How is the history of civilization told through art?

The Humanities and Visual Arts departments recently partnered, having Art History students not only study ancient works of art, but attempt to recreate them.

Miranda Balrain’s AP Art History were tasked with recreating works they studied for their Ancient Greece unit using one or a combination of three mediums: clay, paint, or sculpting. After visual arts instructor Dominique Avila ‘11 demonstrated the use of materials, students worked in the studio while also reflecting on the historical significance of their piece.

“Analyzing form, function, content and context is important and supports the goal of this project which is for students to begin to see how important art is in telling the history of civilization,” says Miranda.

Student Iain A. focused on the Winged Goddess of Samothrace Sculpture as his project. “I used paint, colored pencils, and texture to create the sculpture in my own way. I chose paint because I wanted to make the sculpture on a flat surface and I used colored pencils to try and shade the drapery of the robe with the folds of fabric. I used texture in my project with the wings by cutting paper feathers out and layered them onto each other adding an idea of the wings popping out of the painting,” he explains.

Iain found it challenging to be able to make the folds and design of the robes folds because of how detailed it is, but definitely enjoyed the creative spin he was able to add. “I made this drawing my own by adding the famous Air Jordan shoe from Nike, what I thought the arms and head would look like, and the texture of the feathers,” he adds.

Another student chose to recreate the Parthenon using denim, fluff and velcro as mediums. The process “was challenging having to decide how to make the proportions, and deciding what are the most significant aspects to recreate,” said Aiden S.

Project-based learning is a major component of learning here at Moses Brown and elevates the level of understanding and exploration with specific hands-on experience, and this unit is just one example of countless others throughout any given school year.

“I love the mission of project-based learning here at MB and am excited for students to experience and bring the “art” component of Art History to life with the help and expertise of Dominique,” says Miranda.