ART CONNECTIONS tour packet CONNECTIONS SYMBOLISM IN ART 5th Grade ART CONNECTIONS the tour YOUR VISIT The fifth grade tour will last an hour and a half. One half of your visit will be spent in the galleries where students will learn about symbolism and mythical subject matter in art. Students will learn to decode symbols in art from early Egypt through the twentieth century, and will learn to identify mythological subject matter. During the second half of your tour, symbol recognition will be reinforced with a visit to the exhibits in Art Connections. Students will also participate in a hands-on studio activity. INFORMATION BACKGROUND INFORMATION In the English language, we use words (verbal symbols) to communicate with others. In the language of art, we use visual symbols rather than words. Symbols in art are images that stand for something else. Symbolism is a visual language, and like any language, it is learned, and depending on place and time, languages differ. Early people used symbols to appease their gods, to petition for food, rain, or help defend against enemies, and to give thanks. Symbols were placed on cave walls, container forms, clothing, ceremonial objects, totems, architecture, jewelry, sculpture, and tools. Symbols appear on the same kinds of objects in contemporary times. We recognize symbols every day in traffic signs, directional markers, trademarks, or computer icons. Myths are often depicted in art. A myth is a story that explains something. Myths frequently deal with the actions of gods or god-like beings. Mythical figures may represent forces of nature, like thunder or the sea; aspects of human character, like bravery or evil; or vocations like music or poetry. The individuals in myths often become symbols for intangible ideas. BEFORE YOUR VISIT • Review the information about the images in this packet. Show the images to your students and point out that each contains a number of symbolic clues that could be read by the audience for whom the artwork was made. • Have students describe what they see in each image: subject matter, colors, shapes, lines, textures. List recognizable objects. • Ask the students to speculate: How was the art object made? What were the materials, techniques, and process used? • Examine the composition to note what colors, lines, shapes, textures, spaces and patterns seem to stand out. Why are they dominant? • What information is being given by the artwork? What seems to be the message? ART CONNECTIONS vocabulary ALLEGORY A work in which the characters and events represent other things, and symbolically express a deeper spiritual, moral or political meaning. COAT-OF-ARMS COAT-OF- An arrangement of symbols, usually depicted on and around a shield, which indicates ancestry and distinctions. HIEROGLYPH A picture or symbol that represents an Egyptian word, syllable, or sound. MYTH A traditional story of unknown authorship, serving usually to explain some phenomenon of nature. SYMBOL An object, or image, used to represent something else, often an abstract concept such as love. VANITY Excessive pride, especially in your appearance. Profile of the Pharaoh Ramses II Egyptian, c. 1290-1280 BC 1290- limestone fragment ABOUT THE SCULPTURE Funerary customs were important to the Egyptians, and each community had its own gods and goddesses. The Pharaoh was considered divine, and was responsible for the flooding of the Nile that allowed the yearly harvests. The Cummer relief depicts Ramses II in full regalia. Ramses's crown is composed of different symbolic elements. The upper tier is made of ram's horns, cow's horns, a sun disk and double plumes. The ram's horns were associated with power and fertility and are seen in the crowns of many Egyptian gods. The sun disk placed between cow's horns was associated with the rising sun and the celestial cow, which is identified with the Egyptian goddess Hathor. Double plumes are used on the crown of Osiris, who in Egyptian mythology, was the first king and later became the king of the underworld. The Royal Uraeus-serpent wraps around the band on the Pharaoh's forehead. Uraeus supposedly spit fire at the king's enemies. The false beard attests to Ramses's powerful position. The beard was worn by all pharaohs as a symbol of power. The pharaoh is shown as an idealized youth, in the prime of his life, full of power. The Pharaoh Ramses II is identified through his cartouche carved in the limestone, which states the pharaoh's name in hieroglyphics framed by a representation of a cartouche, an oval loop of rope tied in a knot at one end. The origin of this piece is unknown. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS • Have the class look at the reproduction and describe it. Ask these questions: What do you see in this relief sculpture? How do you think it was made? Explain to the students that this work would have originally been brightly painted. • Have students analyze the way the parts of the sculpture work together. Ask these questions: What is the most important part of the sculpture? Is this a natural way to stand? How does a person's eye look in profile? • Have the class interpret what the work is about. Ask these questions: Do you think this is a realistic view or one from the artist’s imagination? Clarify and discuss the term symbol. Can you think of any modern symbols? What symbols can you identify in this relief sculpture? Discuss hieroglyphics and point out the hieroglyphics on the right side of the fragment. Jacques Grief, called de Claeuw Dutch, 1641-1677 • Vanitas, Ask at this image. Have the class sit quietlwhile looking Vanitas 1677 these questions: Do you enjoy looking at this sculpture? oil on canvas ABOUT THIS PAINTING ABOUT THE PAINTING Thanks to prosperity created by such mercantile concerns as the Dutch East India Company, a system of patronage developed in 17th century Holland that differed from the Catholic nations, where artists worked for the Church or the aristocracy. The new Dutch Protestant middle class avidly purchased paintings as decorations for their homes. Secular subjects such as landscapes, marine scenes, genre subjects (scenes of everyday life), and still-lifes were in vogue. De Claeuw was noted for his still-life vanitas subjects. The vanitas theme emphasized the transience of life, and how earthly wealth and beauty inevitably succumb to death. The objects that best conveyed a sense of the impermanence of life and worldly pleasures were first used as accessories in portraits. Soon assemblies of these objects evolved into independent subjects. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS • Have the class look at the image and describe it. Ask these questions: What different objects do you see in the still life? What colors do you see in this painting? • Have the class analyze the way the parts of the painting work together. Ask these questions: What is the focal point of the picture? Is there any compositional organization found in the arrangement of objects? Are the textures portrayed realistic? • Have the class interpret what the painting is about. Ask these questions: What is the artist trying to communicate in this painting? What is a symbol? Which objects symbolize wealth and power (seal with coat of arms, money bag, gold coins, deed with seals, tobacco, porcelain)? Which objects symbolize worldly pleasures (literature, musical instruments, painting tools, books, flies)? Which objects symbolize time and the future (deck of cards, wilted roses, shrouded globe with astrological signs, hour glass, bell, burning candle, almanac-used to predict the weather)? Which objects symbolize death (ace of spades, candle with flame almost out)? • Have the class sit quietly and look at the painting. Ask these questions: Do you like the painting? What do you like about it or not like about it? How does the painting make you feel? What does it make you think about? John Steuart Curry American, 1897-1946 Allegory, Parade to War, Allegory 1938 oil on canvas ABOUT THE PAINTING John Steuart Curry was part of the American Scene or Regionalist movement of the early 1930s. The Regionalists believed that art was not for the elite but for all people and often chose subjects reflecting nationalistic pride. Curry made preliminary sketches for Parade to War, Allegory in 1933, although the final piece is dated 1938. The 1930’s were the decade of The Great Depression, a period of great economic struggle, between the first and second World Wars. The years 1933 to 1938 also span the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who introduced government- funded art projects that helped employ many artists, including Curry. An allegory is a long and complicated story with an underlying meaning that is different from the surface meaning. In this painting, we see a military parade of soldiers going off to war. Curry showed a feeling of excitement that usually surrounds a parade but upon closer inspection one sees that the "future heroes" going off to war have the faces of skeletons. Curry contrasted the hope and expectations of the start of war with the outcome, too often, death and despair DISCUSSION QUESTIONS • Have the class look at the image and describe it. Ask these questions: What do you see in this painting? Identify the figures and what they are doing. What colors do you see in the painting? How do you think this painting was made? • Have the class analyze the way the parts of the painting work together. Ask these questions: Which areas are the lightest, which are the darkest? What is the most important part of the painting? How does the artist draw attention to the figures? • Have the class interpret what the painting is about. Ask these questions: Is this a scene from a long time ago? What are the clues that help you decide? Why does the artist choose to show the soldiers' faces as skeletons? How do you think this artist felt about war? What type of feeling do you get by looking at this work? Ask students to identify any symbols they see. • Have the class sit quietly and look at the painting. Ask these questions: Do you like this painting? What can you learn from a painting like this? How does it make you feel? ART CONNECTIONS activities VIEWING ACTIVITY • Art reproductions and slides illustrating symbols are available from the Visual Education Center and may be sent to public schools through school mail. Call Fran Phelps (630-6514) for assistance. If you are outside of the Duval County School system, look for magazines, art reproductions, and videos in your media center. Refer to the Resource List for suggestions. • Visual symbols can be found in a variety of areas in modern life. As a class, assemble a collection of modern symbols and interpret the visual clues. Examples are: traffic signs, Olympic Games, informational markers, the zodiac, weather indicators, birthstones, the alphabet, the language of flowers, international flag codes, roadside signs, maps, or city directional guides. • Examine a series of symbols and interpret the visual clues. Ask students to research color symbolism. Color is rich in symbolic associations and is used by artists to affect our emotional reactions. The color blue, for example, is thought of as being cool, remote or heavenly, and can be associated with the color of the sky or the sea. Red is associated with fire and suggests violence and change. Red, however, can also denote dignity and stateliness when applied to ceremonial occasions. In our society, black is traditionally associated with mournfulness, death or forcefulness. It is important to remember that symbols mean different things to different people and may vary over time. WRITING ACTIVITY • Symbols are frequently abstractions of more complex images. The development of the alphabet illustrates the transformation of pictorial symbols into simplified characters. Ask students to research the history of the alphabet and discuss the changes seen as the letters evolved over time. • Read a myth to the class. Ask the children to describe the hero’s physical appearance, costume and behavior. How do these provide clues about the character? • As a class, learn about a set of specific symbols such as the semaphore flag code or Egyptian hieroglyphics. Have the students draw secret messages to be interpreted by a neighbor. ART CONNECTIONS activities LISTENING LISTENING ACTIVITY • The notes on the musical staff are symbols for sounds. Certain combinations of the sounds have become aural symbols, i.e., the bugle notes of Reveille, the organ notes of The Wedding March, the beginning notes of The Star Spangled Banner. Play a variety of these musically symbolic pieces. Ask the students to identify the symbolism in each piece. • Have your class listen to the Water Music Suite by George Frederic Handel. Ask them to describe the feeling the music gives. Draw or paint a symbol illustrating the composition. POST-VISIT ACTIVITY POST- • Look at examples of coats-of-arms. Discuss the organization of the images within the emblem format and talk about what the images might represent. • Locate traditional heraldic symbols and allow students to use those symbols or create symbols of their own to design a personal logo, emblem, or coat-of-arms. A helpful book is Design Your Own Coat of Arms by Rosemary A. Chorzempa. • Ask students to write their own myths to explain a natural phenomenon like thunder, snow, rain or a tornado. ART CONNECTIONS resources resources The following suggested books, musical selections and visual images are great resources to use with students to build an understanding of symbols in the world around us. Integrating these selections, as well as your own, with class lessons will enhance students’ communication, critical thinking and literacy skills. ENHANCEMENT LITERATURE ENHANCEMENT • Good Luck Symbols and Talismans (Looking into the Past: People, Places and Customs), Thomas Bracken • The American Eagle: The Symbol of America, Jon Wilson • Ancient Egypt (Sacred Symbols), Thames and Hudson • Give Me A Sign: What Pictograms Tell Us Without Words, Tiphanie Samoyault • Money, Money, Money: The Meaning of the Art and Symbols on United States Paper Currency, Nancy Winslow Parker • You Don’t Need Words: A Book About Ways People Talk Without Words, Ruth Belov Gross • Design Your Own Coat of Arms, Rosemary A. Chorzempa MUSIC ENHANCEMENT • The Star Spangled Banner • The bugle notes of Reveille • The Wedding March • Water Music Suite, George Frederic Handel • Sounds of Nature: Summer Nights, Chuck Plaisance, Suzanne Doucet • Carnival of the Animals, Camille Saint-Saens ENHANCEMENT VISUAL ARTS ENHANCEMENT • Egyptian Hieroglyphics • The American Flag • Flags of other nations • Posters of the Morse Code Dot and Dash Alphabet or the Semaphore Flag Alphabet • Adinkra symbols (African) WEB- INTERNET WEB-SITES • http//www.metmuseum.org (timeline of Art History) • http://www.carts.org (Cultural Arts Resource for Teachers and Students) • http://www.mythweb.com (Greek mythology) ART CONNECTIONS standards Students on this visit to the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens will focus on Language Arts, Social Studies and Visual Arts standards specified in the Florida Curriculum Framework. LANGUAGE ARTS • Writing standards addressed during the visit include (LA.126.96.36.199), (LA.188.8.131.52) and (LA.184.108.40.206). • Relating to the Reading, students will address the following standards (LA.220.127.116.11-5) and (LA.18.104.22.168). • During pre and post-visit activities, students will address Writing standards as they follow instructions for writing assighments (LA.22.214.171.124). SOCIAL STUDIES • Under American History, students discuss history and refer to a timeline (SS.5.A.1.1) and (SS.5.A.1.2). • Relating to Geography, students discuss geographic knowledge (SS.5.G.4.1). VISUAL VISUAL ARTS, MUSIC, AND DANCE • Under Skills and Techniques, the student understands and applies media, techniques, and processes (VA.A.1.2.1 – 4). • Relating to Creation and Communication, students will create and communicate a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas using knowledge of structures and functions of visual arts (VA.B.1.2.1 – 4). • Under Cultural and Historical Connections, students will understand the visual arts in relation to history and culture (VA.C.1.2.1, 2). • Relating to Aesthetic and Critical Analysis, students will assess, evaluate and respond to the characteristics of works of art (VA.D.1.2.1 – 3). • Under Applications to Life, students will make connections between the visual arts, other disciplines, and the real world (VA.E.1.2.1 – 3). ART CONNECTIONS logistics PRE- PRE-TOUR PACKET • These materials are to assist the teacher in preparing students for the field trip and to aid in introducing vocabulary and resource materials into the classroom. • Please call us immediately if the date, time or number of your students is NOT correct. TIME SCHEDULE • Tours begin at 9:30 AM or 11:15 AM, and will last an hour and a half. • It is essential that buses arrive 15 minutes early so that tours begin on time. • If a bus arrives late, the lesson will be shortened accordingly. • If you need to leave early, please notify us before your tour. BUS UNLOADING & PARKING • Buses should drop students off under the canopy at the Art Connections entrance. • If groups arrive by private car, they should park in the lots on Riverside. CHAPERONES • One chaperone (teacher or parent) is required for every 10 students and is admitted for free. Additional chaperones are $5.00 each. • The supervision and discipline of children is the responsibility of chaperones. STUDENT GROUPS • Be prepared to split students into groups (we WILL NOT know the number of groups until you arrive). • All students and chaperones should arrive at the museum wearing nametags. SPECIAL NEEDS • So that we may better serve your group, please let us know of any special needs. MUSEUM ETIQUETTE • Art Connections is a “hands-on” area and students are encouraged to explore with their eyes and hands. Please explain to students that touching is not permitted in the galleries. PICNIC AREA • The museum does not have picnic facilities and NO FOOD OR DRINKS ARE ALLOWED. • Two parks are in the area. Riverside Memorial Park (duck pond), is on the corner of Margaret and Park Street. Memorial Park (riverfront) is on Riverside Avenue about a half mile south of the museum. MUSEUM STORE • We now offer gift bags that will consist of several carefully selected and grade level appropriate items that relate to the students’ Museum visit. • Bags may be preordered and paid for at the time of your visit. Please contact Susan Tudor at 899-6036 for more information. 829 Riverside Avenue Jacksonville, Florida 32204 904.355.0630 www.cummer.org The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is recognized by the State of Florida as a Florida Cultural Institution and receives partial funding from the State of Florida Department of State, the Florida Arts Council, the Division of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. In Addition, Art Connections is sponsored in part by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Ida Broward Boyd and Crowther Mann Boyd, and Cindy and Dan Edelman.
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