Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Volcano inspired Artwork Lessons

While we studied about Pompeii as a part of our unit study on Rome we incorporated another bit of Art by taking a look at a few artworks that depict various volcanoes.

Katsushika Hokusai's did a series of prints together titled, "Thirty Six Views of Mt. Fuji".  This Squidoo Lens shows "The Great Wave" a number of times.  This particular piece is FABULOUS for teaching kids how lines in art help the eye move around the composition.

If you keep scrolling down you will also see, Mt. Fuji, Mt. Fuji in Summer, Mt. Fuji Pilgrimage, Boy on Mt. Fuji, Fuji above the Lightening and more.

Hokusai made wood block prints so you can use it as a lesson in print making (you can cut potatoes in half or use foam and carve shapes and patterns out and then use them like stamps in tempera paint to create your own prints if you wish to use this as a way to introduce how prints work if you wish) or, you can study the paintings for different kinds of line, or different uses of color.

We also had the opportunity to visit The Getty Villa again while they had an exhibition about "The Last Days of Pompeii".  Before going, we made sure to look at The Getty's Page about Sir William Hamilton.  The page discusses Hamilton as an amateur Vulcanologist and displays four images of different paintings he created in an effort to record the eruption of Vesuvius he witnessed in 1767 and even the "curious specimens" of rock he collected after the eruption.

We compared the paintings by Hamilton with "The Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius" by Pierre Jacques Volaire who was famous for his depictions of Volcanic eruptions at night.  I LOVE how the apricots and oranges (meaning the colors not the fruits) in this painting juxtaposed against the greyness of the sky is an absolutely GORGEOUS color combination - but then, he was an artist.

For contrast, we also made sure to take a look at how Andy Warhol depicted the same volcano in his cycle  "Vesuvius."  Take the opportunity to discuss line, color choices and the difference in motivations between the more abstract Warhol and the more scientific Hamilton.

Alice painted a picture of a volcano her way (shown above).  Since we are currently studying early Christianity, apparently she also felt the need to litter the landscape with Chapels.

We pointed out lines in the artwork, discussed color choices, looked at how different colors change the "mood" in the painting and really just had a good time talking about what we were seeing.  It was more of an art appreciation set of lessons than practice at creating art.

Lastly, we discussed the recording of volcanic eruptions and how our ability to view and record this phenomena has changed.  We've discussed Pliny's descriptions of his viewing of Vesuvius and even were able to read his description (translated into english).  We discussed how photography and videography have made it a lot easier for us to truly see what happens during an eruption and read this brief article on the subject.

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