Monday, October 5, 2009

The Marriage of Art to Music

Da Vinci Art study and Gregorian Chant
We have been very fortunate in our artist study to have such a wonderful support group. It is such a blessing to have the opportunity to study along side other homeschoolers from time to time. It a real treat for the kids and for the parents to witness such an atmosphere of fellowship. Once a month we meet at the local park and take time to study famous artwork and listen to good music. This makes for a great introduction to our at home studies, which we then build upon in our own special way.
** Note the enthusiasm in my 5 yr. old's face**
I have been working on creating a curriculum which builds upon our love of the fine arts through merging the study of art with classical music. These two forms of expression are uniquely suited for each other in study. Being a musician myself, the correlation between music, art and dance has always seemed very evident to me. There is no doubt that all three of these mediums have direct influence on one another. We can see the evidence of this through out the course of history. All 3 of these art forms can incite such passion and emotion, they help us to recollect memories, inspire creativity, and as mentioned in " The Mozart Effect;" They have the power to stimulate brain activity. A recent re-read of the book "Better Music, Brighter children" reminded me of the depth of influence these mediums have, as well as the responsibility that we have as parents to insure that our children receive the proper Fine Art influences. *** my daughter focuses on the subject during this drawing exercise***

This month, we have been studying Leonardo Da Vinci. There is such a challenge in studying the magnitude of this man. He was a genius in his own right, and I know that we will be returning to our studies of him for years to come. I have opted to pair our studies of Da Vinci with Gregorian chant and the music of Josquin Desprez. Thus far, we have been paying particular attention to Da Vinci's sketches, and using the opportunity to advance ourselves in the skill of observation and contour drawing. ***notebooking page courtesy of ***

His completed oil works, particularly ones such as; "The Annunciation," "The Virgin of the Rocks," "The Last Supper," and "the Mona Lisa" are paintings that we have been viewing while listening to Josquin Desprez. All of his music is both classical and reverent, as are most of Da Vinci's paintings. Still, You can hear the underlying influence of the notable Renaissance sound that we are all so familiar with.

*** My daughter's (9) free hand sketch of the Mona Lisa ***

Charlotte Mason is a great advocate of atmosphere. A joyful environment, indeed, makes for a joyful learning experience. In this instance, it was important for me to provide an atmosphere in which my children could hear the musical influence in art through the subject of time period. There are occasions in which I have Chosen to match a particular song with a certain artwork. Not only does this particular method engage the totality of ones senses, but it makes music and art more tangible. It gives a child the ability to internalize. It enables the child to understand that Music, Art, and Dance speak to us; they all have a story to tell. The following pictures are examples of blind contour drawing. It is important in building observational skills. It will no doubt aid in the study of famous artwork. As your child becomes more aware of the details, he/she will become more able to distinguish one artist's style vs. another.
***Subject 1 of Blind Contour Drawing***
*** 5 yr. old contour drawing***
***9 yr. old contour drawing***
*** subject 2 of contour drawing***

***contour drawing by 9 yr. old with added detail afterward***

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"A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it
down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by
acting."- Henry David Thoreau.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
-Proverbs 22:6