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History Through Art

YIHS 12th Grade Afternoon Block ** April 16 – May 11, 2018


Teachers: Chris Larson, Magda Bermudez, and Jacob Hundt

Piet Mondrian

The goal of this block is to explore the evolution of human consciousness through the intimate
lens of the visual arts. Everyone in this class has had extensive creative practice with the arts
during high school and beyond and we will use this shared background of experience to look into
the minds and souls of people who lived in past cultures, as well as into the culture of our own
time. Together, we will develop and deploy a shared vocabulary for describing and comparing as
we explore the important artistic movements of the past and the remarkable personalities who
have created the world’s greatest works of painting, sculpture, and arts in other media. In this
course, we will be taking a special look at the modern art form of film, guided by Thoreau
College Fellow Magda Bermudez, a Waldorf grad from Massachusetts who graduated from
college with a degree in film.

The teachers of this class combine expertise in artistic creation and in the history of culture and
we are eager to work with the senior class in this block. Most sessions will include short artistic
exercises in techniques relevant to different eras of artistic history, as well as discussion of
images of characteristic works from those periods. Students will also have time to work on their
individual projects, which they will have considerable freedom in designing and executing with
the support of the class teachers.

Frida Kahlo
Class Projects
The assigned work for this class will be designed individually by each student. At minimum, each
project should include the creation of a piece of art of some kind – ideally a replica of a
representative historical piece – and an oral presentation to the class. Some possible project ideas
might be:

 A detailed study of a single specific painting, sculpture, or other work, including an artistic
rendition and an analytical paper.
 A biographical study of the life and work of a specific artist.
 A study of a movement or style.
 A study following a specific theme across different styles and artists over time. For
example, the human form, animals, landscapes, shadows, use of color, etc.
 Design your own project around some idea, impulse, or theme.

This is a short block and students will need to craft their project proposals quickly. A short
written description of the planned project will be due on Monday, April 23. Project
presentations will take place during the last week of the class – May 7, 9, and 11.

Grading and Evaluation


Grading for this class will be based on an evaluation of final projects by one of the teachers and a
self-evaluation using a rubric that will be provided to the class. Both evaluators must agree that the
student’s project is deserving of a grade of PASS. In addition, according the YIHS Attendance and
Punctuality Policy, students who are absent more than 3 times or late more than 5 times, for
whatever reason, will receive a grade of FAIL for the block.

From “La Voyage dans la lune” – Georges Méliès (1902)


History Through Art – Course Outline

WEEK 1: April 16, 18, 20


Discussion: A brief history of art from the Paleolithic to the 20th century
Monday: What is art?
Wednesday: SNOW DAY
Friday: Paleolithic-Renaissance

Hands On: Pin Hole Camera (Mon, Weds.)


Automatic Drawing/Blind Contour (Fri)

WEEK 2: April 23, 25, 27


Discussion: 19th and 20th century art
Spiritual Art; Sculpture
Introduction to animation
Hands On: Add color to blind contour drawings (Mon)
Stop motion animation & flip books (Weds. & Fri.)
Assignment: PROJECT PROPOSALS DUE – Monday, April 23

WEEK 3: April 30, May 2


Discussion: The history of the art of film
Hands On: Class time to work on projects

WEEK 4: May 7, 9, 11:


Discussion: Project Presentations
Assignment: Project Self-Evaluations due – Friday, May 11