Art Through History as a Right Brained Activity
believe that art can be incorporated with many different core
subjects. This combination offers children an opportunity for
creative problem solving and inventive thinking while reinforcing
core learning. Art that is integrated into regular class
subjects can be a refreshing switch from typical left brain
activities that monopolize most school days. This breaking
of class routine refreshes and revitalizes the students, and
is so much fun, we won’t even tell them that they have
It is remarkable the number of great scientists and inventors
that were artists first. This fact alone makes it simple to
incorporate both science and history into art. In our
own American history, we have Samuel Morse, the inventor of
Morse code. He was a talented artist who did historical
Robert Fulton is sometimes called the Leonardo da Vinci of America.
He not only invented the steamboat, but also studied painting
in England with great master artists. My very favorite
scientist/artist is George Washington Carver who first painted
the beauty of his wonderful plants before beginning the inventive
activities he is so famous for. As you can see one doesn’t
have to search far to find men of history that were accomplished
at both art and science. Studying science by drawing
observations, building models (inventions, architectural structures,
plant and animal cells, etc.) all can add to the core learning
fun and enhance learning.
In the history of man, the first scientific illustrator was
the great artist Leonardo da Vinci. He explored what was
inside of the human body, theorized about how it worked, and
left detailed anatomical pictures still in use today.
Some believe his attention to detail of underlying structures
is how he was able to became a master at painting the beauty
of the human face and figure as well. Children can do research
and then draw and color their own books on anatomy. They can
build the human skeleton out of poster board, or model with
clay the internal organs. They could dissect a frog and draw
the results step by step as they think of Leonardo making his
anatomical sketches for future generations.
Other people that could be studied are too numerous to mention,
but a few of my favorites are: the great Renaissance architect
Brunelleschi (discovered the laws of perspective). He
also built a beautiful dome that could only be imagined in previous
eras. A good idea is to allow children to design their
dream house and then attempt to build it three dimensionally
with mat board scraps and a glue gun. Galileo drew first
what he saw in the telescope. Take students to an observatory
with sketchpad in hand and allow them to draw what they see,
or let them draw what they see through ordinary binoculars.
The great engraver Durer was the forerunner of the modern
day political cartoonist. Most of his works were masterpieces
in Christian communication.
He worked for the Gutenberg press and his art was in sharp contrast
to the illuminated texts that preceded Gutenburg’s wonderful
invention. For children to remember the high points and
lives of the great artists of the Renaissance, it is good to
allow them to do a project after your explanation. This
is active learning as opposed to passive learning. In passive
learning, students read and listen to information and then regurgitate
what they have learned.
In active learning they take part in the learning process. Look
at the following lessons and enjoy learning about the Renaissance
with your children.#
Sharon Jeffus has a B.S.S.E. in art education and 10 years
experience teaching in public schools, and 6 years teaching
homeschool support groups all over the country.#
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