01. Global Prehistory, 02. Ancient Mediterranean, 03. Early Europe & Colonial Americas, Art & Humanities, Teaching

Top Ten Posts of 2020

Top Ten Posts of 2020

Some of these are my classic AP Art History blog posts that always make the top ten list but there also are a few new ones this year. I really need to prioritize my art history posts, they are always my most successful; they just require to much work!

1. Distance Teaching Lesson Plan: Epidemics

This is one of the lesson plans I made this week for AP World History. This idea actually woke me up at night lol, teacher life, and I was really excited to create it. It’s perfect to connect history to our current situation, has the students practice with documents, and reviews epidemics we talked about! Win-win! Read more using the link above…

2. #95. The Virgin of Guadalupe (Virgen de Guadalupe). Miguel González. c. 1698 CE. Based on original Virgin of Guadalupe. Basilica of Guadalupe, Mexico City. 16th century CE. Oil on canvas on wood, inlaid with mother-of-pearl.

Before understanding religious imagery you have to first understand the religion’s doctrine and secondly understand the historical context in which the image was created. For example a painting of Jesus has a very different meaning in 4th century Rome than it does in 20th century America. And so it is with the Virgin Mary, who is the subject of this piece. Read more using the link above…

3. 2020-2021 School Year: Thoughts on Week 1

I waited to write this because I didn’t want my shock and anger of the first few days to color my view on week 1 of the pandemic school year, but I assure you my anger did not dissipate, it deepened.

I am not going to turn this into a rant but in short I find it disappointing that schools are in this disadvantaged position in the 21st century. Honestly, I felt like this pre-COVID but the pandemic has only exasperated that we are asking the impossible of public education and still blaming them with all of society’s ills. Enough. Take off the extra from our yoke, properly and responsibly fund us and watch the magic we can perform. Read more using the link above…

4. #5. Beaker with ibex motifs. Susa, Iran. 4200–3500 BCE. Painted terra cotta.

When I first look at this piece I immediately see one large animal and I can begin to identify it as a very, very stylized goat (aka an ibex, hence the title). However the other two animals are a little more elusive. “I spy with my little eye a…canine!” Do you see it? There are running dogs along the band on top of the goat 🙂

Ok the second one is a little bit harder, “I spy with my little eye…a bird with a long neck!” On the topmost band you can see little ovals with short lines coming from the bottom and a tall vertical line coming from the top. It is believe that these are styled herons or other type of bird with long, skinny necks. I know, I know, speculation! But once those animal images were suggested to me, I can’t unsee them (hence why I prefer my students get to those conclusions the hard way). Read more using the link above…

5. AP Art History 250: Church Vocabulary

I realized the other day that I didn’t have a straight list of all the churches in the AP Art History curriculum and that I should correct that immediately. Below is a straight list in chronological order of the churches in the AP Art History 250 with important vocabulary words & definitions that go with each church. Feel free to share with your students if you are an AP Art History teacher! Read more using the link above…

6. #24. Last judgment of Hunefer, from his tomb (page from the Book of the Dead). New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty. c. 1275 BCE. Painted papyrus scroll.

Oh I love teaching the Book of the Dead in both AP Art History and Humanities because it allows us to dive into thoughts of the afterlife, Ancient Egyptian funerary traditions, and the Egyptian pantheon. All topics my students find fascinating. Read more using the link above…

7. #14. Statues of votive figures, from the Square Temple at Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar, Iraq) Sumerian. c. 2700 BCE. Gypsum inlaid with shell and black limestone.

First off, I have kind of an unrelated College Board question on this piece: is that whole title really the title? Come on College Board! I am going to use a shortened title here because that is ridiculous. Statue of votive figures it is! I’ve begun to notice that I call a lot of art pieces “cute” which is probably not the most academic adjective I could use but come on! These guys are adorable! Read more using the link above…

8. #7. Jade cong. Liangzhu, China. 3300–2200 BCE. Carved jade.

First off, I focus on the material: jade. Interestingly enough, jade is too hard to “carve” with a knife, so it must be abraded with coarse sand and water. I am not an artist so sometimes I have difficulty understanding artistic processes. I always look for videos that can illuminate it for me; here is a video from youtube on making jade art pieces: Asian Art Museum: Working Jade. The man in the video is using modern tools, image if you will the Neolithic period…how much MORE difficult it was and then look at the precision they were able to obtain on the Jade cong. HOLY SMOKES! Read more using the link above…

9. #23. Tutankhamun’s tomb, innermost coffin. New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty. c. 1323 BCE. Gold with inlay of enamel and semiprecious stones.

Oh King Tut! The most famous of all the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs for really no reason besides that he plays hide-and-seek while dead really well. lol I don’t feel either way for this teenage pharaoh but the discovery of his pristine tomb is an absolutely fascinating for art history and the precious objects left behind can give us a glimpse into the funerary practices of the other pharaohs whose tombs were looted in antiquity. Read more using the link above…

10. #27. Anavysos Kouros. Archaic Greek. c. 530 BCE. Marble with remnants of paint.

First off, a kouros is a type of statuary from Ancient Greece, not one identifiable statue. The AP committee specifically picked the Anavysos Kouros but quite honestly, you can use any kouros to teach this image. A kouros (pl. kouroi) is a standing male youth who represents the idea of youth and strength in Archaic Greece. The form for all these different kouroi doesn’t change very much: left foot extended, stiff-limbed, with braided hair down the back and an expressionless face with an “Archaic smile” looking forward but beyond the viewer. The anatomy is pretty stylized and idealized. The Ancient Greeks associate physical beauty with moral beauty, called arete. So to be idealized as a nude statue says something about what the kouros is supposed to signify morally. Read more using the link above…

JMF

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