Art from Art

By Anderson, Kent | School Arts, January 1990 | Go to article overview

Art from Art


Anderson, Kent, School Arts


Art From Art

"Looks like a sculpture by Van Gogh ... but I thought that Van Gogh never did sculpture?" This could be a comment by anyone viewing the sculptured sunflowers in the adjacent illustration. But, while there is a suggestion of Van Gogh's expressive response to natural form, these sunflowers were created by elementary age children whose investigation of the content and form of Vincent Van Gogh's imagery (see Clip Card from Allen Caucutt) served as a point of departure for their individual skills and immagination.

Artists and students have looked to the art of other artists for themes and modes of expression for many centuries. Some of the finest art hanging in prestigious museums and private collections has roots in the ideas and images of others, from Cezanne and Picasso to Sherrie Levine. I wouldn't doubt that some cave painter in Lascaux might have crawled deeper into the cave to note the renderings of respected ancestors.

All this is not to suggest that children should be encouraged to slavishly copy the techniques of other artists or the styles of other eras. The theme of this issue, Art from Art, features articles by art teachers who have effectively employed this instructional strategy as a means to enable children to better understand the artwork of others, while developing their own perceptions, insights and visual statements. These teachers have made effective use of available resources that include museum and gallery visits, as well as the many slides, filmstrips, videotapes and reproductions that provide in-depth information about art and artists.

The Art from Art theme also provides and opportunity to reflect on the sources of art imagery. As teachers, we attempt to expand our students' arsenal of ideas. We talk of inner feelings and outer objects and contexts, of still lifes, landscapes, portraits and other catalysts that provide us with opportunities to draw lines, brush paint and form clay. …

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