My daughter AppleBlossom has stated the desire that she wants to be an artist when she grows up, specifically a painter. As a child, I was in the generation where art programs were cut from schools and the only artwork that I can lend any advice toward is that of needle craft, which is mostly self-taught. I do not have the tools to tell her much more than what I have picked up in reading books and from a summer semester (Maymester actually) of college Art Appreciation. I am curious about art, she is curious about art, we just need the tools to truly learn about art. We have found it! As you may have noticed we are big fans of Veritas Press around here. So much so, that now with the accreditation of Veritas Press Scholars Academy we have enrolled in their diploma program. I have been receiving the VP catalog for years and dreaming about the year we would jump in. More recently with registering classes for our Second Grade and now Third Grade (coming soon!) years I have been spending a lot of time on their website. Thus, when a link popped up for a NEW product called History of Art: From Creation to Contemporary I could not have found myself more excited! Immediately I sent off an email to inquire.
This is incredible! I have been blessed to receive a review copy of the brand new program including a 309-page consumable workbook and set of 32 laminated art cards. It is my understanding that both products will also be available as digital items as well. We have been using another Classical Education curriculum provider’s art cards in the last three years and enjoy them as we’ll and the Enrichment Guide text that completes that program, but my goodness this is the next step an incredible one at that. Hmm… I think I already used that adjective… After finishing with the K-2 Enrichment Guides that I love which has introduced us to a plethora of artists and famous paintings I am delighted to stick our toes further in the art appreciation and art history world with Veritas Press’ History of Art: Creation to Contemporary.
This new, distinctively Christian overview covers well-known works of art, from the Lascaux Cave paintings and Winged Victory to the Mona Lisa and American Gothic. But the program also takes time to focus on art by Christians and about the Christian faith. Two great works of art are on nearly all of the 32 flashcards along with information about each art movement studied. The full-color workbook contains comprehension questions, crafts, activities, readings, and features on artists of the faith—both historical and contemporary. Fully integrated with the Veritas History Series (yet able to stand on its own), this art history program was designed to fill one year. It could also be stretched out from 2nd through 6th, to enjoy several cards at a time. Or it might be used as a transitional program in 7th, since it spans all of Western history. Veritas Press
As we have spent the last year with the latest versions of Veritas Press History and Bible Cards for the Second Grade year topics including Old Testament Ancient Egypt and Genesis to Joshua I can attest to the quality of these flash cards. These cards are laminated with rounded corners and while they are duly tested with my toddler they are going to last. (The history, Bible, and art cards from 2013 to present seem to be laminated. Other cards we have that are copyright 2007-2009 have square corners and are solely are card stock, no laminated. The laminated cards will definitely last longer.) I store all our cards in a Super Stacker Storage box. (Note, our brand new alphabet and phonics flashcards we just ordered for the Princess’ Kindergarten and received two weeks ago with the Phonics Museum still seem to be the old style, and I had them laminated at the local teachers’store – but the word on the street is to watch for new things to come with the VP Phonics Museum…)
I can tell you that we enjoy the cross over between the History and Bible Cards and that same continuity across the curriculum continues with the Art Cards as well. The quality is impressive of the recent products from Veritas Press are created with so much inspiration and thought behind them and I am not surprised to find myself extremely content with this addition to our curriculum.
Overall, the History of Art program is designed for grades 2-6, and in the scheme of things will be inserted into a typical fifth grade year for VPSA Diploma students. As the workbook is divided into 32 full-color chapters (with perforated pages I might add) the History of Art can be used in a full-year study with a few weeks to spare at a chapter per week. However, you could also use the program as we have decided to do and align it alongside the year of history we are studying for an in depth study of art history.
How are we using the curriculum?
History of art starts with Prehistoric Art and then continues into Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Aegean, and then into Early Christian Art and further. This year we have begun our focus with the earliest historical eras. As we talked about Creation, Noah, and the early nomadic life of civilization we studied the great Michelangelo and his rendition of The Creation of Sun and Moon which is a familiar image from our Bible and History Card #1 as well as his segment of The Separation of Light from Darkness and other details of the Sistene Chapel ceiling. We also reviewed Bible and History Card #2, and History and Bible Card #4/5 respectively, as Gutave Dore’s The Flood. The first Art History card features prehistoric pieces such as a detail from the Hall of the Bulls of the Lascaux Caves. Unlike our history cards, the date reference for the Art History cards is solely on the information detail side of the reverse of each card.
Information and art images are found in the pages of the workbook, much like we have experienced in the Legends & Leagues South and East workbooks. Then there are pages with opportunities for coloring and for creating your own inspired art project. Each segment has vocabulary and discussion questions. It is very easy to see where you could either do a lesson orally or have your student complete it independently. In the beginning of the book, there is a three-page How to Use This Curriculum preface with a recommended schedule. While it is entirely possible, I think this program will be much more successful with the inclusion of the History and Bible Cards across the eras as well. The Art History Card has a secondary image on the face of the card and then after reading the information within the workbook, there is also more information on the reverse of the Art History Card as well as a tertiary image and even a reference for other related time period works of art too! This is not ust 32 pieces of art and done. There is so much more here!!
While the Art History Cards are possibly the most important part of this curriculum program, there is a lot of interesting and fun stuff in the workbook. I already mentioned the coloring, questions, and projects, but there are also built-in review activities throughout, quizzes, tests, answer keys (in the back) and there is a song! Sheet music, lyrics, and everything to the tune of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. There are also great forms for Field Trips and Art Reports. And in proper Veritas Press style there are games! I will most likely be tearing out those perforated pages and laminating the game pieces and sets for those to last.
Veritas Press History of Art is packed with information. There is art imagery for viewing. There is opportunity for learning and reviewing content, grammar skills, and linguistics/spelling. I have found purpose for narration, copywork, art study, and sparks for inspiration to research a topic further. We are learning the terminology of art movements and their dates placing them on pegs in history (Ex: Prehistoric: Creation-3000 B.C., Egyptian: c. 3100-30 B.C., and Mesopotamian: c. 3000-331 B.C.).
Continuing on. . .
This year with keeping with Old Testament Ancient Egypt (blue) we are only utilizing three Art History Cards. Next year, while studying New Testament, Greece & Rome (green) we will feature six Art History Cards. The year after that when we delve into Middle Ages, Renaissance & Reformation (orange) there are seven coordinating Art History Cards. Along-side Explorers to 1815 (red) five. Lastly with 1815-Present (yellow) eleven. The overlying color for the Art History cards is gold.
Is this an all encompassing program that tries to cover every artist and art in a historical era? No, but it is an inspiration! It is full of creative sparks throughout history to prompt and promote further study. I am glad that we will be using this program slowly for its entirety. Getting our footing in the introduction to each artistic movement and then going further we are loving every moment thus far and intend to continue!