Each week we spend some time learning about artists during homeschool. I’ve wanted my children to have the context of history (referencing our world history wall timeline during the process) to back up our art study so we started with studying art from previous periods leading up to the Renaissance (inspired by the Art History Timeline provided and referenced in the American Heritage School Kindergarten Art curriculum I purchased last fall). However, I’ve been counting down the days until FINALLY it was time to introduce my children to Michelangelo Buonarroti and the Italian Renaissance. Finally, yesterday was the day!!!
Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all are come. – Michelangelo
Having studied so much art while refining my own art skills during my youth, Michelangelo has always been one of my VERY favorite artists. I was so inspired by his Pieta that I created a mixed-media charcoal and oils painting of Mary during my Senior year of high school as a gift to my mother.
However, as a mother of so many little ones, I haven’t taken, nor created, the opportunity to bring out my oil paints for years. For now, I am perfectly satisfied to share my love of art with my children by helping them experience art and make it real to them.
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. – Michelangelo
One of the many things that I love about Michelangelo is that he spent so much of his youth learning as much as he could to master his skills. “At age 13 he learned the traditional painting and sculpture techniques from the painter Domenico Ghirlandaio and the sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni. From ages 15 to 17 he went to live with the noted art patron and ruler of Florence, Lorenzo de’ Medici…. When Lorenzo died, Michelangelo went to Venice and Rome. He studied anatomy and learned the structure of the human body,” – pg. 99, American Heritage School Kindergarten Art curriculum by Heidi Boden.
Michelangelo didn’t just wake up one day, try painting and sculpture and then get hired to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling. He really worked to refine his skills and aimed for absolute perfection in the use of his talents. This is such a great example to children. I want my children to see that talent doesn’t negate the labor of love required in developing that talent. The labor of love to learn and improve upon the talent is what gives that talent wings to fly.
If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all. – Michelangelo
Obviously, you can see that I adore Michelangelo Buonarroti and I didn’t want to introduce one of the world’s greatest artists to them lightly. I wanted them to remember him somehow and start to develop an appreciation for his work. Because of this, I was absolutely thrilled to see how the American Heritage School Kindergarten Art curriculum connects the children to Michelangelo.
After telling my children all about Michelangelo’s life and showing them some of his work, we talked about his paintings on the Sistine Chapel ceiling (one of Michelangelo’s greatest and most famous works). Then, the AHS K Art curriculum suggested taping a piece of paper on the under side of a table and then having the children draw a picture with crayons while underneath. This was to help them experience a tiny taste of what it would have been like for Michelangelo to spend four years of his life painting the Sistine Chapel this way.
We had SO much fun with this project! My kids all had such a unique experience where I could tell it was really making an impression on them. They’d say things like, “this is hard,” “my neck hurts,” “my arm hurts,” “I’m tired,” to which I smiled and replied, “just think of doing this for four years! Claire, you’d be 9 by the time you finished! Isn’t Michelangelo amazing?” They’d talk about how hard it was to make the art look nice this way, almost believing it was impossible for it to be any other way. Then I reminded them of how beautiful Michelangelo’s paintings were on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. We talked about how tricky it must have been and how he must have gotten a lot of paint dripped on his face. It was hilarious and so much fun to see Michelangelo’s work come alive to them!
This was one of those times where one of my dreams for homeschooling my children came true: to develop within my children a love of art and an appreciation and excitement for their own divine capacity to create.
Later that day, I caught my two oldest children commenting on the prints of some of Michelangelo’s famous works that I hung on the bulletin board in the hall. “Look at how many colors he used!” I heard them saying. It was a proud, proud moment for me… which, sadly, I quickly ruined – accidentally – by stepping in and commenting with them which led them to walk away, no longer interested in their discovery. Yikes. 😉
Many believe – and I believe – that I have been designated for this work by God. In spite of my old age, I do not want to give it up; I work out of love for God and I put all my hope in Him. – Michelangelo
I’m so grateful for Heidi Boden’s creative way of bringing Michelangelo to life! This art project was so fun and I’m certain my children will remember it for a long time. To supplement Heidi’s Kindergarten Art curriculum from American Heritage School, I also purchased the printed “Michelangelo Picture Study Portfolio” from SimplyCharlotteMason.com. It came with beautiful prints that I hung in the hall on our bulletin board, as well as stories and discussion-starters for each of the prints. So fun!
How do you encourage the love of art in your home? We’re excited to hear your ideas! What’s worked and what hasn’t? Is art study a part of your homeschooling?