Magazine article Arts & Activities

Getting Down to the Roots in Art

Magazine article Arts & Activities

Getting Down to the Roots in Art

Article excerpt

"We're studying language in art class?" This was the overall reaction in my introductory and advanced Art courses. I explained to the students that improving vocabulary is a new all-school curriculum goal. Every course would somehow incorporate Latin and Greek root words in their classroom curriculum.

The root word for the month was "gen" from the Latin "genus," which means origin, beginning (Genesis), birth, creation, race and kind. I explained that in art we were going to focus on a "kind" of art called "genre painting." In art history, "genre" is from the French (which is derived from Latin) word "type" or "class" and refers to scenes of daily life among the merchants or peasants.

One of the best-known artists for genre painting was Dutch artist Pieter de Hooch (1629-84). De Hooch usually showed servants performing everyday tasks and was a genius at lighting and perspective. His paintings were known to have beautifully patterned floors in the main room and then in a room off that room. The far room would often be fit up with sunlight.

By the end of the language and art-history presentation the students already had an idea what the assignment would be. They were to design their own genre scenes that related to their modern lives. We discussed how different our modern society is than in Pieter de Hooch's era, so our scenes probably would show our families' everyday lives--and not servants performing tasks for us.

Since this was one of the first projects of the year, students were reminded that they needed to use proper body proportions and perspective in their compositions. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.