02. Ancient Mediterranean, 03. Early Europe & Colonial Americas, 04. Later Europe & Americas, 05. Indigenous Americas, 06. Africa, 07. Central & West Asia, 08. South, East, & Southeast Asia, 09. The Pacific, 10. Global Contemporary, Art & Humanities, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Paganism, Religion, Teaching

Art Through Time: A Global View

Art Through Time: A Global View

When talking to other art history teachers I kept noticing that not that many people knew about Annenberg Learner resources. Their series “Art Through Time: A Global View” is amazing & perfect for the AP Art History curriculum. I know time is short in any AP course so its important to plan lessons that pack a lot of punch. I hardly show films or documentaries in my AP classes, but I do take the time to show every one of these episodes (each one is just under 30 minutes too!).

*2020 update: many of us are experiencing hybrid or all virtual teaching in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic & these videos are awesome to use in this format! They are all available for free online (links attached below) and you can assign students one to watch the videos at home then put them in to virtual groups with discussions questions or save the discussion portion for a face-to-face lesson. See the blog post below for connections to the AP Art History curriculum & pacing ideas.

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1. Converging Culture

Artworks related to the 250:

Lesson Plan

I typically show this video after I have covered a majority of Western & Non-Western art until the 19th century (most definitely after I teach the European colonization of the Americas) so that my students have full contextual information on early globalization before the 20th century to make the cross-cultural references needed here.

Questions for discussion:

  • How can hybrid art define individual identity?
  • How can art inspire technical innovation?
  • How can art aid in the reconciliation of new and old beliefs?
  • What makes a work of art appealing to a foreign audience?
  • What can images of foreigners tell us about the people that make them?
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2. Dreams and Visions

Artworks related to the 250:

  • Ecstasy of St. Teresa
  • The Scream
  • Frida Kahlo (The Two Fridas)
  • Lintel 25, Structure 23, Yaxchilán
  • The Jungle
  • Aboriginal Dreaming art (Earth’s Creation)

Lesson Plan

I have stuck this video in a different unit every time. I still haven’t found my “favorite” spot for it & honestly I keep in on hand if I ever have a weird week with dead space. However, I think it is best placed after lessons on Baroque and Maya art but it can also be used as a preview of Surrealist art. There’s no bad spot for this video as long as you have covered something discussed in the theme.

Questions for discussion:

  • How can imagined scenes speak to real world concerns?
  • How can art represent that which is unseeable?
  • What is the relationship between art and dreams?
  • How do we represent dreams in art?
  • Why do we depict visionary experience?

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3. History and Memory

Artworks related to the 250:

  • Jacques-Louis David (Oath of the Horatii)
  • Lukasa (memory board)
  • Jacob Lawrence (The Migration of the Negro, Panel no. 49)
  • Romanticized Indigenous Portrait (Tamati Waka Nene)
  • Maya Codex (Frontispiece of the Codex Mendoza)
  • Bayeux Tapestry
  • Column of Trajan, Forum of Trajan
  • Marie de’Medici Cycle (Henri IV Receives the Portrait of Marie de’Medici)
  • Shahnama (Bahram Gur Fights the Karg, folio from the Great Il-Khanid Shahnama)
  • Holocaust Memorials (Androgyne III)
  • Native American Resettlement Art (Painted elk hide)

Lesson Plan

I have found that this video has worked best either during my unit of African art (Content Area 06. Africa) to actually teach the Lukasa OR it works well as a preview to Neoclassicism and Romanticism (Content Area 04. Later Europe & Americas). Wherever you place it, try to make the video as relevant to students. I would never, for example, use this during my Classical Worlds Unit (Greek, Etruscan & Roman art) because they would not have enough content knowledge to appreciate the other connections in the video. But it would obviously be imprudent to save all the videos until the end, so try to make sure students have seen a good number of the images so that they can make thematic connections even with pieces they have not seen yet but will soon learn about.

Questions for discussion:

  • How can pictorial history support dynastic rule?
  • How can images be used to structure historical narratives?
  • Why might individuals document their personal histories in art?
  • When it comes to art, how do we define historical accuracy?
  • Can images lend authority to mythic history?
  • How can art help us come to terms with traumatic memory?

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4. Ceremony and Society

Artworks related to the 250:

  • Louis XIV (The Palace of Versailles)
  • Basin (Baptistère de St. Louis)
  • Hawaiian feathered outfit (‘Ahu ‘ula (feather cape))
  • House Post Figure (Veranda post)
  • Persepolis Reliefs (Audience Hall (apadana) of Darius and Xerxes)
  • Bundu mask
  • Mughal Manuscript (Jahangir Preferring a Sufi Shaikh to Kings)
  • Power figure (Nkisi n’kondi)
  • Congo kingly ceremonial objects (Ndop (portrait figure) of King Mishe miShyaang maMbul)
  • Medieval metallurgy (Merovingian looped fibulae)
  • Beaded Headdress (Aka elephant mask)

Lesson Plan

I always show this video before I teach my African & Oceanic Unit (I combine most of the artworks from Content Area 06. Africa & Content Area 09. The Pacific). I use it to introduce major themes present in those two regions and as a review to connect it to other ceremonial pieces we have encountered. This video covers art that is meant to be used (masks, ceremonial costumes, etc.) and is perfect for art from Africa and Oceania that lacks the emphasis on non-functional art prevalent in Western cultures.

Questions for discussion:

  • How can dress convey power?
  • What role do objects play in ceremonies of power?
  • What is the significance of location in ceremonies?
  • Why do we “dress up” for ceremonial occasions?
  • How do masks transform their wearers?

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5. Cosmology & Belief

Artworks related to the 250:

  • Great Mosque, Córdoba
  • Shiva sculpture (Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja))
  • Buddha statues (Jowo Rinpoche, enshrined in the Jokhang Temple)
  • Isenheim altarpiece
  • The Kaaba
  • Theotokos Icon (Virgin (Theotokos) and Child between Saints Theodore and George)
  • Byzantine church architecture (Hagia Sophia)
  • Medieval reliquary (Reliquary of Sainte-Foy, Church of Sainte-Foy)
  • Vladimir Kandinsky (Improvisation 28 (second version))
  • Maya architecture (Yaxchilán)
  • Gothic cathedral (Chartres Cathedral)
  • Greek gods (Athena, Great Altar of Zeus and Athena at Pergamon )

Lesson Plan

When creating my AP Art History curriculum, I decided to combine many content areas to teach the fundamentals of the five major world religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, & Islam). This video does a great job of giving students a global view of how people use their religious views to create art, which has been a primary theme in art for most of humanity. The way my curriculum is laid out I usually finish World Religions at the end of Quarter 1 which means this is a nice “break” during Quarter Exams week.

Questions for discussion:

  • What can architecture tell us about belief?
  • How do we picture our gods?
  • How can art facilitate communication with the divine?
  • What is the relationship between art, ritual, and belief?
  • Why do we visualize creation?

Read more: Guidelines for Teaching World Religions

6. Death

Artworks related to the 250:

Lesson Plan

This video is most applicable to a major theme in Ancient Egyptian art: death & the afterlife. Therefore this is the first video from the series I show my kids & the topic usually sucks them in. I show this after I have discussed a majority of Egyptian funerary art during my Ancient Near East & Egyptian Unit (Content Area 02. Ancient Mediterranean).

Questions for discussion:

  • Can art uncover a lighter side of death?
  • How has art been used as a guide to death and dying?
  • What can art about death tell us about life?
  • How can art make the absent present?
  • What do funerary arts reveal about cultural beliefs and values?

Read more: Your Guide to Catholic Holidays on Death

7. Domestic Life

Artworks related to the 250:

  • Faith Ringgold (Dancing at the Louvre, from the series The French Collection, Part I; #1)
  • Fallingwater
  • Villa Savoye
  • Pompeii frescoes (House of the Vettii)
  • Dutch genre scene (Woman Holding a Balance)

Lesson Plan

I use this video during my 20th Century Unit to teach Villa Savoy and Fallingwater. After we watch the 28 minute episode I put students in to pairs, give each partner a different article provided by the “Art Through Time: A Global View” program (one article on Villa Savoye & one article on Fallingwater). They read individually, annotate their article, and then share with their partner.

Questions for discussion:

  • Where is the art in design?
  • Where is the line between “art” and “craft”?
  • What do our homes say about us?
  • What is the role of painting in domestic life?
  • What can we learn from images of domestic life?
  • How can a way of life influence a culture’s artistic forms?

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8. Writing

Artworks related to the 250:

  • Jewish Haggadah (Golden Haggadah)
  • Lindisfarne Gospels
  • Qu’ran manuscript (Folio from a Qur’an)
  • Xu Bing (A Book from the Sky)
  • Mesoamerican Codex (Frontispiece of the Codex Mendoza)

Lesson Plan

I love showing this video during my Medieval Europe Unit, right after I have taught about the medieval manuscripts in the 250. My Medieval Europe Unit (Content Area 03. Early Europe & Colonial America) also comes right after my World Religions Unit, and this video provides a perfect bridge from Islamic Art to Medieval Christian Art.

Questions for discussion:

  • What is the relationship between word and image?
  • Where do we draw the line between word and image?
  • Why do we decorate sacred text?
  • When it comes to the art of writing, how important is legibility?
  • How has technology impacted the relationship between word and image?
  • In the public sphere, what makes writing art?

Read more: Writing & Art

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9. Portraits

Artworks related to the 250:

Lesson Plan

I haven’t really found a “good”  place to stick this one so I usually wait until the very end of the year to use as thematic review or I have had my students watch it over Spring Break for extra credit. Out of all 13 episodes this one seems to “click” the least with the rest of the AP Art History curriculum but it would seriously bother me if I just skipped it. lol If you are one of those teachers with time after the AP test, this video could be a great jumping off point for a student self-portrait project. We never have more than a week after the test so I tend to put myself on cruise control. 🙂

Questions for discussion:

  • How can portraits convey authority?
  • What does “likeness” mean?
  • How can a portrait make a broader social statement?
  • Why make more than one copy of a portrait?
  • How can we represent the intangible in portraits?

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10. The Natural World

Artworks related to the 250:

  • Great Serpent Mound
  • Spiral Jetty
  • Hudson River School landscape (The Oxbow (View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm))
  • Chinese scroll (Travelers among Mountains and Streams)
  • Japanese polychrome woodblock (Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura), also known as the Great Wave, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji)
  • Central Park (The Gates)

Lesson Plan

This video, surprisingly, makes a great thematic connection between the indigenous arts of the Americas (Content Area 05. Indigenous Americas) and the arts of East Asia (Content Area 07. South, East, and Southeast Asia). The past few years I have used this video to transition between units on Indigenous American Art & East Asian Art, but you could put it anywhere that addresses one of those two content areas.

Questions for discussion:

  • How can art help us see the spiritual in nature?
  • Does art imitate nature or vice versa?
  • How can landscape speak to issues of national identity?
  • Why do we create Earthworks?
  • Does art influence the way we view the natural world?

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11. The Urban Experience

Artworks related to the 250:

  • Parthenon
  • American skyscraper (Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building & Seagram Building)
  • Great Mosque of Djenné
  • The Gates
  • Impressionism city life (The Saint-Lazare Station)
  • Art of the working poor (The Stone Breakers)
  • White Temple and its ziggurat

Lesson Plan

Although feel like this video would go well after teaching all of Content Area 02. Ancient Mediterranean, I always seem to sneak while teaching the Renaissance because I feel it correlates well with the Palazzo Rucellai even though that building is not directly addressed in the episode. Honestly it’s more of a timing thing for me because I already show 2 of these videos to my students in the beginning of the year and I prefer to spread them out.

Questions for discussion:

  • How can urban planning communicate ideology?
  • What makes a mural relevant to its audience?
  • Why has the modern city inspired so many artists?
  • What is the function of art in public places?
  • Can an urban landscape be experienced through representation?

12. Conflict & Resolution

Artworks related to the 250:

  • Y no hai Remedio (And There’s Nothing to Be Done)
  • Russian Revolution propaganda (Illustration from The Results of the First Five-Year Plan)
  • Diego Rivera (Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Park)
  • Kara Walker (Darkytown Rebellion)
  • Chairman Mao en Route to Anyuan
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Bamiyan Buddhas
  • Muslim women (Rebellious Silence, from the Women of Allah series)
  • Protestant iconoclasm (Allegory of Law and Grace)

Lesson Plan

This piece fits perfectly into my 20th Century Art Unit (I split up Content Area 04. Later Europe & Americas into two: an 18th & 19th Art Century Unit and a 20th Century Art Unit). The 20th century was rife with conflict while it was trying to create a “new world order” post both world wars. This video brings up so many good, & difficult, questions that personally touches many students.

Questions for discussion:

  • How and why do we represent scenes of conflict?
  • What happens when art is at the center of conflict?
  • How can artists use images to serve or resist institutions of power?
  • What can images of war tell us about attitudes toward war?
  • What makes art an effective form of social commentary or political criticism?

13. The Body

Artworks related to the 250:

  • Amarna Period art (Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and three daughters)
  • Doryphoros (Spear Bearer)
  • Sistine Chapel ceiling and altar wall frescoes
  • Hindu Temple (Lakshmana Temple)
  • Oceanic tattooing (Tamati Waka Nene)
  • Paul Gauguin (Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?)
  • Orientalizing Women (La Grande Odalisque)
  • Egyptian canon (King Menkaura and queen)
  • Renaissance nudity (David)
  • Greek goddess (Winged Victory of Samothrace)

Lesson Plan

I show this episode as a review of art from my Classical World Unit (Content Area 02. Ancient Mediterranean art of Ancient Greece, Etruscans & Roman). It serves as a great review of the impact that classical Greek art has in Western art history and introduces a pervasive topic throughout the year: the human body.

Questions for discussion:

  • What becomes of the “colonial” body in post-colonial art?Can art contribute to the formation of bodily ideals
  • What kinds of messages can be conveyed through a body’s posture and pose
  • How are attitudes toward the naked body expressed through art?
  • Is the meaning of nudity in art universal
  • Is fashion art?

Read more: Student Series! Male Beauty in Ancient Greece

JMF

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