Sunday, April 13, 2008

What Would Charlotte Mason Think?

"We recognise that the power of appreciating art and of producing to some extent an interpretation of what one sees is as universal as intelligence, imagination, nay, speech, the power of producing words. But there must be knowledge and, in the first place, not the technical knowledge of how to produce, but some reverent knowledge of what has been produced; that is, children should learn pictures, line by line, group by group, by reading, not books, but pictures themselves."

Charlotte Mason Volume 6 Page 214

I recently came across this video: Conversations with Mona Lisa

Honestly I was shocked. It is too much! It is so sad that we live in a society where people feel that even art masterpieces have to be animated in order to hold the attention of young ones. I had to ask myself, what would Charlotte Mason think?

While I am all for promoting a child's interest in art, this is the wrong way to go about it. How does turning great works of art into something more like television or a video game help children to appreciate true art? It doesn't.

Yes it may be more "fun" to watch a screen than view the still work, and to see the people in a painting move and explain exactly what they are doing, but the whole point is for children to discover for themselves what is in each painting. To find their own meaning in it. To compare it to what they already know. To make their own connections. To study it "line by line."

Charlotte Mason, as brought out in the quote above, advocated children learning from the painting itself and not from books which might discuss the painting. The same would hold true to videos and animated paintings. These masterpieces speak for themselves.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave them in the comments.


For a more Charlotte Mason based approach to art, be sure to check out my spring themed art, nature study and handicraft kit which includes a Rousseau art print and notebooking page, the art shows listed in my sidebar, as well as my Clouds in Art Mini Unit Study and Still Life Art Show Mini Unit Study.


jiffy11 said...

We just finished our first art study which focused on Claude Monet. I knew we'd enjoy studying art, but I didn't realize the extent of joy we'd find in it. Our appreciation for art has increased so much and I can appreciate and agree with your post.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

I personally don't like the idea myself. I just was at an art museum yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed just viewing the paintings and making my own connections. I do think it is nice to have some background on paintings and artists but not as part of a "show".

I personally thought the animated Last Supper was sort of creepy for some reason.

I know we are all different and I would love to see more children be turned on to great art but there must be a better way.

Thanks for sharing,
Mom-Barb-Harmony Art Mom

SummersHome said...

I agree with Mom-Barb-Harmony Art Mom. I thought the animated Last Supper was creepy too. Yuck! I prefer my children to make their own connection. It's amazing what they can see that sometimes we miss.

Linda in Ohio

Kysha said...

My dc watched the video and thought it was "cool" but the characters were all creepy to me. A tad bit on weird side for me.

Melissal89 said...

Thanks so much Amanda for submitting this post. I totally agree with you, very weird! And takes SO much away from true art appreciation. Can't say I'm really surprised in our "too fast moving" technologically driven world! It's a shame.

In the Sparrow's Nest

Jimmie said...

That video was quite interesting. I have mixed feelings. The information that was provided -- Renaissance standards of feminine beauty-- was quite fascinating. But of course, those facts can be presented in another format. It's just another sign of our changing world -- we are more and more VISUALLY preoccupied.

Dana Maize said...

I know my boys would think the animations were "cool," but it would be a shame if that was their only exposure to classic artwork. I'd much rather have them enjoy it the "old-fashioned" way, forming their own thoughts about such beautiful works of art.

Makita said...

I don't like it either for all the reasons already shared. It is just too bad that society feels we need to entertain so much... the art of learning as expressed by The Thomas Jefferson Education and The Well Trained Mind is being lost to technology.