Art and History in Perspective

Article excerpt

Some art teachers consider perspective essential to the art program: others feel it is too technical and that its rigid roles don't interface with expressive "art" objectives. Yet, if Giotto, Masaccio, Botticelli, Leonardo, Durer, Rembrandt, Piranesi and other masters gave so much attention to perspective, how can we discard it as nonessential?

The ability to render space and shapes realistically through perspective fascinates people in general. Students experience a great deal of satisfaction when they are able to attain that "real look." Many students ask that they be taught how to draw like Escher.

Students should know perspective but how can we teach it effectively in the artroom? How can we show the students the principle of foreshortening in the confines of a classroom when we all know that large spaces and volumes are essential if we are to observe those principles? We are compelled to take our students outdoors where they can see buildings get smaller as they recede into space.

Of course, if one happens to live and teach in a region where there's a wealth of beautiful or interesting architecture, it's a welcome advantage. This author happens to teach in an American high school in the Apulia region of Italy. This region abounds with hundreds of Medieval castles, towers and fortresses of the Norman and Swabish period. …