetian artist…
The Labours of the Months: January (detail), about 1580, oil on canvas, 13.6 x 10.6 cm, National Gallery, London
https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/italian-venetian-the-labours-of-the-months-january#painting-group-info

For the Month of January, we have a cosy indoor scene. “An old man sits indoors by the fire with his elbow propped on the fireplace or stove, and his forehead leaning on his hand. He pulls his jacket closer around himself and wears a yellow wrap or blanket against the cold. The interior of his room is bare and simple, and not in good repair – the plaster has fallen from the brick wall beneath the window.” The festivities of the holidays are over and now… young and old, privileged or not, need to recuperate, relax and rest…

Happy New Year… may 2021 be a BETTER, HEALTHIER and HAPPIER YEAR for ALL!!!

For a PowerPoint on The Labours of the Months at the National Gallery in London, please… Check HERE!

The Legendary Shield of Achilles

Philip Rundell (1746-1827) for Rundell, Bridge & RundellPhilip
Shield of Achilles, 1821-22, Silver-gilt, 90.5 x 90.5 x 18.0 cm (whole object), Royal Collection Trust     https://www.rct.uk/collection/51266/shield-of-achilles

First of all he forged a shield that was huge and heavy,  /  elaborating it about, and threw around it a shining  /  triple rim that glittered, and the shield strap was cast of silver.  /  There were five folds composing the shield itself, and upon it  /  he elaborated many things in his skill and craftsmanship.  /  (483) He made the earth upon it, and the sky, and the sea’s water,  /  and the tireless sun, and the moon waxing into her fullness,  /  and on it all the constellations that festoon the heavens,  /  the Pleiades and the Hyades and the strength of Orion  /  and the Bear, whom men give also the name of the Wagon,  /  who turns about in a fixed place and looks at Orion  /  and she alone is never plunged in the wash of the Ocean… ” When Homer describes The Legendary Shield of Achilles my eyes fill with images of a world long gone and my mind dreams of fabled stories… I wonder how Achille looked like carrying it and how brave Hector felt facing him…     http://www.u.arizona.edu/~afutrell/w%20civ%2002/iliad.html

The making of the Shield of Achilles brings the readers of the Iliad closer to its horrific end… When Hector killed Patroclus and stripped him of Achilles’s Armour, his fate was sealed! He committed Ύβρις and his punishment was imminent! In Homer’s 18th Ραψωδία, Thetis, Sea Goddess and mother of Achilles took immediate charge. She commissioned God Hephaestus to create a new Armour for Achilles, the lame God of Smithing got to work… and Homer created an amazing description of his world! Achilles’ shield was “a mirror of the world of gods and men, within the mighty Stream of Ocean and although Homer described its appearance in great detail, the precise relationship of the various elements was unclear…”     https://www.rct.uk/collection/themes/publications/carlton-house/the-shield-of-achilles

Philip Rundell (1746-1827) for Rundell, Bridge & RundellPhilip
Shield of Achilles (detail), 1821-22, Silver-gilt, 90.5 x 90.5 x 18.0 cm (whole object), Royal Collection Trust     https://www.rct.uk/collection/51266/shield-of-achilles

Lines 468 to 607 in the 18th Ραψωδία, give readers a vivid and detailed portrayal of the imagery which adorns the new Shield of Achilles. “Starting from the shield’s centre and moving outward, circle layer by circle layer, the shield is laid out as follows: (in the center) The Earth, sky and sea, the sun, the moon and the constellations (484–89).” The circle that immediately follows depicts two cities, one peaceful and festive, its people taking part in a wedding and a case of law administration (490–508), the other in trouble, besieged, ambushed and in battle (509–40). The Shield is furthered decorates with scenes depicting a field being ploughed (541–49), a harvest setting (550–60), a vineyard with grape pickers (561–72), a herd of straight-horned cattle under attack by a pair of lions, herdsmen and cattle dogs trying to them beat off (573–86), a picture of a sheep farm (587–89) and a group of young men and women dancing (590–606). The great Ocean is depicted in the outermost circle, somehow encasing Homer’s view of a civilized microcosm…  “where images of conflict and discord… i.e. war and peace, work and festival… show the basic forms of a civilized, essentially orderly life.” (607–609).     https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Shield_of_Achilles

Philip Rundell (1746-1827) for Rundell, Bridge & RundellPhilip
Shield of Achilles (detail), 1821-22, Silver-gilt, 90.5 x 90.5 x 18.0 cm (whole object), Royal Collection Trust     https://www.rct.uk/collection/51266/shield-of-achilles

“In 1810 John Flaxman (a British Sculptor and Draughtsman, and a leading figure in British and European Neoclassicism) received the first of a number of payments from Rundells  (Philip Rundell for Rundell, Bridge & Rundell master jewellery makers) to reconstruct” the legendary Shield described by Homer in the Iliad. Flaxman was a well-versed Greek scholar and an admirer of Homer “who spent many evenings reading aloud (in Greek) from the Iliad.” Flaxman completed his design in 1817 and then “modelled and cast it in plaster himself. This shield was the first in a series of silver-gilt and bronze casts and was completed in 1821, when it was prominently displayed at George IV’s coronation banquet. Flaxman was said to have been justly proud of his design, which was subsequently described by Rundells as a masterpiece of modern art and considered by many as one of the artist’s most successful works.” Other silver-gilt versions of the shield were made in 1821/2 for the Duke of York (now Huntington Collection, San Marino), and in 1822/3 for the Duke of Northumberland (now Al-Tajir Collection) and the Earl of Lonsdale (now National Trust, Anglesey Abbey). There is an early bronze cast of the shield, subsequently electro-gilt, in the Royal Collection (RCIN 31606) https://www.rct.uk/collection/51266/shield-of-achilles    includes a Video and      https://issuu.com/artsolution/docs/koopman_2019_the_shield_of_achilles

For a PowerPoint on The Legendary Shield of Achilles, please… Check HERE!

For a PowerPoint of Student Work inspired by The Legendary Shield of Achilles, please… Check HERE!

Bulletin Board display of Grade 3 student work inspired by The Legendary Shield of Achilles

Teaching with Domenico Veneziano

Domenico Veneziano,  c. 1410-1461
 Madonna and Child enthroned with St. Francis, John the Baptist, St. Zenobius and St. Lucy,
c. 1445, tempera on panel, 209 x 216 cm, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

 (Domenico was) …a good and affectionate fellow, fond of singing and devoted to playing on the lute,  he would come together (with his friend Andrea del Castagno) every night to make merry and to serenade their mistresses” This is how Giorgio Vasari describes Domenico Veneziano, the artist from Venice who took Florence by storm! Teaching with Domenico Veneziano is a set of student activities and worksheets inspired by the great Italian artist I much admire. Domenico’  Madonna and Child enthroned with St. Francis, John the Baptist, St. Zenobius and St. Lucy Altarpiece in the Gallerie degli Uffizi is one of my favourite paintings in Florence. I am intrigued by its ethereal beauty, the balance of composition and harmony of pictorial planes. I can’t wait to be back to Florence… stand in front of it and have, once more, an aesthetically rewarding experience.     http://www.travelingintuscany.com/art/giorgiovasari/lives/andreadelcastagno.htm

When the time comes for me to introduce my students to Domenico’s oeuvre I start with Giorgio Vasari and his fictional story of how Domenico Veneziano was murdered by his friend Andrea del Castagno… a story masterfully said but totally untrue.

I start with Vasari’s condemnation of envy, wicket artistic rivalry and betrayal resulting from envy… “How reprehensible is the vice of envy, which should never exist in anyone, when found in a man of excellence, and how wicked and horrible a thing it is to seek under the guise of a feigned friendship to extinguish not only the fame and glory of another but his very life, I truly believe it to be impossible to express with words, …that in such men there dwells a spirit not merely inhuman and savage but wholly cruel and devilish, and so far removed from any sort of virtue that they are no longer men or even animals, and do not deserve to live.…” and explain the difference between a healthy competition among artists, which according to Vasari is “ …worthy to be praised and to be held in esteem as necessary and useful to the world” and pure, malicious envy capable in the case of Andrea del Castagno to “ …conceal and obscure the splendour of his talents.” http://www.travelingintuscany.com/art/giorgiovasari/lives/andreadelcastagno.htm

I finish my introductory presentation discussing Domenico’s famous anecdotal story of his assassination by Andrea del Castagno, absolutely fictitious as modern scholarship proved. “ …Andrea, …being blinded by envy of the praises that he heard given to the talent of Domenico, determined to remove him from his path; and after having thought of many expedients, he put one of them into execution in the following manner. One summer evening, according to his custom, Domenico took his lute and went forth from S. Maria Nuova, leaving Andrea in his room drawing, for he had refused to accept the invitation to take his recreation with Domenico, under the pretext of having to do certain drawings of importance. Domenico, therefore, went to take his pleasure by himself, and Andrea set himself to wait for him in hiding behind a street corner; and when Domenico, on his way home, came up to him, he crushed his lute and his stomach at one and the same time with certain pieces of lead, and then, thinking that he had not yet finished him off, beat him grievously on the head with the same weapons; and finally, leaving him on the ground, he returned to his room in S. Maria Nuova, where he put the door ajar and sat down to his drawing in the manner that he had been left by Domenico. Meanwhile, an uproar had arisen, and the servants, hearing of the matter, ran to call Andrea and to give the bad news to the murderer and traitor himself, who, running to where the others were standing around Domenico, was not to be consoled, and kept crying out: “Alas, my brother! Alas, my brother!” Finally, Domenico expired in his arms; nor could it be discovered, for all the diligence that was used, who had murdered him; and if Andrea had not revealed the truth in confession on his death-bed, it would not be known now.”     http://www.travelingintuscany.com/art/giorgiovasari/lives/andreadelcastagno.htm

Domenico Veneziano,  c. 1410-1461
The Adoration of the Magi, 1435, tempera on panel, 90 cm diameter, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

Teaching with Domenico Veneziano Activities…

For the List of ONLINE References on Domenico Veneziano TeacherCurator put together, please… Click HERE!

For my PowerPoint on Domenico Veneziano, please… Click HERE!

I always feel confident discussing an artist with my students when I prepare my Steps to Success Lesson Plan Outline

7 Steps to Success…

For Student Activities (four Activities), please… Click HERE!

I hope that Teaching with Domenico Veneziano, will prove easy and helpful. Do you think it justifies my BLOG name TeacherCurator?

Domenico Veneziano,  c. 1410-1461
The Annunciation, c. 1445/1448, tempera on panel, 27.3 x 54 cm, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Matisse and Jazz

Henri Matisse once said… “Jazz is rhythm and meaning.” My students love to explore Matisse’s oeuvre and his Illustrated Book Jazz is a particular favourite. They like the brightly coloured pochoirs, his fluid lines and the energy every single illustration transmits. My new BLOG POST, Matisse and Jazz is inspired by two illustrations in Jazz, exhibited in Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation in Athens. It is dedicated to my students…

What is Jazz?

According to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History … “Jazz is a kind of music in which improvisation is typically an important part. In most jazz performances, players play solos which they make up on the spot, which requires considerable skill. There is tremendous variety in jazz, but most jazz is very rhythmic, has a forward momentum called “swing,” and uses “bent” or “blue” notes… Jazz can express many different emotions, from pain to sheer joy… ” https://americanhistory.si.edu/smithsonian-jazz/education/what-jazz

What is the definition of Jazz?

“The origin of the word jazz has resulted in considerable research, and its history is well documented. It is believed to be related to jasm, a slang term dating back to 1860 meaning pep, energy, zest for accomplishment, drive, energy… The earliest written record of the word is in a 1912 article in the Los Angeles Times in which a minor league baseball pitcher described a pitch which he called a jazz ball because it wobbles and you simply can’t do anything with it”.     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazz     and     https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jasm

Is Matisse’s Illustrated Book Jazz doing justice to the word?

I believe it does…The book’s title might be musical, but the illustrations are “experimental, and improvisational in nature” …just like Jazz music. “The designs were initially intended as covers for Verve, a French art magazine published by Tériade. In 1947, Tériade issued the compositions in an artist’s portfolio. The book included 20 colour prints, each about 16 by 26 inches (41 by 66 cm), as well as Matisse’s handwritten notes expressing his thoughts throughout the process. Tériade gave it the title Jazz, which Matisse liked because it suggested a connection between art and musical improvisation. Despite the low number of books printed, Jazz was well received.”     https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/353770     and     https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/151.2014.4/      and     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazz_(Henri_Matisse)

In Athens, Greece, the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation exhibits two Matisse Pochoirs from Jazz… The Nightmare of the White Elephant, and The Cowboy.

Henri Matisse, 1869 – 1954
The Nightmare of the White Elephant, Jazz, 1947, Coloured pochoir on Arches paper, on double-page, 172/250, 42 × 65 cm, original edition, printed by Edmond Vairel (French, 20th century), published by Tériade for Éditions Verve (French, 1943–1975) in Paris, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens
https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/matisse-henri-the-nightmare-of-the-white-elephant-jazz

“Matisse’s assistant Lydia Delectorskaya recorded his (Matisse’s) descriptions of the various images. According to her notes, in The Nightmare of the White Elephant, the white elephant is performing its act standing on a ball, under dazzling circus lights, while memories of his native black forest assail him like red tongues of fire, with all the violence of arrows.”   https://www.artic.edu/artworks/230693/the-nightmare-of-the-white-elephant-from-jazz     and     https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/matisse-henri-the-nightmare-of-the-white-elephant-jazz     

Henri Matisse, 1869 – 1954
The Cowboy, Jazz, 1947, Coloured pochoir on Arches paper, on double-page, 172/250, 42 × 65 cm, original edition, printed by Edmond Vairel (French, 20th century), published by Tériade for Éditions Verve (French, 1943–1975) in Paris, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens
https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/matisse-henri-the-cow-boy-jazz

“Matisse is well known for creating rich, lush blacks as shown here. The deep hue of The Cowboy, the lasso, and the woman stand in stark contrast to the light, bright colours of the background.”     https://www.artic.edu/artworks/230703/the-cowboy-from-jazz     and     https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/matisse-henri-the-cow-boy-jazz    

For a PowerPoint on Jazz, please… check HERE!

Lion Hunt Mosaic

Lion Hunt (detail), late 4th century, from the House of Dionysos, Pebble Mosaic, 4.90 x 3.20 m., Pella Archaeological Museum

Is the Lion Hunt Mosaic at Pella inspired by Plutarch’s description that follows?    “Accordingly, he exerted himself yet more strenuously in military and hunting expeditions, suffering distress and risking his life, so that a Spartan ambassador who came up with him as he was bringing down a great lion, said: “Nobly, indeed, Alexander, hast thou struggled with the lion to see which should be king.” (Plutarch, Life of Alexander 40.5) This hunting-scene Craterus dedicated at Delphi, with bronze figures of the lion, the dogs, the king engaged with the lion, and himself coming to his assistance; some of the figures were moulded by Lysippus, and some by Leochares.”     https://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Alexander*/5.html     Could the Mosaic at Pella present Alexander the Great and Krateros? Is the Pella Mosaic a faithful copy of the Delphi ex-voto sculptural monument? This is not an easy question to answer…

Chrisoula Saatsoglou-Paliadeli, back in 1989, wrote an article Το ανάθημα του Κρατερού στους Δελφούς (The Votive Offering of Krateros at Delphi), I always enjoy reading, particularly when I visit Pella or Delphi with my students. This article is a detailed and well-documented reference to the Lion Hunt event Plutarch describes. It takes me on a trip to Delphi – where Krateros dedicated an impressive monument commemorating the famous Lion Hunt event Prutarch mentions, the Louvre – the residence of an interesting Lion Hunt relief sculpture from ancient Messene and the Archaeological Museum of Pella – home of the celebrated Lion Hunt mosaic.     https://www.academia.edu/7923619/%CE%A4%CE%BF_%CE%B1%CE%BD%CE%AC%CE%B8%CE%B7%CE%BC%CE%B1_%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%85_%CE%9A%CF%81%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%B5%CF%81%CE%BF%CF%8D_%CF%83%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%85%CF%82_%CE%94%CE%B5%CE%BB%CF%86%CE%BF%CF%8D%CF%82_%CE%9C%CE%B5%CE%B8%CE%BF%CE%B4%CE%BF%CE%BB%CE%BF%CE%B3%CE%B9%CE%BA%CE%AC_%CF%80%CF%81%CE%BF%CE%B2%CE%BB%CE%AE%CE%BC%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%B1_%CE%B1%CE%BD%CE%B1%CF%80%CE%B1%CF%81%CE%AC%CF%83%CF%84%CE%B1%CF%83%CE%B7%CF%82_%CE%95%CE%B3%CE%BD%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%AF%CE%B1_1_1989_79_100

Monument of Krateros at Delphi, probably around 320 BC, or at the end of the 4th century BC     https://twitter.com/CarolynPPerry/status/1328250004402790401

The impressive bronze monument, commissioned by Krateros and immortalized by Lysippos and Leochares, at Delphi, has unfortunately long perished. We can only guess that the protagonists of the composition were placed on a pedestal against the back wall of the building arrayed one next to the other. What survives, in the area between the Theater and the Temple of Apollo,  is an impressive structure, rectangular in shape, measuring some 15.27 x 6.35 meters and standing up to 4 meters high. The building was probably a portico with a colonnade on its façade and a dedicatory inscription on its rear, according to which the building was identified as the ex-voto of Krateros, the Macedonian general and close friend of Alexander the Great and his son by the same name, after his father’s death, probably around 320 BC, or at the end of the 4th century BC.

The dedicatory inscription reads… “Alexandros’s son, Krateros, promised this to Apollo, an honored and glorious man; his son, whom he begot in his palace and left as a child, composed it, Krateros, thereby fulfilling every promise to his father, hoping that the hunt for this bull-killing lion may have eternal and attractive fame for him. For when he followed Alexander and destroyed everything together with him, with that much-praised king of Asia, he defeated him and killed him when he fell into his hands in the land of the sheep-bearing Syrians.”     https://pausanias-footsteps.nl/regios/phokis/delphi-votiefgaven/?lang=en     Can we reconstruct this amazing sculptural composition? Plutarch’s description and the Delphi inscription present us with the necessary but inconclusive hints!

Hunt scene, known as “Alexander’s Hunt” from Messene, 3rd or 2nd century BC, grey-blue marble, 0,59×1.52 m, the Louvre

Petros Themelis writes about the Messene Lion Hunting scene in the Louvre, in his article A Macedonian Horseman – the Relief Louvre, inv. no. ΜΑ 858 from Messene, presenting the latest archaeological discoveries and attributes it to the funerary monument of the Philliades family. “The stone block Louvre MA858 (height: 0,60 m, width: 1,205 m, depth: 0,28 m) carries a relief representing (on the right) a naked male figure with a lion-skin wrapped around his left arm, striking down a lion with a double axe, while a horseman wearing a Macedonian causia, chlamys, and belted chiton with short sleeves comes rushing up from the left side. The hunter with the lion-skin and the axe is usually identified with Alexander, while the horseman with the causia is identified with Craterus because the relief is taken to reflect Craterus’ Monument at Delphi.”     https://www.academia.edu/39501780/P_Themelis_2019_A_Macedonian_Horseman_the_Relief_Louvre_inv_no_MA_858_from_Messene_%CF%83%CF%84%CE%BF_EXCELLENCE_STUDIES_IN_HONOUR_OF_OLGA_PALAGIA

Lion Hunt, late 4th century, from the House of Dionysos, pebble mosaic, 4.90 x 3.20 m., Pella Archaeological Museum

The Lion Hunt Mosaic at the Archaeological Museum of Pella, detached from the so-called house of Dionysus, is a masterpiece of mosaic making. “The bodies of the figures on the mosaic floors at Pella are highlighted against the dark background by white pebbles, and the sculpted volumes are accentuated by the chiaroscuro created by grey pebbles in various tonic gradations. Red pebbles… were used in a limited way… The ground in the mosaic of the lion hunt is characterised by its many colours, while the outline and details of the figures’ body parts are rendered by thin strips of lead or terracotta.” Please note the intensity of the figures’ movements, the lion’s position in the middle of the composition, moving forward/looking backwards, his right front pow stepping over the foot of the receding man to the right, wearing a Petasos…     https://www.latsis-foundation.org/content/elib/book_18/pella_en.pdf     and     http://www.pella-museum.gr/explore/museum/enotita1/kathimerini-zoi

My students and the Lion Hunt Mosaic, Archaeological Museum at Pella. For a PowerPoint, please… Check, HERE!

Dioscurides and Krithamo

Portrait of the allegorical figure Epinoia (thinking power) holding a Mandragoa in the middle, Dioscurides describing the plant to the right, and a painter creating the image of the plant to the left, Vienna Dioscurides, Folio 5v, about 515 AD, Byzantine Greek Illuminated Manuscript of De Materia Medica by Pedanius Dioscurides, vellum folios measure 37 by 30 cm, Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

“The Vienna Dioscurides is a Byzantine Greek illuminated manuscript copy of “Medical Material” by Dioscorides, which was created in 515 AD. It is a rare surviving example of an illustrated ancient scientific and medical text… The original “De Materia Medica” or “On Medical Material” was first written between 50 and 70 CE by Pedanius Dioscorides. It is a pharmacopeia of medicinal plants and was widely read and used for more than 1,500 years… This specific manuscript copy was created in the Byzantine Empire’s capital, Constantinople, for the byzantine imperial princess, Anicia Juliana. She was the daughter of Anicius Olybrius, who had been one of the last Western Roman Emperors… The manuscript was presented to the princess in gratitude for her funding the construction of a church… The dedication miniature portrait of Anicia Juliana is the oldest surviving dedication portraits in a book…” I couldn’t better encapsulate the manuscript’s identification. The Vienna Dioscurides is one of the “canvases” I use for my Course on Cultural Geography of Greece and specifically my Lessons on popular Greek Plants like Dioscurides and Krithamo.     https://joyofmuseums.com/ancient-manuscripts-and-historically-influential-books/vienna-dioscurides/

The Protagonists

Portrait of Anicia Juliana flanked by Megalopsychia and Phronesis (detail), Vienna Dioscurides, Folio 6v, about 515 AD, Byzantine Greek Illuminated Manuscript of De Materia Medica by Pedanius Dioscurides, vellum folios measure 37 by 30 cm, Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

Anicia Juliana (462 – 527/528 AD)was an incredible woman, a prominent member of the up-to-date ruling Roman Imperial Dynasties. She was the daughter of Emperor Anicius Olybrius of the Western Roman Empire, the wife of the Magister Militum of the Eastern Roman Empire, Areobindus Dagalaiphus Areobindus and the mother of  Olybrius Junior, a Roman Consul. Anicia Juliana was the wealthiest woman in the Roman Empire and the greatest patron of the Arts at the time. She is the ktitorissa of religious edifices, the Church of Hagios Polyeuktos in Constantinople, built by the year 527, the most sumptuous of all,  and the recipient of a magnificent manuscript, a copy of De Materia Medica by Dioscurides, known today as Vienna Dioscurides. https://www.thebyzantinelegacy.com/anicia-juliana

Portrait of Dioscurides and Heuresis, Vienna Dioscurides, Folio 4v, about 515 AD, Byzantine Greek Illuminated Manuscript of De Materia Medica by Pedanius Dioscurides, vellum folios measure 37 by 30 cm, Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

Pedanius Dioscurides (c. 30-90 AD) was a Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist who served in the Roman army of Emperor Nero during the1st century AD. He was a native of Anazarbus in Asia Minor and studied medicine at the nearby school in Tarsus. Following the Roman Army, Dioscurides collected information and samples of local medicinal plants and about 70 AD he published De Materia Medica, a five volumes treatise on the “medicinal properties of over one thousand natural medicinal substances; most of these… botanical in origin, but drugs of animal and mineral origin…” as well. The book’s subtitle, “On the Preparation, Properties and Testing of Drugs, sets the empirical, scientific tone of this work… Dioscorides didn’t accept anything on faith, or on the reputation of established authorities; he checked everything out and tested every drug clinically.  He personally travelled and researched the local folk medicine uses of every herb… The presentations of every herb and medicinal substance in Dioscorides’ herbal were very thorough.  It included plant names, synonyms and illustrations; plant habitat and botanical descriptions; properties, actions and uses of the drug; negative side effects if any; administration and dosage recommendations; directions on harvesting, preparation and storage of herbs or drugs…” One can only admire the painstaking work done by Dioscurides and the reasons why De Materia Medica “has been the prime authority and source work on herbs and other medicinal substances in the history of Western Civilization, and quite possibly in the history of the world.”     http://www.greekmedicine.net/whos_who/Dioscorides.html

Simply put… the Vienna Dioscurides is one of the most beautiful Byzantine Manuscripts in the world! The c. 512 AD Codex, written in vellum folios and magnificently illuminated, was created in a workshop in Constantinople, and granted, as a gift of gratitude, to the Imperial Princess Anicia Juliana for her patronage in the construction of a church in the quarter of Honoratae. The Vienna Dioscurides is one of the “canvases” I use for my Course on the Cultural Geography of Greece and specifically Lessons on popular Greek Plants like Dioscurides and Krithamo. Please CHECK my POWERPOINT HERE! for pictures of manuscript folios and interesting FACTS about it.

Crithmum Maritimum, Vienna Dioscurides, Folio 184v, about 515 AD, Byzantine Greek Illuminated Manuscript of De Materia Medica by Pedanius Dioscurides, vellum folios measure 37 by 30 cm, Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

Crithmum Maritimum, according to Dioscurides, Krithamo and Rock Samphire today, grows on rocky beaches where there is a little sand and strong, salty winds. This is one of the plants presented in the Constantinopolitan Codex of Anicia Juliana, described as having detoxifying properties, good to treat liver, intestinal and renal dysfunction. Dioscurides refers to it as “λαχανεύεται εφθόν τε και ωμόν εσθιόμενον, και ταριχεύεται εν άλμη.” I use the illumination of Crithmum Maritimum in Dioscurides’s manuscript in my Cultural Geography of Greece Class to discuss the Plant’s characteristics and create an Inter-Disciplinary Activity my students enjoy doing… as you can see HERE! for the Activity’s instructions and HERE! and HERE!  for samples of student work.     https://www.itrofi.gr/fytika/votana/article/1623/kritamo-votano-toy-gialoy-poy-dynamonei-anosopoiitiko-kai-einai-gemato

Bulletin Board Presentation of a Grade 4 Activity on Dioscurides and Krithamo
Bulletin Board Presentation of a Grade 5 Activity on Dioscurides and Krithamo

Teaching with Donatello

Donatello, 1386-1466
David, c. 1430, Bronze, Height: 158 cm, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence

“Speak, damn you, speak!” Donatello allegedly cried to his sculptures whenever he desired depth in their expression! Teaching with Donatello is a set of student activities and worksheets inspired by the great Italian artist I much admire. I visited sites in Florence where Donatello left his mark, several times so far, and my hope is that I will be fortunate to visit them again. Every time I come face to face with his work, I think of Henry Moore, who “every day he strove to surpass Donatello, failed, but woke the next morning elated for another try…”     http://www.donatellosculptures.com/quotes/     and     https://www.theartstory.org/artist/giotto/life-and-legacy/

When the time comes for me to introduce my students to Donatello’s oeuvre I start with Giorgio Vasari and his exciting stories.

I start with… “He may be said to have been the first to illustrate the art of sculpture among the moderns…” discussing how ancient Greek or Roman sculpture was a great source of inspiration for Donatello and continue with… “Donatello made his figures in such a way that in the room where he worked they did not look half as well as when they were put in their place.”

Donatello, 1386-1466
Santa Croce Crucifix, c.1406-1408, Polychrome Wood, Height: 165 cm, Capella Bardi di Vernio, Santa Croce, Florence

The famous anecdotal story of Donatello’s Crucifixion and his “contest” with Brunaleschi is important to review and stress… “… for the church of S. Croce in Florence…he (Donatello) made a crucifix of wood, which he carved with extraordinary patience; and when it was done, thinking it a very fine piece of work, he showed it to Filippo that he might have his opinion upon it. Filippo, who expected from what Donatello had said to see something better, when he looked at it could not help smiling a little. Donatello, seeing it, prayed him by their friendship to speak his mind truly, upon which Filippo, who was frank enough, replied that he seemed to him to have put on the cross a peasant and not Jesus Christ, who was the man most perfect in everything that ever was born. Donatello, feeling the reproach more bitterly because he had expected praise, replied, “If it were as easy to do a thing as to judge it, my Christ would not look like a peasant; but take some wood yourself and make one.” Filippo without another word returned home, and, saying nothing to any one, set to work upon a crucifix, and aiming to surpass Donatello that he might not condemn himself, he brought it to great perfection after many months. Then one morning he invited Donatello to dine with him. Donatello accepted his invitation, and they went together to Filippo’s house. Coming to the old market, Filippo bought some things and gave them to Donatello, saying, “Go on to the house and wait for me, I am just coming.” So Donatello, going into the house, found Filippo’s crucifix arranged in a good light; and stopping to consider it, he found it so perfect that, overcome with surprise and admiration, he let his apron drop, and the eggs and cheese and all the other things that he was carrying in it fell to the ground and were broken. Filippo, coming in and finding him standing thus lost in astonishment, said, laughingly, “What are you about, Donatello? How are we to dine when you have dropped all the things?” “I,” said Donatello, “have had enough. If you want anything, take it. To you it is given to do Christs, and to me peasants.” https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/basis/vasari/vasari6.asp

Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius,  c. 173-76, Gilded Bronze, Height: 4.2 m, Capitoline Museum, Rome
Donatello, 1386-1466,
Statue of Gattamelata, 1447-50, Bronze, 340×390 cm, Piazza del Santo, Padua

I finish my introductory presentation discussing Donatello’s character, the story of Gattamelata, and Padua’s admiration for the artist… “… the Signory of Venice, hearing the fame of him, sent for him to make the monument to Gattamelata in the city of Padua. He undertook it very gladly, and made the statue that stands in the Piazza of S. Antonio, with the horse chafing and neighing, and its proud, spirited rider. Donatello showed himself in this so admirable, both for proportion and execution, that truly it may be compared to any ancient work. The Paduans sought by every means to prevail upon him to become a citizen and to stay there, giving him much work to do; but finding himself considered a marvel, and praised on all sides, he determined to return to Florence, saying if he stayed there longer he should forget all he knew, being praised so much, and that he must return to his own city to be continually found fault with, for this faultfinding would be the cause of his studying more, and thereby winning greater glory.”     https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/basis/vasari/vasari6.asp

Teaching with Donatello Activities…

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

For my PowerPoint on Donatello, please… Click HERE!

I always feel confident discussing an artist with my students when I prepare my Steps to Success Lesson Plan Outline

For Donatello’s Gattamelata Student Activity, please… Click HERE! (Student Activity) HERE! (Picture) and HERE! (Worksheet A)

For a WAC (Write Across the Ciciculum) Activity, titled “A Poem for Donatello’s Saint George”, please… Click HERE!

Donatello, 1386-1466
Cantoria, 1431-39, Marble, 348 x 570 cm, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence

I hope that Teaching with Donatello will prove easy and helpful. Do you think it justifies my BLOG name TeacherCurator?

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 3 Madonnas
Student (Marios Mylonas, Grade 9, 2020) RWAP on 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