VIEWS: 9 PAGES: 23 POSTED ON: 5/1/2011
The Michelangelo Portal Personal Opinion by Teodora Zeyya, Teacher in Drawing and Printmaking, National school of Arts “Dobri Hristov” Varna, Bulgaria The Michelangelo Portal has proved to be an excellent opportunity for the popularization of fine art on one hand and the transnational exchange of knowledge, ideas and professional experience, on the other. I would like to take the liberty of setting forth my personal observations and impressions and pointing out some of the most important advantages of the portal in relevance to the presentation of art in the perspective of multicultural collaboration and education: 1. The Importance of Multicultural Collaboration: ◘ It suggests alternative ways of imagining each country’s national art due to the better understanding of the inevitable differences in history, geographical situation (e.g. the change of boundaries), which explains the different influences on art tendencies, social factors, peculiarities of national culture and traditions; ◘ Shapes different notions about the perception of how to define what art is, what kind of social strata it addresses in the different countries, considered in the light of its interdependence with historical background, specifics of political factors and time line; ◘ Results in the formation of a new understanding of European art in its entity, constituted of the different accents contemporary artists, art teachers and researchers put on their national art heritage with respect to the various preconditions, determinant for the direction of its progress, together with their professional opinion for the selected authors and artworks and last, but not least, with their personal vision. ◘ Reveals the different aesthetics and visual culture of the participants; 2. The Online Courses: ◘ All the courses are well designed and comprehensive, they vary in subject and accented aspects, amount of information and approach to its presentation. I myself was highly impressed by the explicitness of structure, the elaborate and at the same time clearly organized presentation of the English art. The Polish course interested and excited me to a great extent. One of the reasons for my interest probably eventuates from Bulgarian and Polish peoples’ shared Slavonic nature. This fact furthers a number of similar occurrences with respect to the way of life, national psychology and even historical and social processes in both countries, which inevitably results in some relative closeness in their art as a combination of traditions, tendencies, means of expression and orientation. What fascinates me most about the Polish course is that it accents on the presentation of human form. The written material itself is very interesting, comprehensive and professionally elaborated. The Bulgarian course provides a considerable amount of information, which, I believe, is due to its authors’ desire to give our foreign colleagues the opportunity to become better acquainted with our national art. Regretfully, Bulgarian art is not very popular on an international scale. That is why I would like to express my personal delight that our course is a part of the Michelangelo Project and my admirations to the people, who managed to develop it with such professionalism. I am convinced that the interest our course provoked in the rest of the participants (my opinion is based mostly on the wonderful comments of our foreign colleagues), is the greatest possible compliment for its creators. ◘ The artists presented on the Michelangelo Portal are wonderfully selected not only according to their quality as creators and importance of the role they have played in the formation of the national art of their country, but because their masterpieces reveal different characteristic features of art in a certain period of its development, the historical and social factors that reflected it in that period and their personal understanding and attitude to these factors. The selection of artworks is also very good, the reproductions chosen are the most indicative in order to form a correct idea about the creative work and conceptions of their authors; ◘ All the online courses have a great potential of practical application, to a great extent due to the various interactive activities, visualizations, examples and exercises, which are most certain to prove very efficient for our teaching classes. In this reference I would like to mention modules 2 in both the Italian and German courses. In addition to its interesting and comprehensive material in module 1, the Italian course impresses with the representation of space in the interactive overview, the innovative approach to the video visualizations and the participation of students in the “Light and Dark” exercise. Besides its clearly organized structure, professional elaboration of artists’ selection and overall presentation, the German course is distinguished by the provided examples of teaching units. What fascinates me very much is the idea of bringing forward the particularly interesting, comprehensive and precise information about different techniques, which could also be very useful in school classes. 3. The Art Sources: The art sources are various, interesting and are going to be of particular benefit in the teaching and learning process. The only inconvenience comes from the fact that many of the articles posted are not written in English and regretfully, there is no option for reversing the language either, but this, of course, is understandable. 4. The Online Meetings: ◘ This is by all means a personal opinion, but I hope that the rest of the colleagues, who took part in these meetings, would agree with me that enlarging our personal knowledge was by far not the only benefit of the process of discussion. We were also provided with the priceless opportunity to develop a better understanding for the internal, strictly nationally determined factors, conditioning the identity, traditions, main characteristics and purpose of the art of the countries, working on the project; ◘ The online meetings made it possible for us to evolve a deeper comprehension and respect for the other participants’ ideas, opinions and conceptions of art, they even gave us a chance for a closer look on our colleagues’ teaching practices. For me, for example, it was of particular interest whether in the classes of the other schools the accent is placed on practical exercises, theoretical knowledge of art’s history, or they both are equally included in the course syllabus; ◘ It was a personally rewarding activity, because we came to know people in the same sphere of education, professional occupation and interests; ◘ I really hope that I express the shared perception of all the participants that it was an incredible and delightful experience for each one of us to meet people we could have considered different from us at first notion, but in the process of online discussion we formed a feeling of (this is the closest in meaning word I can think of) “community” and professional fulfillment as a result of our common motivation to earn more detailed knowledge and deeper understanding for European art, either as a whole and as a consistence of creative models, tendencies, manifestations, representatives and masterpieces, originating from diverse countries, their interdependence and the influence they have often had on one another. 5. The Comments: The comments are an inseparable and very important part of this project. It is definitely one of the Portal’s components that I myself like in particular. The posted impressions and views of all the participants are a natural and necessary supplement to the presented courses and are very conductive to the main objective of the project- the popularization of art of five European countries and the exchange of knowledge, ideas and professional experience by the means of multinational collaboration. ◘ The comments reveal what kind of influence the information of a certain course experts on other professionals and provide ground for sharing different learning, notions, artistic perceptions and aesthetic models; ◘ They bring up questions of direct concern to matters, that have not been completely elaborated and establish a basis for advancing the subjects in concern, often from a different point of view; ◘ Supplement to the presentations of artists or artworks by adding links to other art sources on the web and extending the useful data; ◘ The posted impressions and views contribute to the genesis of comparisons between art traditions, tendencies and artists in the different countries, thus promoting the better understanding of European art in its entirety; ◘ The opinions of the participants are an original overall evaluation of the information, the courses provide, its structure, clearness and thoroughness, its qualities and eventual shortcomings, which is an important precondition for further improvements of the developed material. 6. The New Technologies and Their Perspectives: As an online project, the Michelangelo Portal appears to be unique opportunity of exploring new ideas and perceptions of art in the prospect of new computer technologies and the incredible potential they provide for the popularization of art. They are in fact presenting an opening for dialogues, exchange of knowledge, opinions, a chance for a better creative exploration by the means of bringing together professionals from diverse cultures,regardless of distances, possibility to travel or material status of the individuals. 7. Practical Benefits of the Michelangelo Project, Regarding the Teaching and Learning Process: Since the rapid development of new computer technologies, the Internet provides us with the opportunity of quick and easy access to any kind of information. Proceeding from my personal observations, I consider it to be the main source of drawing knowledge and experience for most of my students. In this train of thought I am convinced that the Michelangelo Project would most certainly be extremely useful in our teaching work due to the following reason ◘ The access to the Portal is quick, it is easy to use, well organized and clearly structured, the information provided is comprehensive, profound and interesting; ◘ The images, attractive visualizations and interactive exercises contribute to provoking students’ curiosity and arousing their interest in the art of the participating countries; ◘ The Michelangelo Portal’s main advantage is that it actually provides information about some of the most prominent European artists in the period 10th- 20th Century and their artwork together with artists that might not be so well-known; ◘ It gives a brief information of the historical scene so that we could understand the development and tendencies of art in the context of historical preconditions and social factors; ◘ In conclusion, there are the bright and innovative ideas, used in the visualizations and practical exercises- they have a great contribution to the artistic and aesthetic appearance of the Portal. 8. Generalization of the Main Benefits: ◘ Collaboration is a process of learning from one another by sharing professional experience, knowledge and ideas, thus creating new perspectives for mutual understanding and laying the foundations for further cooperation and future projects; ◘ The Michelangelo Project generates a rich variety of genius examples of the constant searches of human spirit in many aspects, manifestations and achievements in the sphere of fine art- icons, folk art, psychological portrait, historical, religious and social painting and print; ◘ By the means of multinational collaboration, this project gives us the exceptional opportunity to widen our individual horizons. It reveals new views in reference to art and new concepts to exercise positive effect on our educational work due to their genesis from the deeper comprehension for foreign art history and practice (including teaching practices and models); ◘ The Michelangelo Portal’s potential as a web source is huge, because distance will no longer be an obstacle for communication. The possibility for common work and shared research by specialists in the same sphere of occupation and diverse nationalities is most certain to result in teachers’ increased individual qualification, professional experience and, consequently, in the improvement of the educational models, used in the teaching and learning process; ◘ The project provides an opportunity for an international educational approach, by the means of lessons, exploring the art history and forms of other countries and promoting students with understanding for different nations’ culture, conceptions, aesthetic values and even a possibility of sharing their own vision and knowledge of art with their coevals. 9. Some Perspectives for Further Development of the Project: ◘ I believe it would be a good idea to include more artists from each county. There are still no representatives of the 21st Century, for example, which might be a possible starting point for a future progress of the Michelangelo Portal; ◘ More opportunities could be provided for cultural and artistic exchange, for professional contacts, resulting in further cooperation and future collaborative art products and projects. I hope it would not be considered too bold of me if I took the liberty of proposing that the participating schools deliberated on developing students’ exchange programs at a further stage; ◘ I dare to express my personal opinion that if we involve our students more actively in the project (only the Italian colleagues have included their pupils so far), we could use the affinity for technologies that seem to be essential for their generation, their bright and fresh ideas and understanding of art through the prism of their outlook and impressions of art. It might be a good idea for the Michelangelo Portal to include a section where students could share their comments, post ideas, upload their own visualizations in order to illustrate their perception of art. I think it would be interesting if they uploaded their own pieces of work like paintings, graphic prints, sculptures or artistic photographs, because ultimately, don’t we all hope that our art students will become professional artists, who will be familiar with the classical traditions in art on one hand and contribute to the development of the newer tendencies on the other? And in this connection it might also be a good idea if we ourselves present samples of our artwork, which would be the best illustrative example of our perception of art. In Conclusion: Art has always played a most significant role in the formation of each country’s cultural history, lifestyle and even national consciousness. It is a reflection of the ideas of generations of talented artists and their perception of contemporary reality with its times either of prosperity or crisis, high morals or degradation, peace and security or warfare and starvation. In this train of thought I believe that teaching art is an important and necessary part of the education, because today’s students are the ones to build the future. This is the reason for me to believe that when it comes to popularizing fine art, the Michelangelo Portal is a big stride in the right direction. The information it provides and the innovative, attractive manner of presenting it is making it really easy for us as teachers to use it in classroom, as a part of the curriculum. Not so long ago I would have thought that it is rather impossible to create a web source which could actually summarize the art of five countries during the last ten centuries, so I would like to express my admirations to the people who have worked on this project and made it a reality. I believe that it is done in the best possible way. ◘◘◘ I would like to put into words my happiness about being a part of this project, because it not simply added to my personal knowledge of art, but provided me with the possibility to see each participating country’s art through the eyes of its contemporary artists and art professionals, which gave me a completely new understanding for it. The chance to meet the colleagues, working on the project and some of their students, and to be able to communicate with them, was a great pleasure and unforgettable experience for me. And last, but not least, I would like to express my gratitude to the Center for Human Resource Development - Bulgaria, Pixel Associazione - Italy and Zinev Art Technologies – Bulgaria, for the priceless opportunity to participate in the Michelangelo Project and the course for individual qualification that followed it.
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