“art Works” is a monthly column that provides bits of know-how and reminders of ways to assure the success of your art program. in the coming year, look for advice and suggestions related to learning about, responding to and making art, integrating art into the curriculum, displaying student work, reaching out to the community, and more.–B.H. . when You by Barbara Herberholz hat makes an artist a great master? Why do we hold some artworks in higher esteem than others? Have your students ever taken a look at a painting and asked, “How come that artist is famous? I could do THAT myself!” Did you have an answer for your students? GROUNDBREAKING Let’s consider just W are the First! ferently from his predecessors, giving his figures solidity with volume, light and shadow, and placing them in a natural setting, rather than depicting them as symbolic figures on a flat, golden background. And thus, the beginning of the Italian Renaissance was born. A FASCINATING RESOURCE I recently found a fascinating, hard-to-put-down book, with numerous illustrations by art historian Florian Heine, entitled The First Time: Innovations in Art (Bucher Publishing; 2007). The author has searched through the centuries since the end of the Middle Ages for innovations, and he has written about a number of courageous artists who found new techniques, subjects and approaches to creating art. These innovations overcame the established art traditions and contributed to the advancement of painting. This book contains an abundance of lively and fascinating information. For instance, did you ever wonder who painted the first nighttime scene, the first person wearing spectacles, the first winter landscape, the first realistic depictions of nudity or the first composition with one-point perspective? In our times, we have become accustomed to a range of styles without thinking. Who did this first and when was it done? Did some of these innovators find their new ways of making art accepted early on by the public and critics? Or were their new approaches greeted with derision and insults? Did their works mark the beginning of a new school of art or new “ism”? A SHORT QUIZ Below is a short quiz using just a few of the abundant facts and fascinating information found in The First Time: Innovations in Art. See if you can match the “first time” with the name of the artist, and when the “first” was accomplished. n why the contributions and creations of some artists have made it through the years. First, this artist was the first to use a different composition; a unique subject matter; a new and different style; a new way of handling the medium; or even a new medium— creating something that had not previously existed in that form. This new approach—in any of these areas—was a “first” and, secondly, provided the artist with followers who created art in a similar vein, thus starting a new, groundbreaking movement—a ladder to climb in the history of art. Some of the groundbreaking “firsts” may have included the first depiction of a shadow, the use of one-point perspective, a composition showing the first landscape, the first still life, the first abstraction, and so on. STAND THE TEST OF TIME And third, the Barbara Herberholz is an art-education consultant in Sacramento, Calif., and an Arts & Activities Contributing Editor. She and her late husband, Donald Herberholz, Ed.D., wrote “Artworks for Elementary Teachers,” now in its Ninth Edition (McGraw-Hill; 2002). THE “FIRST” QUIZ Who painted the first . 1. self-portrait? 2. realistic portrayal of a landscape? 3. picture with one-point perspective? 4. still life? 5. illusion of movement? 6. abstract picture? 7. picture to be called Cubist? 8. Pop art composition? 9. Impressionist painting? 10. action or drip painting? 11. picture of the artist’s own dream? 12. artwork of the Futurist Movement? artist and his/her artwork have stood the test of time. We don’t really know with certainty that an artist today who commands a large popular audience with viewers and buyers in galleries will be thought of in the same way in, say, 100 years or so. For instance, Vasari, the father of art history, wrote in his book about the great artists of Italy in 1550 that Giotto “is art reborn.” What’s so special about Giotto’s art that it prompted these words from Vasari? Giotto was doing everything dif12 ANSWER KEY 1. In 1433, Jan van Eyck painted the first known self-portrait depicting only the artist. 2. In 1444, Konrad Witz used oil paint to depict the first realistic landscape, The Miraculous Draft of Fishes. 3. Masaccio painted a fresco of the “Holy Trinity” in Santa Maria Novella, Florence, in 1427–28. 4. Jacopo Barbaro painted a dead partridge and iron gloves in 1504. 5. Velazquez painted the first illusion of movement in 1657, a spinning wheel. 6. Wassily Kandinsky painted the first abstract watercolor in 1910. 7. George Braque painted Houses at L’Estaque in 1908, the first picture to be called Cubist. 8. In 1956, London’s Richard Hamilton made a collage called Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? 9. Monet, in 1872, presented his Impression: Sunrise, the picture from which Impressionism derived its name. 10. In 1947, Jackson Pollock poured paint onto the canvas, thus earning his nickname, “Jack the Dripper.” 11. Albrecht Dürer in 1525 made the first representation of his own dream by sketching it and recording it in writing. 12. Boccioni painted Rissa in Galleria in 1910. februar y 2011 x www.ar tsandactivities.com
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