Integrate Art and Technology through Architecture
Kaluf, Kevin J., Kelley, Todd R., Children's Technology and Engineering
Most people have heard of the time period during the 14th to the 17th centuries called "The Renaissance." The word "Renaissance" means rebirth, and this period saw a "rebirth" in knowledge in upper class European society. Art and science were becoming more important to the upper class as society emerged from the Dark Ages. Arguably, when one thinks of the Renaissance and its many well-known artists, one immediately thinks of Michelangelo. Michelangelo is well remembered as a sculptor and painter, commissioned by popes and rulers to create beautiful works of art that we can still see today in museums. However, did you know Michelangelo was also a very accomplished architect and designer of many important and beautiful buildings in Italy.) It was his blend of art, architecture, and construction techniques that gave us St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. This column will feature several books that can be valuable resources for teachers to integrate art and technology concepts to implement hands-on model making and design-sketching activities for young learners.
Michelangelo Buonarroti was born on March 6, 1475 in Caprese, Italy, near Florence. Throughout his youth, Michelangelo dabbled in numerous forms of art--sculpture and painting, but also model building with clay and marble. In 1489, after having served only one year as an art apprentice, his artwork caught the eye of the rulers of Florence, and Michelangelo entered a school for sculptors. In his twenties and thirties, Michelangelo became a "young master," known far and wide for his various forms of artwork, among them the Pieta and David, two of the world's most famous sculptures. From 1508-1512, Michelangelo accepted the commission to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.
In 1527, the citizens of Florence threw out the city's ruling family and restored the republic. The city was laid under siege, and Michelangelo, using his architecture and building skills, went to the aid of his city by designing and working on its military fortifications from 1528 to 1529. In 1546, Michelangelo was appointed chief architect of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican and began designing its unfinished dome. Many sketches were drawn and many scale models were built by Michelangelo in what was to become the largest dome in the world at that time.
While Michelangelo may be celebrated as an important artist, he should be also acknowledged for his architectural achievements. Furthermore, students should also learn in their early years about the blend of art and technology in the field of architecture. The children's book Draw 50 Buildings and Other Structures: The Step-by-Step Way to Draw Castles and Cathedrals, Skyscrapers and Bridges, and So Much More by Lee J. Ames (1980) will show aspiring young artists, designers, and architects how to draw famous buildings as well as structures of their own design. Students will use artistic sketching as a way to develop their interest in architectural perspective and elevations by employing a step-by-step drawing process. For example, students mimic the author's lines as they create forms and shapes, allowing them small successes as they draw the Empire State Building or a Cape Cod house. Many students who feel that their lack of drawing ability will keep them from further architectural studies will soon discover methods to make sketching easier and give them the success they need to move on to harder subject matter.
The Art of Construction by Mario Salvadori (2000) is another excellent book written for children and employs the use of everyday materials to build models that demonstrate the principles of construction. …