Printmaking and Murals Across Cultures
Students use inquiry skills to investigate murals or printmaking in other eras or cultures. For example, they might study prints from eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth century Europe, nineteenth century Japan, or traditional West African culture. Or students might study murals in ancient Egypt; in Byzantine, Medieval, or Renaissance churches, or in Chinese Buddhist cave temples.
Introduce art historical inquiry questions that lead to 1) information about artworks and artists, 2) contextual information, 3) cultural/historical interpretation, and 4) explanations of relationships among artworks. Provide each student with a printout of these questions. Select an artwork from Chicana and Chicano Space to use as an example as you review the specific inquiry questions listed within these four sets of questions. Information assembled in response to each artwork in Chicana and Chicano Space is available by displaying the artwork and clicking on "more information."
Select a second artwork from Chicana and Chicano Space. Choose one or two inquiry questions and compare the information provided about the artwork you've just reviewed (above) and this second artwork. Notice that the same question can lead to quite different information when applied to a different artwork. Ask student s to speculate about strategies art historians might use to answer their questions:
Extend students' learning about murals or about prints as appropriate for your class and your resources. For example, they might study prints from eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth century Europe, nineteenth century Japan, or traditional West African culture. Or students might study murals in ancient Egyptian; in Byzantine, Medieval, or Renaissance churches, or in Chinese Buddhist cave temples. Students can work individually, in pairs, or in small groups. Help students identify a mural or print that they would like to better understand. Next guide them in selecting one or several of the art historical inquiry questions as the starting point for their investigations. Ask students to begin by rephrasing their questions so that they apply specifically to the particular work they've chosen to investigate. Here are some prompts you may find useful in guiding students' inquiry:
After students have sought more information from several sources, ask them to report orally to the class on what they have discovered:
You might choose to ask students to write essays reporting their discoveries.
During student reports (or in optional essays), notice whether students can focus on the inquiry question they selected, and whether they can follow appropriate information seeking strategies and whether they can raise new questions based on what they discovered.
Items for a Protest and Persuasion Portfolio might include:
Handouts of art historical inquiry questions
Art and culture section of school library
Internet access, if possible
Art supplies, as appropriate
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