Tag Archive | Art

Vermeer, His World and Girl with a Pearl Earring

If you have read my earlier post entitled The World Of Rembrandt and Free Books you will know that I have created an art curriculum this year that has my children and me convinced that the study of art should definitely become a mainstay in our home education. We have always enjoyed some “picture study” but hadn’t taken it a step farther to where we are studying the art as well as the artist until now. My oldest daughter is happy to devote a large portion of her day to these lessons, even setting up a “class” in which she shares her enthusiasm with her younger siblings. Whenever this happens I know I’ve found a keeper! Enthusiasm and inspiration seem to be catchy! 

Her favorite lesson so far has been that of the Dutch artist Vermeer. Choosing a favorite artist might be similar to choosing a favorite book, each new one seems to be more wonderful than the last, until we pick up the previous work again! I really like Vermeer myself, with his simple, peaceful looking scenes of every day life as well as the idealistic Holland landscapes. (And I am happy to say that I didn’t run into the nudity dilemma with Vermeer like with some of the others.) 

I have been so happy (and relieved) to see in the last couple of years that my older children are making connections between things we have learned over the years. For example, last year we became sidetracked while studying the pilgrims and spent a few weeks immersed in The Netherlands. We even took a virtual tour of Amsterdam. I mean, what’s not to love? Wooden shoes, tulips and flower markets, windmills. Wouldn’t it be dreamy to ice skate down the canals during the winter celebration? The Netherlands became my new dream adventure, sorry, Italy! Add the story of Hans Brinker between times and now Vermeer. I always have all of my children find the places we talk about on the globe. And, perhaps the main reason I love teaching my kids at home so much, I am receiving a higher education myself. Upon hearing about our Vermeer study my mom recommended that I read the New York Times best seller Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. A very well written historical fiction about the mystery model in Vermeer’s painting Girl in a Turban. So my children learn and I am inspired to learn and grow with them. A man once made the comment to my husband that he feels bad for home schooled kids because they will only learn as much as their mothers know. Wow! Nothing could be farther from the truth! As the preacher in Ecclesiastes has said, “there is no end to knowledge”. Frightening if someone thought that they should complete twelve years of public school and receive a diploma and call themselves educated and cease from learning. 

Here is an outline of our lesson on Vermeer. As always you are more than welcome to modify and use my ideas. The only thing I ask is that if you have it written or re-blogged you give me credit. Thanks!

Monday: Look up Vermeer in the  World Book encyclopedia. Read the entire article and write a short essay about what you have learned. Be sure to include dates and locations. Where is Delft? Find it on the Globe.

Tuesday: Look through The World of Vermeer and find some paintings that you really like. Tell me about them.

Wednesday: Spend twenty minutes or so in a quiet place studying the painting Christ in the House of Mary and Martha found on page 168 in The World of Vermeer. Read the Biblical accounts that inspired the painting.

Thursday: Write a few paragraphs comparing and contrasting Vermeer’s depiction of the scene and the way you would have shown it.

Friday: Spend the afternoon, using either acrylics or watercolors, trying to copy Vermeer’s painting or creating your own rendition of the scene.  




The World of Rembrandt and Free Books

ImageTwo of my favorite words in the English language, free and books. I love books of all sorts but free books are really cool. If they are old and free they’re even better. Seriously, I have yet to meet a homeschooling mom who can just walk by a box of free books. Hence the hoards of books that we pile up all over. Just looking around at all the book cases in my house makes me feel inspired! Sometimes, I must say, I think just gazing at all our books, on the shelf, will make us at least half educated. OK…..I know.

I was so excited to find these Time-Life Library of Art books in a free box somewhere along the way. I grabbed them up quickly before my homeschooling mom friend who was a few steps behind me could get them. (Just kidding! Sort of. But I would gladly lend them out anytime!)

Like so often happens books prove to be the source of my inspiration. I wasn’t sure how these particular ones would play into our school day but I knew they belonged here. I am a huge fan of the lovely Charlotte Mason and I love her idea of “picture study”. We have spent many memorable afternoons admiring and talking about famous and lesser known pieces of art. 

Earlier this fall I was flipping through these “World of…….” art books and I finally became inspired as to what to do with them. First though what to do with the nudity? I mean I have two sons. Two of the pictures, one of Bathsheba and another of Danae, I really wondered about. The other, Nude Seated on a Mound, not so much…….I decided to ask blue eyes because he is a man and he is wise. Anyway, he thought we should definitely err on the side of caution and get rid of the nudes so as not to put a stumbling block in our dear sons pathway. I really hated to do it in a way, but I used a glue stick and glued those pages together. You can hardly even tell they are there now unless you happened to notice the missing page numbers.  

I put together these lessons for our oldest daughter and she has loved them! I love them too because it takes very little effort on my part and I can see that she enjoys it so much! In fact  last week when she was studying Rembrandt she even got her brothers to be her students and set up a class for them using her lesson plan. As with anything on this blog you are more than welcome to modify and use my ideas to your heart’s content! Perhaps at a later date I will post the other lessons that go with the other books.

Monday: Look up Rembrandt in the encyclopedia and read the entire article. Write a summary about what you have learned. Be sure to include dates and locations. Where is Amsterdam? Find it on the globe.

Tuesday: As you may have read, Rembrandt liked to draw and paint self portraits. Study the self portraits on pages 7-14 in The World of Rembrandt. In which does he look the happiest? The saddest? The most peaceful?

Wednesday: Study the etching entitled Giving of Alms. Write a narrative about the picture.

Thursday: Look through The World of Rembrandt. Do any of the pictures really stand out to you? Write a paragraph or two about a picture you like and another about a picture that you dislike. Be sure to include the title and page number of each. 

Friday: Make a pencil drawing of yourself. Imagine that you want to capture the essence of yourself for future generations to see. Can you do it? Here you are just embarking on your journey as a young women! What feeling and ideas blend to make up who you are today? Can you catch them in your drawing? Make sure to sign and date your portrait.