Noveena tells us about the basics of film appreciation. A Different Truths exclusive.
Film is the art of moving images. In other words, it’s a language of motion picture. A series of audio-visual moving image that tells a story and viewers vouch it as a medium of entertainment. The origin of communication started with cave drawings, signs and symbols, pictography and paintings; and then language evolved. Human mind evolved its own signs and symbols, words and languages, according to their culture, geographical location and religious background.
Once St. Mathew, one of the twelve Christian Apostles said, “In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God”.
Once St. Mathew, one of the twelve Christian Apostles said, “In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. Otherwise, why should anyone look at a picture and call it a ‘text’ to be ‘read’, not seen? Here the appearance of cinema exists as a revolt against the authority of words. The advent of language and literature gave birth to print technology. In the print culture there is a limit to language ability to translate the exact imagination of sensory experience and visual narration as the way of photography, music and cinema do.
A film is beyond a stereotypical thought process where we go to a theatre with popcorns and leave the hall before the end credit lines. Our educational foundation has a method of teaching i.e., storytelling, through which one can learn and visualise the vast social-sciences, literatures and technologies. From the primitive ages to present, storytelling is a part of the culture. Our epics, mythology and history passed on to generations through oral tradition, and then following through different forms of written words, poetry, plays, novels, operas, songs, books, photo features and eventually the moving pictures or cinema. A film is very close to visual experience in various formats; it can be feature films, short films, documentaries etc.
Satyajit Ray described his basic meaning of film, in his initial piece of writings named, ‘Bishoye Chalachitra’.
One of the stalwarts of Indian cinema, Satyajit Ray, described his basic meaning of film, in his initial piece of writings named, ‘Bishoye Chalachitra’. There it is mentioned, “A film is picture, a film is word, a film is movement, a film is criticism, a film is drama, a film is music, a film is story, and a film is a thousand expressive audio or visual details.” In addition, with the advancement of technology one cannot avoid colours (black and white or multi-colour), sound and graphics.
The basic definition of a film can be derived as moving images screened on a projector, which can be seen in with a community feeling in theater or multiplexes. Now, with the boom of technology, audiences can feel the individual experience through OTT platforms (Over the Top). In a broad perspective, the general perception is that a film is a tale, which consists of an antagonist and a protagonist. A visual performance of a larger than life heroic male character with vicious persona of a villain and serene beauty of a heroine is labeled as a film. Is that enough about films? Cinema is not limited to one culture, language or genre. There are no boundaries for storytelling and visual languages. So, cinema and characters shouldn’t be limited to known ‘Star’ system; it’s beyond these specifics.
In the process of understanding film appreciation, one must go through few elementary questions i.e., what is the film about? Which aspect of the film must be seen? What is the narrative of the film? What is the pattern of storytelling?
In the process of understanding film appreciation, one must go through few elementary questions i.e., what is the film about? Which aspect of the film must be seen? What is the narrative of the film? What is the pattern of storytelling? Before answering these questions, one has to comprehend the basic elements of cinema; a cinema is a story in which a few characters perform their parts in a certain time and space.
In cinema, to recognise the narrative of the storyline, the audience has to identify the plot, characters, point of view, theme, structure, situation and conflict of the film. To make it more precise, let’s take some examples to clarify the above points.
In Guru Dutt’s ‘Kagaz ke phool’, the plot of the film is the voyage of a film director, his failed marriage, passion for directing movies on his own terms.
In Guru Dutt’s ‘Kagaz ke phool’, the plot of the film is the voyage of a film director, his failed marriage, passion for directing movies on his own terms. The conflict scenario involved his daughter’s custody and his love interest. The climax is a plethora of tragedies: separation from his lady love, from his daughter and at same time loss of stature as a director. In another film, Ritwik Ghatak’s ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’, a multilayered character ‘Nita’ was ruthlessly exploited by her mother, younger sister and brother. Director Ghatak, portrayed an iron-willed lady though with a strong urge for living, struck with the ferocity of a terminal illness.
The film Schindler’s List, the theme is based on a real character and situation. Steven Spielberg showed it on a black and white canvas. A German industrialist Oskar Schindler is a member of the Nazi party who tries to save the lives of more than nine hundred Jews in the holocaust. Here we can realise the point of view of the director and his protagonist.
The suffusing warmth of the father-and-son relationship makes Bicycle Thieves a great work of cinema.
Vittorio de Sica’s neo-realistic movie, Bicycle Thieves (Lardi di Bicclette), is based on post-war Italy. A working-class man, Ricci’s bicycle is stolen. The situational conflict compelled Ricci to be a bicycle thief to retain his job. He was caught and beaten by the crowd in front of his son. Combination of these social and moral compass and real locations built a phenomenal art piece. The suffusing warmth of the father-and-son relationship makes Bicycle Thieves a great work of cinema.
These above-mentioned films are just basic ideas to understand the plot, situation, structure and a way of storytelling in different time and space. Films are limited to a language or region. In the book, ‘How to read a film’ an American film critic, James Monaco mentioned, “The great thing about the literature is that you can imagine, the great thing about film is that you can’t”. A film is a physical reality; audiences experience it on screen. Cinema is the art of making movies using celluloid/digital memory called film. That includes many elements in macro (genre & narrative) and micro (cinematography, sound, mise-en-scene and light) aspect of film language. Appreciating a film is to understand the fundamentals of film aesthetics in terms of the plot, sound, camera, light and the treatment to tell a story.
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Generally, we know that film is entertainment for everyone. But it is also an art. People sometimes forget that this is an art, and they also ignore it. But cinematography has so many intricate parts, and a director creates a film with hard work, and we view the output. Many people even don’t care what is happening behind the camera. Some movies touch our hearts, and then people say amazing. This is an achievement for a director. So, we all need to appreciate this art. If you want to enjoy online, then stream complet site is for you. You can find lots of unique movies from here.
Authentic advantageous site of watching movies
Watching movies is can give you something that you often find in your life. Films can provide you with relaxation and a good time. You may disconnect yourself from the entire stressful life. You can get the experience of lots of emotions with suffering the real-time painful side effect.
A great date night
Many couples meet and have their first date by watching movies. They pass their time by holding them. They together make memory and experience from the film. Good movies with good company can make your second chance to date with your favorite person.
At this time, it is straightforward to watch a movie from your home with full comfort. For this, you can visit gomovies. It is not essential to go anywhere to watching movies without stepping out to the theaters you can see on this site. This site will give you all types of film. Now relaxation is in your hand. You can do relax and enjoy the movie with a stress-free mind. This is an incredible opportunity for viewing a film from this online site. It is clinically proven that stress is built up with lots of tension and work pressure. So you can enjoy your time and be stress-free with the help of a movie.
Any type of movie can drive in real life. The story of the film can match with you. You may get inspired by the film because most of the movie tells us about the change of life and life struggle. How can you change yourself, this lesson also you can find from a movie story. Regular people like you and me also can be perfect people. So a movie story can encourage us. How can people pass their life from a difficult situation, and how they give overcome it? The movie shows us all the things.
Increase social skills and awareness
In our society, we saw lots of politics, racism, ethnicity, and many economic and psychological problems. But in a movie, every director tries to give some small or big massage through the film. Si, we can learn lots of small and big things from the movie. People can increase their awareness of the movie story. Young people can learn lots of educational, social skills from the movie story. People can get a new idea from the movie, which is much helpful for our real life. So now it is not essential to go to the theatre to waste money. It is possible to watch the film from home. For lots of new online movie collections, you can go through egybest. This site is very flexible in finding any movie, and you can easily download it to make your collection from this site.
From the detail of the article, you may know some information about the film. You can also enjoy the movie from your home. For this, you may visit the site I mention in the article for a better movie experience.
Within the first two decades of motion pictures, a wide range of discussion about the medium had developed, at many levels of appreciation and analysis—newspaper reviews, professional trade periodicals, books on production technique, fan magazines, and gossip columns, among others. By the World War I era there were even scholarly monographs and the first university courses. In the 1930s archives were founded on the model of, and sometimes associated with, art museums, to collect films for posterity and make important works available for public appreciation. As new media have emerged, sometimes rivaling motion pictures in popularity, they have nevertheless offered additional venues for commentary on many aspects of film.
At the beginning of the 21st century, for example, the Internet provided uncounted thousands of Web sites for information and opinions on motion pictures, stars, directors, the industry, film history, and much more. Both broadcast and cable television channels offered regular programming and frequent specials with news on the lives of actors and the making of new films. Some magazines were devoted entirely to covering the entertainment media, while nearly every popular periodical and newspaper gave coverage to motion-picture personalities, new films, and industry developments. Interest in major Hollywood blockbusters extended to the reporting of how these mega-releases fared each weekend at the box office, with films ranked by income as if they were competing in a sporting event. (Some of this coverage could be explained as a promotional effort by media conglomerates that operate movie studios along with newspapers, television stations, and Internet sites.)
Film studies in universities and colleges greatly expanded beginning in the 1970s, an expansion based in part on a growing recognition that the medium’s artistic achievements were worthy of study and also on the view that its cultural influence in conveying political and social attitudes to wide audiences required analysis and critique. Teaching and scholarship—assisted by the growing availability of older works through archives, television and cable programming, and video and DVD release—explored social issues such as how race, class, and gender were represented in films. Motion-picture genres, directors and stars, industrial practices, and national cinemas became subjects for courses of study and research. University presses annually published dozens of scholarly books on film history, theory, and aesthetics, as well as sponsoring or distributing academic journals.
Preservation of film
The permanence of the motion-picture medium—the fact that film can be stored and reproduced indefinitely—makes it not only an enduring theatrical art but also a vivid record of past life. Despite the fact that motion pictures can theoretically last forever, relatively few have been preserved, and many of these are in poor condition. One reason is that inflammable nitrate film stock, which was generally used until the 1940s, when it was replaced by acetate, is chemically unstable. Also, as film runs through a projector, it is eventually worn, scratched, or damaged. Still another factor is that commercial conditions of filmmaking discouraged preservation; the stress was on the present and the future, not on preservation of the past. Early motion pictures were best preserved when filmmakers such as Charlie Chaplin and Walt Disney had control over their own work and a personal interest in preserving and representing it. During the 1960s and ’70s, however, there developed a tremendous interest in old movies. Revival houses sprang up in most major American cities, and distribution companies were established solely for the reissue of old films.
Film preservation that allows access to old motion pictures is costly, requiring careful scientific control of storage conditions. The earliest film archive was the Swedish Film History Collection begun in 1933. Archives in Paris, London, and New York City followed shortly afterward. An international federation (FIAF; Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film), with headquarters in Paris, was founded in 1938.
Archivists of film face many problems: first, selecting the motion pictures to be preserved; second, acquiring copies (a negative or a fine-grain positive if possible) in good condition; third, storing them under the best-possible conditions of temperature and humidity; fourth, cataloging them and keeping some record of their contents; and fifth, allowing them to be viewed or letting stills or extracts be taken without damaging the copies. The ideal solution to the problem of choice would be to preserve everything, but the cost would be prohibitive. Even with a limited selection, acquisition and storage are expensive and difficult, and nitrate film requires regular testing to determine whether it has deteriorated enough to require copying.
The preservation of colour films has presented perhaps the most serious difficulties. While Technicolor films (mostly made before 1953) can be reproduced faithfully and endlessly, virtually all colour films made since 1953 are subject to fading that can be arrested only by storing prints at very low temperatures. Video technology has been used to help preserve some colour motion pictures; computer-driven viewers are able to read the original tints of films and reproduce them on videotape. Nevertheless, until the development of a suitable and inexpensive base onto which colour films can be transferred, the majority of colour motion pictures made after 1953 will continue to deteriorate.
If you love film, then this course will help you learn more about film analysis, film reviews and discussions, period genres and movements in film style, and more. It will provide you an informed opinion that will hopefully make your enjoyment of the film medium deeper.
This course may be useful for professionals who need to be informed and conversant about the film-industry; for the layman who wants to know as much as he/she can about the world of film for personal enjoyment; or for the student, hoping to become familiar with the ‘lay-of-the-land’ for film-criticism.
Lessons include discussions on the following:
- How you can get real enjoyment from the films you watch, and why you should care
- Early film-history
- The process of film-making and how it relates to understanding the films you watch
- A look at 100 years of film-styles, genres and movements
- A discussion of film-psychology, and some fascinating aspects of the perception of films
- A review of ‘films to watch’, taken in 20-year periods starting in 1900, and moving through 2019, featuring all the classics from each era
- General ideas about film and art-theory as a consumer habit
- Film composers to know
- Film directors to know
- How to get your twenty-dollar’s worth at the movie-theater
- New ways to enjoy film and new audience technologies
- And much more
If you can answer the riddle about why people go to see films, as they have for about 100 years, you’re indeed informed about the human condition. The vast popularity of cinema indicates the reason must be compelling, common, and durable. Is it because we want to feel connected to one another? Is cinema a kind of psychic circus where all souls meet concerning the issues that bind together Mankind? Or is it the thrill of some new adventure, some mighty battle, some piercing new insight we long for, thirsty for a truth to set us free of our own dull lives?
More sophisticated thinkers might call this modern ritual of movies a collective, tribal, and social passage that invites the individual to be a part of the whole. You can’t enjoy conversations around the water cooler at work if you missed the latest blockbuster film, which may have reached almost a billion people. If you’re out of the loop where the new Spider-Man film is concerned, when the joy and grist of friendships and socializing is working its way in your life — at the dinner table, in the market, at school, on TV and radio, or in magazines — you may find you just can’t connect, you don’t feel a part of things, or you’re lost on the topic. Because even if it’s not always the films, themselves, we really enjoy (and of course we do), a big part of the sauce you get from your cinema experience is feeling the buzz, talking about it, being a part of something new.
Depending on your walk of life, you can take this a bit further. Even if the films are 60 years old, and the director has long since passed into eternity. “Alfred Hitchcock? I love his stuff!” Or at the dentist’s office, does it feel right to impress the hygienist with your knowledge of Spaghetti Westerns, just for something to talk about between cleanings? What about your budding career as a fine arts painter — do your watercolor treatments of Marilyn Monroe and Bette Davis stack up well with Andy Warhol, or not?
This is cultural reference stuff for a reason — because it’s true: We measure our understanding of ourselves and different areas of life in the language and psychic coinage of shared film stories. These stories have become so well known, they’re virtual bywords for status, morality, judgment, and even — sometimes — our entire world view. This doesn’t even include actual careers in the entertainment industry, where “speaking the language” can mean the difference between working or not working.
So, if films have touched your life (and it would be rare if they have not), this syllabus is intended simply to help you enjoy films more than you do now, In the same way you might enjoy wine and food more by knowing something about the ingredients, how they’re prepared, or how they compare with similar menu items,this course is your introduction to, and a quick trip throughout, the cinematic bliss of viewing films with more understanding.
How many times have you seen a film and the experience was a tiresome burden? Or did you pay your $20 to see a film and then almost instantly forgot what you had seen, as if it had passed before your eyes with no more depth for you than watching an aquarium full of fancy tropical fish? Have you ever walked out of a film? Why does that happen, or in what way could you have chosen a film to attend more carefully, so as to have avoided disappointment? Do you always go to see romance films or family films — but not horror or action films? Do you remember films from your childhood and even have dreams about those experiences, like old friends? Will you attend a new film with very high box office numbers, even if you’re unfamiliar with it — but not a very small film that is only on a few hundred screens around the country? When you go to the video store, or the video section of your local library, does the term “classic films” scare you off, even though you may have heard about Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy? Or what about film reviews — do you read them or trust them?
It can be argued that the real value of film viewing is minor. It can be argued that many films, or all films, do more harm than good. But in the best case, knowledge here is not power, it’s enjoyment. No one can tell you how to watch a film — you just do it — you take a seat, you’re awake with your eyes and ears open, you expose yourself to the material, and you laugh, cry, or wail—-then it ends and you can go home. If you crossed your legs during the film, fell asleep, or talked on your cell phone, it’s mostly your own business. But to assess the experience, to consider it all mindfully, to make your film audience consumer choices as a more informed participant, and to relate the acquired cultural checkpoint material around the water cooler as someone who actually knows a little of what he’s talking about — this is appreciation, this is criticism, this is film enjoyment. No matter how much you learn about films, that little childlike thrill, deep inside, when the hero slays the dragon, or gets the girl, or jumps out of the airplane will always be there.
How could an era so decadent and abundant turn a man into an insecure, depraved, psychopathic killer? These are the questions asked and explored through the lens of Mary Harron in American Psycho; developed from the acclaimed novel by Bret Easton Ellis, Harron showcases famous method-trained actor, Christian Bale, as Patrick Bateman.
It’s 1986 and Patrick works on Wall Street in Mergers and Acquisitions at Pierce & Pierce during it’s prime. Self-obsessed yet disciplined, Patrick adheres to a strict morning routine to stay in top shape with the perfect skin, perfect hair and perfect body. Wall Street was known for it’s extravagant lifestyle, Patrick and his coworkers, who display a frat-like unity, spend their days splurging on Madison Avenue lunches, and their nights, snorting cocaine in 80’s synth-pop heavy night club bathroom stalls. Patrick and his fraternity brothers bond over chastising the poor and criticizing the ugly. What begins as a daydream of Patrick’s, turns into a reality. Bateman begins to kill women and eventually a fellow coworker for fun and for self-validation that he’s good enough and rich enough to do what he wants. This materialistic era was shot in 2000, fifteen years after it’s portrayal and famed Cinematograper, Andrzej Sekuła, does an incredible job of exemplifying the poshness and bleakness of Patrick’s lifestyle.
The first few shots of the film set the tone of the movie and portray Patrick’s lifestyle at the hands of Andrzej Sekuła’s cinematographic technique. Patrick and his colleagues share that their $570 dollar lunch was reasonable as all men throw their credit cards on a golden plate, adjusted for inflation, According to the CPI Inflation Calculator, 1986, $570 after adjusted inflation, equals $1,237.49 for today’s economy. The movie then introduces Patrick’s day-to-day activities before work as he explains each product he uses and goes into detail about where he lives, how nice it is, and how much stomach crunches he can do. Andrzej Sekuła makes it a point to showcase each of Patrick’s step’s as he explains as the focal point of every shot. The camera work fixes upon all of the art and posh aesthetic’s within Patrick’s amazing apartment to let the viewer sink into Patrick’s extravagant world. The set designer’s and architects have constructed Bateman’s apartment in black and whites with very little color, this makes it easy for Sekula to paint Bateman’s reality as one-dimensional and hollow with no room for vibrancy- only greed and bleakness.
The last two shots are marvelously framed by Mary Harron’s direction along with Andrzej Sekuła’s cinematography. The use of color is still only black and white, with the stark contrast of red. Sekula follows the same technique in nearly every murder shot, a clear image of the mangled body with a complete disregard for sympathy to their existence. Sekula geometrically positions his image from Patrick’s perspective, that these aren’t people he’s murdering, these are lifeless things for him to shrug off after his stress is relieved.
Updated March 31, 2021 Updated March 31, 2021
Guest post: Holly Read
Sometimes, change doesn’t happen all at once, but rather in stages. The way you listen, write, or learn, the way you do things, the way you view the world. The way you understand it. In my experience, it is education that is the most powerful tool when it comes to changing your perspective on life. A day might come when you realize you no longer see things the same way you did before.
Three years ago, I began my university journey. I studied the theory, history and politics of cinema and theater. I studied, in depth, every aspect of film-making and plays from different historic periods, each presented in multiple ways.
The person who received her degree is not the same person who timidly walked into the amphitheater three years ago. Studying film and theater has completely altered my perspective on the world – here’s how I think it could change your perspectives too:
1. You’ll appreciate the social role of art
Now, you might be thinking, “there are things more important than art!” This may be true, but art allows humans to express themselves. It is also an educational tool that, when used correctly, and for a good purpose, allows us to educate ourselves about issues we were unaware of, or that we even deemed unimportant.
2. You’ll get better at understanding other people
When you study the theory of cinema and theater, you train your mind to study people. “Why did this character do this?” “Why did they react so?” You don’t only study the technical side of film-making (i.e. how technical choices illustrate the emotions of the characters); you study the characters themselves. When you teach yourself to pay more attention to people, from their physical gestures to their words, which reveal more or less about a character, you may begin to do the same in your own life, getting better at understanding people and their actions.
3. You’ll become attuned to the impact of historic and political events
The history behind artistic creations is just as important as the creation itself. Once you begin to study the history and politics behind films and plays during the time of their making, you start to make connections. How does the history of our world impact this story? How are these characters affected by these events? You can begin to understand the importance of certain cultural and historical events, and how they changed our world. It opens your eyes to how events have changed people, changed our perspectives, and how life is shaped by such occurrences. Furthermore, you will begin to see the ways in which our life is influenced by art: whether it be stock characters, social activities or even fashion.
4. You’ll watch films and plays in a totally different way
Studying films has its pros and cons. It allows you to see things the average movie-goer or theater fan wouldn’t pay attention to: symbolism, metaphors, parallels between the characters. The downside is that you notice little mistakes, which you can’t un-see. You begin to notice errors that could ruin the show for you: continuity problems, the quality of a script, good directing… The list goes on. However, it will make you appreciate a good film or theater production even more, as you will be aware of how much hard work is involved, and how the absence of such mistakes highlights the quality of a well-made production.
5. You’ll see the dark side of the media world
When you study theory of cinema/theater, your perspective on social issues and culture is changed forever. It opens your eyes to certain troubling truths, such as the strong presence of sexism, racism and homophobia, among other things, in mainstream cinema. Once you begin to study these themes, you automatically begin to see them in other media: images, commercials, television, music videos. You become aware of how cultural productions can be used to indirectly support such mindsets. More importantly, how people can be manipulated into believing what is ‘real’ or what is and isn’t ‘socially acceptable’. On the plus side, it will motivate you to be different, to try and break such patterns, bringing more broad-minded content into the industry.
So there you have it! Studying film and theater has its perks: you will appreciate movies and plays even more, and you will undoubtedly see more than ever before: the visual details, and the social and political themes, which are vital when it comes to understanding the world around us.
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- Official Site American Film Institute
- UNESCO-EOLSS – Motion Pictures
- Engineering and Technology History Wiki – Motion Pictures
- movie – Children’s Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11)
- motion pictures – Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up)
Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.
- Official Site American Film Institute
- UNESCO-EOLSS – Motion Pictures
- Engineering and Technology History Wiki – Motion Pictures
- movie – Children’s Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11)
- motion pictures – Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up)
A film, also called a movie or a motion picture, is a series of still photographs on film projected onto a screen using light in rapid succession. The optical phenomenon known as persistence of vision gives the illusion of actual, smooth, and continuous movement.
Films can be classified as documentaries, experimental films, animated films, and fictional genres such as westerns, comedies, thrillers, and musicals, among many others.
Some of the world’s major film festivals are the Berlin International Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (Czech Republic), the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, the Sundance Film Festival, the International Film Festival of India, the Telluride Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Venice Film Festival.
Some of the major awards given for films are the Academy Awards, the British Academy of Film and Television Awards, and the Césars.
Read a brief summary of this topic
film, also called motion picture or movie, series of still photographs on film, projected in rapid succession onto a screen by means of light. Because of the optical phenomenon known as persistence of vision, this gives the illusion of actual, smooth, and continuous movement.
Film is a remarkably effective medium in conveying drama and especially in the evocation of emotion. The art of motion pictures is exceedingly complex, requiring contributions from nearly all the other arts as well as countless technical skills (for example, in sound recording, photography, and optics). Emerging at the end of the 19th century, this new art form became one of the most popular and influential media of the 20th century and beyond.
As a commercial venture, offering fictional narratives to large audiences in theatres, film was quickly recognized as perhaps the first truly mass form of entertainment. Without losing its broad appeal, the medium also developed as a means of artistic expression in such areas as acting, directing, screenwriting, cinematography, costume and set design, and music.
Essential characteristics of film
In its short history, the art of motion pictures has frequently undergone changes that seemed fundamental, such as those resulting from the introduction of sound. It exists today in styles that differ significantly from country to country and in forms as diverse as the documentary created by one person with a handheld camera and the multimillion-dollar epic involving hundreds of performers and technicians.
A number of factors immediately come to mind in connection with the film experience. For one thing, there is something mildly hypnotic about the illusion of movement that holds the attention and may even lower critical resistance. The accuracy of the film image is compelling because it is made by a nonhuman, scientific process. In addition, the motion picture gives what has been called a strong sense of being present; the film image always appears to be in the present tense. There is also the concrete nature of film; it appears to show actual people and things.
No less important than any of the above are the conditions under which the motion picture ideally is seen, where everything helps to dominate the spectators. They are taken from their everyday environment, partially isolated from others, and comfortably seated in a dark auditorium. The darkness concentrates their attention and prevents comparison of the image on the screen with surrounding objects or people. For a while, spectators live in the world the motion picture unfolds before them.
Still, the escape into the world of the film is not complete. Only rarely does the audience react as if the events on the screen are real—for instance, by ducking before an onrushing locomotive in a special three-dimensional effect. Moreover, such effects are considered to be a relatively low form of the art of motion pictures. Much more often, viewers expect a film to be truer to certain unwritten conventions than to the real world. Although spectators may sometimes expect exact realism in details of dress or locale, just as often they expect the film to escape from the real world and make them exercise their imagination, a demand made by great works of art in all forms.
The sense of reality most films strive for results from a set of codes, or rules, that are implicitly accepted by viewers and confirmed through habitual filmgoing. The use of brownish lighting, filters, and props, for example, has come to signify the past in films about American life in the early 20th century (as in The Godfather  and Days of Heaven ). The brownish tinge that is associated with such films is a visual code intended to evoke a viewer’s perceptions of an earlier era, when photographs were printed in sepia, or brown, tones. Storytelling codes are even more conspicuous in their manipulation of actual reality to achieve an effect of reality. Audiences are prepared to skip over huge expanses of time in order to reach the dramatic moments of a story. La battaglia di Algeri (1966; The Battle of Algiers), for example, begins in a torture chamber where a captured Algerian rebel has just given away the location of his cohorts. In a matter of seconds that location is attacked, and the drive of the search-and-destroy mission pushes the audience to believe in the fantastic speed and precision of the operation. Furthermore, the audience readily accepts shots from impossible points of view if other aspects of the film signal the shot as real. For example, the rebels in The Battle of Algiers are shown inside a walled-up hiding place, yet this unrealistic view seems authentic because the film’s grainy photography plays on the spectator’s unconscious association of poor black-and-white images with newsreels.
Fidelity in the reproduction of details is much less important than the appeal made by the story to an emotional response, an appeal based on innate characteristics of the motion-picture medium. These essential characteristics can be divided into those that pertain primarily to the motion-picture image, those that pertain to motion pictures as a unique medium for works of art, and those that derive from the experience of viewing motion pictures.
An art critique paper involves a comprehensive analysis and assessment of an artwork. Though this looks a bit complicated, the task doesn’t require a lot of time if you have sufficient critique writing skills. It’s an interesting assignment for students of art colleges as well as high schoolers. All you need is to study some art critique examples and learn some effective techniques. It will help make your essay creative and attention-grabbing.
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This article by Custom-writing experts will show you how to write an art review and criticism. It will serve as a guideline for your excellent paper! On the page, you will see all the basic information as well as tips and art critique templates.
🎨 Art Critique: Basic Information
Critical analysis of artwork stimulates and encourages the discussion of art. When you write it, you express your opinion. And when you receive a critique, you learn from others. Every person evaluates art differently. Some pay extra attention to the color scheme and composition. Others appreciate realistic qualities in artworks. And some people look for expressiveness and emotion.
You may think that because of these differences, we can’t objectively critique art. Luckily, there is an accepted way to conduct a formal analysis of an artwork. It’s called Feldman’s method, and it consists of four elements: description, analysis, interpretation, and judgment. More information on these elements can be found in section 3.
👣 How to Write an Art Critique Step by Step
STEP #1. Create an outline before you start writing.
It will help you develop the structure of your essay. In the draft, answer these questions:
|❓||What do you want to write about?|
|❓||What are the key points?|
|❓||What evidence supports your ideas?|
STEP #2. Decide on what info about the artwork you will need.
Then use credible sources to collect all the necessary data.
STEP #3. Provide a clear thesis statement.
A thesis here would be the main idea that would reflect your vision of an artistic piece. Don’t underestimate the importance of a thesis! It will guide you through writing the entire essay. It will also help your readers understand your art criticism better.
STEP #4. Note your first spontaneous reaction to the artwork.
By the end of the process, you may better understand your first impression or even change your mind!
STEP #5. Write the main body using Feldman’s method.
Study the artwork and assess its content, as well as its purpose. Explain which features of the piece of art you spot as the most exciting and less successful. Find more information on the elements of the method below.
STEP #6. Write your conclusions about the artwork.
They should base on all the information you have gathered.
🔬 Feldman’s Method: 4 Art Critique Elements
To write a perfect art critique paper, use the four elements mentioned before: description, analysis, interpretation, and judgment. Understanding these elements will allow you to evaluate any artwork thoroughly and objectively.
When you start writing a critique, remember that a useful analysis provides your view of the object’s strong and weak attributes.
a 100% original paper
The term art encompasses a large variety of works, from paintings to sculptures, architecture to design, and in modern times, digital art. Everyone can appreciate and marvel at art, and being subjective in nature, different art forms appeal to different people. Art appreciation, however, refers to the exploration and analysis of the art forms that we are exposed to. It can be highly subjective, depending on an individuals personal tastes and preferences, or can be done on the basis of several grounds such as elements of design and mastery displayed in the piece. Art appreciation also involves a deeper look into the setting and historical implication and background of the piece, a study of its origins.
Art is dynamic, with new trends and styles emerging at a fast pace. However, the final attempt of the artist is that it speaks to the viewer on a personal level and can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Art opens up the stream of subconscious and intends to personally touch every person that comes across it.
Art appreciation is extremely relevant for multiple reasons. It is a good way to understand the history behind the work, and the period from which the piece originated. Artists often reflect the problems that they face, and the issues of the society in their work. By analyzing and putting ourselves in the mind of the artist, we can better study how differently society functioned then, compared to now. We can empathize and relate to the problems they faced on a personal level.
Art is meant to stimulate thought and conversation between its viewers. By reflecting on a piece of art, we delve into our own experiences and nostalgia, thus a piece of art means something different to every person that comes across it. Art appreciation helps open up the mindset of the people, by listening to different perspective es and views as well as interpretations of the art, it encourages thoughtful conversation and the understanding that there is more than one approach to everything.
For many people, art is meant to express something that we ourselves feel unable to express or convey. Through its visual medium it evokes feelings of joy, sadness, anger and pain. That is why art appreciation is so important in bringing that one final element to complete the work, and that is our interpretation. Our perspective brings the artwork to life as it changes for every person around it.
It is important to foster art appreciation and analysis, as it helps us value the art in how it appeals to us and what it means to each person. It delves into the history and the story behind the art, as well as a look into the lives of the artists. It enables one to critically analyze a work, along lines of design, mastery and techniques. Most importantly, however, art appreciation stimulates though and analysis, provokes an individual to look past what meets the eye and open our mind to the views of others.
The author is Narendra Desirazu, Director of Jennard Galleries, that hosts art appreciation programs for students.
Appreciating and understanding the value of art is challenging for many people. However, learning about the history, various types of artwork and genres can deepen your comprehension significantly. It can also make you a more well-rounded and interesting individual. The courses laid out below provide valuable insight to the art world from a variety of perspectives. Each course has its own perks and drawbacks, but each also allows you to learn for free!
This course is provided by KhanAcademy, which is a free online learning resource that offers many types of courses — including art and beyond. Art History Basics explores the connection between heritage and art as well as why you should study and examine art generally. It also allows the student to learn common art terms. The course includes practice exercises to test your learning.
The Annenberg Learner provides a bird’s eye view of art through the ages. The focus is on connecting art to humanity in various parts of the world. Lessons include things like Ceremony and Society, Death, and Dreams and Visions. The global perspective allows the student to get a feel for the interaction between art and culture. Each lesson includes a video that is about half an hour with many works of art incorporated into the presentation.
Highbrow is a unique online learning platform that delivers lessons to you via email instead of having you venture to their website. One lesson is delivered on a daily basis throughout the duration of the course. This course, the Most Famous Paintings of All Time, provides the “top ten” of famous paintings, so students can hit the high points of the art world. While the “value” of paintings are obviously subjective, this course focuses on pieces that push the boundaries of convention and have had a real effect on society.
Highbrow also offers a course specific to contemporary artists. While many free courses focus on art history generally, this course focuses on innovative artists that have used their art as part of a larger national or global movement. These artists are often tied to government, political, or social unrest. The course addresses a variety of art forms, from traditional paintings to performance artists.
Highbrow does not stop their course offerings on modern art with contemporary artists. They also offer a course specific to street artists. While street artists are often considered a nuisance or even criminals, some have become world-renowned for their creative and impressive works in unusual locations. Street artists often have a goal of bringing art to the masses — as everyone should be able to enjoy art, even if they didn’t ask for it. This course runs through some of the most well-known street artists of the late 20th century and beyond.
The Italian Renaissance is one of the most well-known times in the art world. This time literally changed the art world forever. Open Culture provides a free course on this important era. The course includes a wide variety of Renaissance art work in 42 lectures. The course touches on the works of Titian, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Masaccio and Botticelli, and many, many more.
Art is often a reflection of the time in which it is created. Abstract painting is uniquely situated to provide meaning beyond the artwork. In Coursera’s class, In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting, the focus is on materials, techniques, and approaches of seven New York School artists in the decades after WWII. This course is unique because it often references ways that you can use these ideas in your own artwork. It is also presented by the Museum of Modern Art.
Coursera also has another art course presented by the Museum of Modern Art that focuses more on non-abstract pieces. It touches on the four themes common to many MoMA courses: Places and Spaces, Everyday Objects, Art and Society, and Art and Identity. The course also allows students to hear directly from the artists themselves in some cases, providing a unique insight into how the pieces were developed and the creative process.
Art has developed a great deal since World War II. The definitions of what art means are always changing, and some artists deliberately push the envelope on what constitutes “art.” In this MIT-sponsored course, you can follow major developments and outlines of various sects of artists, including those that have developed in several other parts of the world. This course is offered as an undergraduate level course at MIT, but the entire syllabus is available online. You will, however, need to purchase some of the course materials.
Great Artists and Their Works, brought to you by Alison, is essentially an overview of great artists over several centuries — from Leonardo da Vinci to Pablo Picasso. The Baroque period is also addressed. Newer artists are generally not discussed, however. It is designed for those who have very little understanding of art and who want to learn more to help their own artistic endeavors or simply want to increase their appreciation and understanding of art in general. The course includes a final assessment as well.
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Laura on how films can change the world, and her journey to being part of that change.
Films. Everyone watches them. Everyone enjoys them. From psychological thrillers to rom-coms, film is a part of everyday life and the industry is developing and growing every single day. This results in the massive influence that film has on today’s society. Society is reflected in movies and in turn movies influence society by changes in representations, challenging audience’s morals and transforming viewers’ opinions. Despite the huge impact film has on today’s generation, people still think that film is not a form of art, wanting to work in the film industry is stupid and getting a degree/studying film studies or production is a waste of time and is disrespected in schools/unis.
As a student who wants to work in the film industry, I know first-hand how hard it can be to tell people you want to work in film. A year ago if a teacher, family member or relative questioned me on what I wanted to do when I left college/sixth form, I’d reply with ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’m not sure’ due to fear of embarrassment. When I had told people before, they would reply with ‘that’s not a proper job’ or ‘you’ll never make it.’
Now, in 2016, I tell people exactly what I aspire to do as I’ve realised how many opportunities are out there and how influential and important film is.
I’ve realised how many opportunities are out there and how influential and important film is.
A prime example of how influential film can be is after I finished a viewing of ‘The Danish Girl’ (Hooper, 2016) with a transgender friend, she decided to change her name to Lily as that was the name of the first transgender person who has changed her life, for the better, ever since.
Another example is 2013’s ‘Blackfish’ documentary (Cowperthwaite), which caused huge controversy on social medias over SeaWorld’s killer whales and has resulted in the stock price of Tilikum’s home park declining by 60% since the film was released. This amplifies the power of film whether it influences a personal or mass response.
Not only is film influential but it is a source of entertainment and escapism. Film combines music, stories and pictures all in one and it’s a way to forget the real world for 120 minutes or so but at the same time can give audiences a reality check.
Movies can create awareness about the importance of education, art, sports and politics and can also warn us about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and other criminal activities. It also brings us to understand more about other cultures, the atrocity of living homeless, and the countries who are in constant battle with war and terrorism. All these movie genres help awaken our sense of responsibly and empathy towards such situations. These socially enlightening movies help us understand the world and influences our thought process in a positive way and helps us try to do our bit in order to be of some help to humanity for example helping/donating to charities. In addition, films make our imaginations run wild. After finishing a movie, we think about the characters and the story and develop it further, maybe even thinking about what the characters would be doing after the movie finished. This develops our creativity and leads to writers producing Fanfiction and artists producing Fan art and sharing it with social media sites.
These socially enlightening movies help us understand the world…
Another response I’d receive when telling someone I want to work in the film industry is ‘only people in America or Hollywood work in film and you’re not going to be an actress are you?’ Yes, Hollywood is where some of the major blockbusters are made, however film is everywhere. There are so many opportunities out there and so many different jobs. From working in the art department to being a runner to being a scriptwriter – it takes a huge amount of people to create a film not just the actors and directors. Not only this but you can always make your own film in your own local area and share it with the world via social media sites as the Internet is the biggest platform to influence society.
If you’re reading this and have a passion and a dream to be working in the film industry I hope it has given you an insight into being able to achieve those goals and not being afraid to tell people that’s what you want to do, even though the person who you’re talking to may not understand, at the end of the day it will be you following your dreams and enjoying your future career. If you’re reading this as someone who just enjoys film, I hope it has given you an insight to the importance of film in today’s society and to respect other people’s dreams whether it be in film or any other industry.
Have you got your own film company? Are you looking to make your own films? Send us your stuff so we can look at it: @rifemag
Rife is Watershed‘s online magazine created for young people, by young people.
We offer paid internships and publish work by young writers, photographers, illustrators, and filmmakers from all sorts of backgrounds, helping them get into creative careers. Rife has reached over 8,000 young people through our workshops, over 220 young people have made stuff for Rife on topics ranging from mental health to identity to baked beans, and last year, over 200,000 people visited our website.
In these complex and uncertain times hearing from and supporting young people who are advocating for social change and contributing fresh perspectives has never been so important.
Through supporting Rife you can ensure that this important work continues and that more young people have their voices heard.
Art appreciation is the ability to look at a work of art and understand how the artist used the elements of art and principles of design. The elements of art are the building blocks used to create the work and the principles of design are the ways the building blocks are used. To write about art appreciation, it is important to know the vocabulary, or language, of art. It will help you structure your essay and effectively express your ideas, opinions and feelings to your reader.
Explore this article
- Find the work
- Learn the elements
- Look at the work of art
- Gather information about the artist
- Take notes on the information you gather
- Examine the work
- List you
- Describe the artist
- Describe the artist-2
- Make a generalized sketch
- Reconsider your opinions and feelings and about the work of art
- Make an outline for your essay
- Write your essay
- Glossary of art terms
1 Find the work
Find the work of art you want to write about. Museums, galleries, government buildings and churches are some places to look for works of art.
2 Learn the elements
Learn the elements of art and the principles of design before you examine the work of art. Printable glossaries are available on the Getty Museum website. “Washington Crossing the Delaware” on the Metropolitan Museum of Art website is a good example of how the vocabulary of art is put to use in a painting.
3 Look at the work of art
Look at the work of art. Stand directly in front of it. Look at it from about 6 feet away, then about 2 feet away. If possible, move around it and look at it from all angles. What are your immediate feelings and opinions about the work of art?
4 Gather information about the artist
Gather information about the artist, title, where and when the work was made, present location of the work (e.g., gallery, museum). What are the dimensions of the work of art? What is the medium (e.g., oil paint, acrylic, watercolor, marble)? If it’s a painting, what is the support (e.g., canvas, wood panel, paper)? Museums, galleries and government buildings will provide this information on labels near the work of art.
5 Take notes on the information you gather
Take notes on the information you gather, your feelings and your opinions. Well-ordered notes will help you organize your essay later.
6 Examine the work
Examine the work of art slowly and methodically.
7 List you
List what you see in the work of art. If shown, describe the people, objects, place, time of day and weather. Name any people you recognize. Does the work of art tell a story? Is it about a concept or idea, such as color, shape or space? The title may help you answer these questions.
8 Describe the artist
Describe how the artist uses the elements of art: line, shape, form, space, color and texture. For example, the artist can use line to direct where you look. Color can be used to evoke an emotional response.
9 Describe the artist-2
Describe how the artist uses the principles of design: balance, emphasis, movement, pattern, repetition, proportion, variety and unity. For example, equal distribution of objects throughout the work will give you a feeling of stability, while uneven distribution will give you a feeling of movement.
10 Make a generalized sketch
Make a generalized sketch of the work of art. This will give you a better understanding of how the elements and principles are used, and help you when it’s time to write your essay.
11 Reconsider your opinions and feelings and about the work of art
Reconsider your opinions and feelings about the work of art. Have they changed? Why, or why not?
12 Make an outline for your essay
Make an outline for your essay, using your notes. Your outline should include an introduction, sections describing the work of art, and a conclusion.
13 Write your essay
Write your essay. Make sure to use the vocabulary of art. Begin with an introduction that includes the artist, title, when and where the work was created and its present location, as well as your initial feelings and opinions. Each paragraph should focus on a single idea, and make sure you write complete sentences. The conclusion should summarize your journey of discovery, from your preliminary response to the work of art, to how and why your response transformed after a close examination of it.
For Arts Professionals in the Know
- ARTS & BUSINESS
- ARTS & HEALING
- ARTS EDUCATION
- ARTS MARKETING
- COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
- PUBLIC ART
- SOCIAL CHANGE
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The Positive Power of Art
Posted by Ms. Margaret Weisbrod Morris, Feb 14, 2018 0 comments
You might be surprised to know that the arts and health have over 100 years of partnership. Visual art, music, dance, creative writing, dramatic play, and theater have been used for decades to enhance individual experience in hospitals, mental health treatment centers, senior care facilities, emergency rooms, occupational therapy clinics, in pediatric care, and more. Wherever people are in crisis—health or otherwise—creative activities are found.
Why such a long history? Over time, the benefits of creative activity have been accepted in a very general way as simply just being “good” for people. Intuitively, most health practitioners know that art simply makes patients happier and feel a little better, especially in situations where people are at their worst. While most people intuitively know that including creative activity in a health setting has value, the benefits were not clearly defined or explained. As such, the creative arts have occupied a variety of spaces on the periphery of the health and human service industries.
In the last 10-15 years, however, there have been clusters of research targeted at defining what happens at the intersection of arts and health. In 2010, the American Journal of Public Health published a review of this research called “The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health.” This review provides an overview of findings at the crossroads of arts and health, specifically the impact on our emotional and physical well-being.
In general, studies in this review found that creative activity:
- has a positive impact on our sense of hope, self-worth, and well-being
- improves our sense of connectedness and widens our social networks
- decreases depression and anxiety and reduces stress
Extraordinary and unexpected are the benefits to our physical health. Creative activity:
- improves cell function
- boosts brain function and memory
- decreases the need for medications and treatment in hospitals
- decreases length of hospital stays / speeds overall recovery time
- is associated with longevity
Most surprising is the direct impact creative activity has on our brain. Creative activity promotes the growth of neurons and boosts the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter known as your body’s natural antidepressant, and is associated with feelings of happiness and well-being. Neurons, the cells that build the nervous system and transmit information throughout the body, absorb dopamine. Apparently, creative activity doubles your potential to feel happiness and a sense of well-being, setting the stage for greater overall health and individual health outcomes. To those of us who practice an art form regularly, and know what this feels like, this might be a bit obvious. However, we now have research that explains how and why we feel so great when we make art.
With this in mind, take a moment to consider the global impact the arts have on the people and the world around you. Armed with the research we now have about the connection between creative practice and health and well-being, imagine how critical the far-reaching fabric of arts organizations, school art programs, concerts, festivals, museums, and libraries are to our overall health.
Everyone should have access to making their life better and living a healthy life. This is where we can all make a difference: advocating to make the benefits of creative activity, arts education, and arts experiences more openly accessible to more people. Because the more people that have access to these benefits, the better—and healthier—we all are.
Home / 24 Movies to Show in Your High School Art Room
Although movies are sometimes cast in a bad light by administrators and parents, we know that a good movie can help bring art to life. If you like to use occasional movies in your high school classroom, then this AOE List is for you! Thanks to all of our amazing FB fans that helped us put the list together.
NOTE: Depending on your comfort level, the maturity of your students, and your school’s policies, some language and/or scenes from the movies below may not be appropriate for your classroom. ALWAYS preview movies in their entirety before showing them to your students.
Click the links below to explore each item.
- Waste Land
An artist creates portraits of trash pickers in the world’s largest garbage dump in this moving documentary.
- Exit Through the Gift Shop
This is a tale of Banksy and other street artists that may or may not be 100% true.
- Rivers and Tides
This film chronicles the work of landscape sculptor Andy Goldsworthy.
- Between the Folds
This fascinating documentary shows the incredible and varied things artists and others are doing with paper.
- Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Go inside the Chauvet caves in France to experience some of the world’s earliest art.
- My Kid Could Paint That
This is a look at supposed 4-year-old art prodigy Marla Olmsted and the controversy surrounding her talent.
- My Architect
Follow Nathaniel Kahn, son of acclaimed architect Louis Kahn, as he tries to uncover information about his father.
- The Rape of Europa
This film chronicles the theft of priceless art during WWII and the attempt to return it.
- Tim’s Vermeer
A fascinating look at an inventor’s attempts to understand Vermeer’s painting techniques.
- Art21 films
Each episode profiles artists who talk about their careers first hand.
- New York Close Up
Each episode looks at a New York artist in the first decade of his or her professional career.
- Sister Wendy
Sister Wendy Beckett has produced a variety of series discussing a wide range of artwork.
- Craft in America
Watch artists create beautiful, meaningful work in a series that celebrates the craft movement in the U.S.
- Simon Schama’s Power of Art
A series that examines the life of 8 artists through reenactments.
Ed Harris portrays Jackson Pollock in this gripping account of Pollock’s life and work.
- The Monuments Men
The story of a WWII platoon trying to rescue priceless art before it’s too late.
- Girl with the Pearl Earring
Based on Chevalier’s novel, this is a fictional account of Vermeer’s famous painting.
- Brush With Fate
Learn about Vermeer through this screen adaptation of the novel Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland.
Showing a movie like those listed above is a great way to hook your kids when talking about art history. But, it isn’t the only way. If you’re looking for more engaging ways to bring art history into your classroom, be sure to take a peek at the Implementing Art History in the Secondary Art Room PRO Learning Pack. You’ll learn how to introduce compelling and relevant artists to your students and gain strategies to help your students interact in meaningful ways with the art they see in your classroom.
- Anything by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli
These beautiful and deep anime films will capture your students’ imaginations.
- The Magic School Bus Makes a Rainbow
Take the kids way back with this informative and nostalgic video.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
The classic stop-motion tale of Jack Skellington is a cult favorite.
- The Secret of Kells
This is fictitious telling of the creation of the Book of Kells full of stunning imagery.
Just for Fun
- Paper Heart
This fake documentary gives a pretty accurate view of making a documentary.
- Night at the Museum 2
Have students identify all of the paintings they can while watching!
- 101+ Movies About Art & Artists – a fantastic list from IMDb
- Teach with Movies– a database of films with educational connections, which you can search by subject, age and more
- Art in the Movies– a blog run by visual artist Jim Gaylor with a focus on art in television and film
We hope this list is a useful reference tool for you. If you are short on time in your classroom, one FB fan had a great tip to search through the “Special Features” sections of DVDs for inspiring and informative “behind the scenes” information to show instead. Genius!
What movies would you add to this list?
Which of these have you used in your classroom?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.
Teach Your Child the Importance of Appreciation
The word “appreciation” means really seeing something for what it is- an awareness of how special, how lucky, how unique, how blessed, how big, wonderful or awesome something is. Appreciation is a recognition not based on comparison, but based on the intrinsic value, character or immensity of a thing or state itself.
Some people are born “appreciators”. They see the world at its essence- the beauty of a sunset, the fragile green of a leaf, the boundless energy of a small child. Others must be helped to learn to see the beauty and wonder in the world.
Gratitude is one form of appreciation that is easier to express. Thankfulness is part of our religious and cultural heritage and the antidote to selfishness and complaining. It can come in the form of praise, recognition or humility.
Another form of appreciation is respect toward someone or something valued. In relationships this translates as care, concern, fair treatment and courtesy.
Teaching your child to appreciate starts at birth with your loving regard toward him or her and continues throughout the life of your relationship. As they observe the way you view and deal with people, things, and situations, they will no doubt learn to appreciate also.
Nature is a major doorway to appreciation. The unarguable beauty and power encountered in natural places inspires a young child’s appreciation. The sound of a bird in the tree overhead, the rustling grass as the wind passes by, a butterfly lighting briefly on a blossom- all are breathlessly beautiful and awe-inspiring!
Take frequent forays into wild places. Let your child experience the wonders of nature through their senses. Walk through well-tended gardens and notice the colors, shapes and smells you encounter. They will see your obvious pleasure and join you in your appreciation. Share what you’ve experienced later by reviewing the experience.
Care is an important aspect of appreciation. Help your child take care of their things. Teach them to respect their belongings and the property of others. Demonstrate an attitude of thankfulness for what you have and for your life together. Prayer, celebrations and shared reflection are simple ways to express your gratitude.
Affection is a powerful way to express appreciation. Hugs, kisses and loving words show your child how much you value him and others. Simple thank-yous given often and sincerely introduce your child to the graciousness of appreciation. There is no more powerful teacher than your own example!
Main points to address:
- Being close to nature brings out appreciative feelings, as this activates the heart. This is accomplished through the senses.
- Teach your child how to care for and respect their belongings.
- Show thankfulness with prayer, celebrations and simple reflection.
- Hugs, kisses and loving words are powerful expressions of appreciation. Use them often along with sincere thank-yous.
Young school age children are strongly influenced by those outside the home. They may encounter those who lack appreciation and respect for people and property. You will need to counter this by continuing to deliberately teach and demonstrate appreciation.
One fun way to do this is to create a “Thankfulness Tree”. Using construction paper, or a cardboard tube, make a “trunk” for your tree. Cut out colorful leaves and have each family member write something they are thankful for on them. Each week add another set of leaves to the tree. Take time afterward to re-read the leaves. You’ll be surprised what your family will come up with!
Keeping a family journal, perhaps alongside a photo album or scrapbook, can provide a running record of gratitude. Take time every month to update events or developments that have inspired thankfulness. Encourage but don’t require participation each time, but know your contributions are setting a standard they will internalize.
Use holidays as opportunities to show appreciation for what you have, for each other, and for what you’ve experienced over the year. Your child will develop an appreciation for the “seasons of life” in this way. Sometimes an event such as illness, death or other tragedy can later viewed as a blessing.
Openly thank your child’s teachers, coaches and care providers. Encourage your youngster to do the same.
Again, make sure your child knows you appreciate them. Praise, noticing effort and accomplishment and kind words need to be part of the climate of the thankful home. Prayer remains a powerful vehicle for gratitude at this age.
Main Points to address:
- Counter outside influence by being deliberately appreciative.
- Create a “Thankfulness Tree” together.
- Use holidays as opportunities to show appreciation.
- Continue using praise, recognition, prayer, and kind words.
Older school age children can begin to show appreciation in more tangible ways. It is important to foster the development of gratitude in order to keep your youngster’s heart open at a time when many around them are “shutting down” in this way.
A good extension of the family journal is to provide your child with a journal of their own. Writing out their thoughts and feelings is a wonderful way to express what they may find difficult to verbalize. Journaling requires time, thought and reflection and opens a doorway for appreciation that might not otherwise be opened.
Provide your older child their own stationary, including thank you notes. You may need to prompt them to send thank yous, but if they have seen you do this, they will feel quite grownup sending them. Show them how to be specific when expressing their gratitude.
Volunteering to work at an animal rescue or shelter, read to older folks at a nursing home, or participate in a community cleanup or food shelter can provide your child with opportunities to realize their own blessings and give back by being a blessing to others. This is one of the most powerful ways of teaching appreciation- by showing them appreciation has both receptive and expressive qualities.
Again, your own appreciation and how you show it will be the best teacher for your child. Know that how you view and respond to the world around you and the life you live will be the critical factor in opening your child’s heart to appreciation.
Main points to address:
- A personal journal provides a forum for thoughtful expression.
- Sending thank you notes is a grownup way to show gratitude.
- Volunteer activities can keep your child’s heart open and give them a chance to be a blessing to others.
- Your example is the most powerful teacher.
Resources that can help you in your venture include:
Crayons. Finger paints. Glitter. Cotton balls. Glue sticks. All things that come to mind when you think about art for young children. Pinterest is teeming with ways to involve children in creating pieces of art. While I’m not a big fan of coloring-inside-the-lines, everyone-copies-teacher sort of projects, giving the children opportunities to learn techniques and media, as well as to begin expressing themselves through these things, is really fantastic.
Creating art, however, is only one side of the story.
Young children also benefit immensely from exposure to fine art.
The Value of Aesthetic Experiences
Imagine going through life with no concept of beauty. No sunset ever made you stop in your tracks to relish it. Every vista and landscape looked the same. You never savored a walk through the woods because of the way the light filtered through the leaves. Music and dance never made you rejoice, laugh or weep. Everything in your life was utilitarian and bland, rather like the Utopian world in The Giver.
If something is aesthetic, then it is ‘designed to give pleasure through beauty’ (Oxford Dictionaries). Growing up with out an aesthetic sense means a life void of that pleasure and, in my opinion, a very bland life indeed. Therein lies the value of aesthetic experiences: beauty for beauty’s sake, the emotions that they bring, the flavor they bring to life.
When we give our children opportunities to develop their aesthetic sense – their ability to appreciate beauty, to love that which is beautiful, and to be moved by it – we are giving them a very valuable gift indeed. After all, ‘whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things’ (Philippians 4:8).
Aesthetic Sense for Toddlers and Preschoolers
How do we help our young children develop an appreciation for beauty? As Charlotte Mason says:
We want to open their eyes and minds to appreciate the masterpieces of pictorial art, to lead them from mere fondness for a pretty picture which pleases the senses up to honest love and discriminating admiration for what is truly beautiful– a love and admiration which are the response of heart and intellect to the appeal addressed to them through the senses by all great works of art.
First, I think it is important to acknowledge that our children, even from quite an early age, have the capacity enjoy beautiful things. It’s very easy to assume that children have no interest in art – they want Peppa Pig or Thomas the Tank Engine. But how often have they had the chance or the encouragement to really look at a masterpiece painting? How often do we give them an example to follow? Gentle exposure to beauty – painting, sculpture, music, dance and so on – combined with our example in pausing to appreciate it can go a long way.
Second, we can help our children develop a vocabulary for aesthetic experiences. Discussing art, or anything of beauty, with your child is incredibly valuable. You can talk to your child about colors, shapes, textures and lines in a painting, as well as the emotion it invokes, what they like or don’t like about it, and what your child imagines is happening in the depicted scene. As children gain the ability to describe what they see in detail, they develop the capacity to discriminate between different styles and types of artwork (have you ever had the feeling that one Impressionist painting is the same as the next?), and ultimately acquire their own taste.
Irises, van Gogh, 1889, Wikimedia Commons.
Simple Ways to Help Your Child Appreciate Art
Sharing art with your children does not have to be burdensome. And in some ways it’s much more simple than having children create art themselves, since there is much less clean up! The general idea is to give your child access to art, and to seize opportunities to discuss beautiful things as they arise. Here are a few ways that you can help your child develop an aesthetic sense.
- Talk about beautiful things that you notice when you are out and about. The reflection of a bridge over still water, the pattern of the bark on a tree, the colors of the sunset.
- Display fine art in your home where your child can see it. Some nurseries use replicas of fine art to label their classroom (the blocks may have a painting of a carpenter, or the sand box might have a painting of the seaside). You don’t even have to go that far – just tack them to the wall.
- Buy (or borrow) books with beautiful illustrations. Many children’s books are works of art in and of themselves. The Ambleside Online Year 0 book list is a fantastic starting point if you need ideas.
- Look at art with your child and talk about it. Find art that depicts something your child is already interested in (boats? ballet? farm animals?). Print it out or pull it up on your computer, and take it from there. Don’t force it, but do (gently) persist over time. You are offering your child the richness of appreciating beauty, and it is worth it.
Sharing fine art with young children isn’t about emptying your house of cartoon-inspired merchandise. Chances are your child finds those types of things captivating and exciting, and I don’t see a need to devalue them simply because there isn’t a portrait of Peppa Pig in the National Gallery. Instead, incorporating art and discussions of beauty with your child means you are taking a broad view of your child’s growth and development. You see the adult they will one day become, and you recognize the pleasure they will take in the aesthetic. Small, simple steps in the early years will deepen that pleasure, and are a gift to our children.
The following articles were of great help as I wrote this article. I highly recommend clicking through to read them.
Why teach art appreciation? Just as a young writer can gain experience and style by studying and copying the masterpieces of great literature, a fledging artist will learn an amazing amount by examining and experimenting with the styles and mediums of great artists. Studying great art is a refining experience. Being culturally literate includes being able to identify great works of art. If you don’t know what the Mona Lisa looks like, you miss out on many references and innuendos in reading, writing and conversation.
You can easily teach appreciation of fine art once a week with an enjoyable lesson and activity. There are a few programs I really like and use (discussed below), but you can also find plenty to teach from by using the library for resource books. I look at the library for those oversized books with large, color reproductions of the masterpieces of each artist. Other nonfiction documentary type books to help you teach can be found in the biography section of the children’s library. These contain a history of the artist plus some of his most famous works. Simple biographies done in a chapter book or story form are fun for my upper elementary children to read. I also look for any videos or documentaries we can find. We look up the artist we are studying in our encyclopedia or on the internet for a brief overview.
In our homeschool, I don’t put in very much preparation time before I teach our art appreciation lesson. If I can find a picture book at the library the summarizes the artist’s life, we love that! I read this to the children or retell what I’ve read in an encyclopedia, using pictures to enhance the lesson. Then we look at their masterpieces in library books or online and learn together. We try to look for each artist’s unique style in each painting.
After we have our lesson about the artist’s life and his style, we try out one of his notable art styles. This has been great fun! When we studied Renoir, we were amazed at how in his old age, due to arthritis, he was no longer able to hold a brush and so he had the brushes strapped to his hand. We decided to try it! I used wide rubber bands to bind the brushes onto my children’s palms. Then we tried water color painting. After much trial and laughter, we soberly decided Renoir was incredible! How did he ever paint faces with a brush strapped to his hand?
Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night”
When we studied Van Gogh, we were saddened at how his mental instability caused him to cut off his own ear. Van Gogh painted several self-portraits, including one of him with his damaged ear. We decided that we would create a self-portrait. We took pencil, paper and a mirror and studied our own faces very objectively. Then we began. Very unique images emerged. When we were all done, we stuck them up on our school room wall, where someone remarked that one of us looked like a devil, another like a robot, and one like a clown. Well, that is probably about right!
You can come up with your own creative ideas for an art experience to reinforce each artist you study. Both the ideas for Renoir and Van Gogh came to me while I was teaching about these artists. For Van Gogh, for example, we have each created a “starry night” picture using poster paints, or chalk pastels on dark paper in vivid colors like Van Gogh’s masterpiece. You could use rulers and learn to draw perspective lines after viewing his strange perspective in his famous painting of his bedroom. As I taught about Renoir, several ideas presented themselves. You could challenge your students to use dappled light in their painting by dabbing white spots on the finished product to get the same effect that Renoir did in his paintings. You could discuss how Renoir drew women (round and realistic rather than slender and fashion model-ish). Then each student could draw a realistic woman, maybe their own mother?
There are a few programs which I have used and loved. Discovering the Great Artists is my favorite. I can’t imagine a better way to really learn about the great artists than to try out their styles and methods! This ingenious book introduces 110 unique art activities to lead your child into experiencing the techniques of the great masters, from the Renaissance to the present. A brief biography of each artist is followed by a fully illustrated encounter with sculpting, drawing, architecture and more. What could be more memorable after learning about Michelangelo than to try painting while lying on your back, Sistine-chapel-style? These art appreciation lessons will not be soon forgotten! Geared for children ages 4-12. Paperback, 160 pages, black-and-white illustrations.
Another excellent program is How to Use Child-Size Masterpieces for Art Appreciation. This teacher/parent guidebook will help you teach hands-on art appreciation at every level, using inexpensive color postcards . The program is unique in that you can know absolutely nothing about art and learn right along with your children. Being able to handle the masterpieces is a far cry from the hands-off feeling of museums. This book will take you through the basic steps of developing art appreciation, beginning with preschoolers and advancing through high school skills:
Step 1-Match identical paintings (purchase 2 identical volumes of postcards below).
Step 2-Pair two similar paintings by the same artist.
Step 3-Be able to recognize and group four paintings by several artists.
Step 4-Learn the names of famous artists.
Step 5-Learn the names of famous paintings.
Step 6-Learn the movements or “schools” of art: Impressionism, Modern, etc.
Step 7-Learn to sort paintings by schools of art.
Step 8-Place paintings on a time line.
Paperback, 95 pages, black-and-white illustrations.
All my children’s finished projects are collected in their personal art portfolios. This makes them strive to do neat, thoughtful work and also serves as a good review lesson about each artist as we look back through them. Besides, they are proud of these portfolios! My son Ammon (6 years old) snags every visitor who comes into our house and shows them his drawings!
Real success comes when your children are able to identify an artist’s style in some unknown painting and declare, “I’ll bet this is by Monet!” Then you know that you truly have created an appreciation and a skill in your children. That is the goal.
We are often asked about how to homeschool Fine Arts in high school. Here are some tips!
Homeschool Fine Arts in High School
Fine Arts is a required subject for graduation for most homeschool high school students. Most students will earn at least one credit. (However, it is an important value to my family thus, my own kids all earn 4 credits (or more) over their high school years.)
C. S. Lewis felt that the imagination is the organ of meaning. In other words, imagination helps us explore and discover God’s purposes for us and our meaning in life. One way we access our imagination is through creativity. Creativity begins with the Arts.
We can build our homeschool high schoolers’ experiences with the Arts in several different ways.
For instance, if you have teens who do not feel creative or doubt their creativity, have them earn their Fine Arts credit for their transcript through Arts Appreciation. To earn that Arts Appreciation credit use a Carnegie credit (logging hours). They can log hours with experiences in:
- Visual Art: drawing, painting, sculpting, photography, graphic design, art history, visiting museums and galleries
- Musical Art: playing instruments, singing, music theory and history, attending performances
- Dance: Participating in ballet, jazz, tap, ballroom, attending performances
- Dramatic Art: acting, participating in pantomime, theater production, attending performances (the 7Sisters ebookstore has resources to help you)
- Download 7Sisters’ Fine Arts for Non-Artsy People and get started! Your teens will probably find out that they can actually like creativity!
- Cinematic Art: film production, animation (here’s my son Ezra’s Interview with Ralph Waldo Emerson for example)
Another way to earn the Fine Arts credit for the homeschool transcript is to specialize in one kind of Fine Art.
Choose something from the list above and spend the entire credit hours on that one topic. Here some ways to earn a high school credit in Fine Arts in a specialized topic:
- Log 120-135 hours in various fine arts activities (you can combine all the Fine Arts areas plus visit various art museums and performances over the 4 years of high school for a general Fine Arts credit)
- Take an online course. (Our friend, Gena, at Music in Our Homeschool has LOTS of interesting and inspiring introductory music appreciation courses.)
- Log 120-135 hours in lessons or co-op classes and homework
- Join a drama club and log those hours. (Or START a drama club. Lots of homeschool moms have built fun drama programs in their community by using 7Sisters drama resources (there are lots of them…check them out! Start with our freebie: Introduction to Directing.)
- One of the most popular resources is 7Sisters Successful Approach to Teaching Acting and Directing.
- Acting is essentially story-telling. Good acting tells stories well!This 22-page downloadable pdf manual, by Sabrina Justison, gives you the understanding and resources you need to teach young actors the foundational techniques and observational skills they need to take the stage. Whether you have experience as an actor and director, or whether this is all new territory to you, you will find helpful information in this manual.
- One of the most popular resources is 7Sisters Successful Approach to Teaching Acting and Directing.
- Take classes at the local homeschool umbrella or hybrid school
- Take a 3 credit course at a community college (3 college credits=1 high school credit)
- Take private lessons
Sometimes, as homeschool high schoolers experience an art activity, they discover that they do have a creative ability or at least a creative interest. Then they can feel inspired and curious to study further:
- Sometimes, a wonder for the beauty of God’s creation is awakened.
- Sometimes, he/she learns to appreciate the work of others.
- Sometimes, a career path opens up.
- Sometimes, the young person simply has a chance to explore creativity and imagination!
Whatever the outcome, Fine Arts is a wise investment during the high-school years.Your teens will fulfill their transcript requirements and be more creative and imaginative for the efforts!
For more ideas, download 7Sisters – Fine Arts for Non-Artsy People
Vicki Tillman shares a fun and easy way to earn a General Fine Arts credit in a way that enriches your teen with beautiful (and simple) experiences. This is a no-fuss, no-fail way to expose your high schooler to beautiful art, music and drama.
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Aesthetics simply means relating to, appreciating, or perceiving the beautiful. Beauty, if it can be defined simply, means whatever captures your heart for that moment in time that you have been blessed. We are always told that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think it is the perspective of that eye that makes anything even more beautiful. Beauty can be something to perceive or observe, but only when the spectator becomes a participant, can someone truly begin to appreciate it for all that it may have to offer.
Essay Example on Reflection About Art Subject
Many people may agree that something is beautiful, but the depth of that beauty can eventually become fathomless beyond the point of imagination if experienced. I remember fondly when, as children, we would run wildly across the field and lie on our backs as we let the blades of grass tickle our ears while the warm summer wind blew across the yard and swirled around us.
The leaves of the trees could be heard taking deep breaths for the thicket just across the fence from where we would be. We would lie there gazing at the sky as the stage full of performing clouds of every shape and size would dance in front of us.
For the adults, it must have appeared that our internal engines had finally run out of gas as we would limply fall or jump on the ground, when actually, play had merely taken a different form for a while.
“ Very organized ,I enjoyed and Loved every bit of our professional interaction ”
Those memories and visions are beautiful to think about; especially when considering the simplicity of life back then, and even more fun to remember when time stops and allows for reflection. Aesthetics is, as a parent, being able to watch my kids do similar things and it warms my heart like a warm July sun.
Hearing the laughter ring through the air as they run and jump and play games that are not full of restricting rules, and barriers of guidance; watching them as they run in circles chasing leaves that are blowing across the ground, or catching “flutter-bys” on the wildflowers in the meadow. It is almost as if they are teasing the children to try and catch them if they can, and as the tiny creature grows weary of the game, it simply flies higher into the sky, out of reach, and away from the commotion. The children are simply bound by the ideal of being able to be together and have fun.
Falling down means you simply get back up and run again without concern of hurt or pain because you have a task at hand that needs immediate attention… have fun. Somewhere in the deepest part of all our lives, is a special moment in time where we thought we could live forever. The days of Peter Pan and Wendy and never growing up were at one point in our lives, something we thought we could do; some may have even believed they could fly like those fabled characters or have powers like their favorite superhero.
So if the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is true, then things like hearing a baby’s laugh, and seeing a child’s first steps; or looking into your lover’s eyes must surely be things of beauty. But when it is all said and done, in those last fleeting moments of life, if there is a loved one to offer a hand to hold, then all things transcend from being beautiful, and they become priceless.
“Films about art and artists” covers a variety of things, from biopics about artists dead or imagined, to documentaries on living ones. However, the best of them are the ones that are able to teach us something about the medium they depict, or about the people who create it.
These films portray artists as compelled to create from an inner need, whether for therapeutic, spiritual, or philosophical reasons. They celebrate the unique worldviews such individuals often possess, while outlining their limitations, from their heightened emotionality to their predisposition to mental illness.
At the same time, they explore the relationship between art and the viewer, as well as art’s somewhat unsettling contiguity to wealth and power.
20. The Agony and the Ecstasy / 1965 / Carol Reed
As films about famous artists go, The Agony and the Ecstasy may be about as conventional they come, but this does not stop it from being enormously entertaining.
The film depicts the tumultuous relationship between Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison) and Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) that resulted in the painting of the Sistine frescoes. Harrison’s performance is spirited, as is Heston’s (albeit sometimes excessive), and the monumental sets do not fail to impress. The Agony and the Ecstasy is technicolor majesty through and through.
19. Frida / 2002 / Julie Taymor
Art, politics, and romance are on equally full display in this visually flooring biopic about Frida Kahlo. Featuring an irresistible and career-defining performance from Salma Hayek and an equally superb Alfred Molina in the role of Diego Rivera, the film celebrates both Kahlo’s freewheeling sexuality and courageous persistence in the face of debilitating injury.
Julie Taymor attempts to translate Kahlo’s unique visual sensibility to the screen through vivid, live-action recreations of scenes from her paintings. In some of the film’s best moments, painted backdrops, stop motion animation and digital effects intermix until the constituent elements are indistinguishable. These scenes wonderfully approximate the kind of subjective experience that artists always seem to be searching for.
18. Caravaggio / 1986 / Derek Jarman
A seminal work of New Queer Cinema, British auteur Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio draws equally from colorful rumors about the painter’s life and an intimate appreciation of his art. Biographical details, from his boyhood apprenticeship in Milan, escape to Rome, and patronage from the Cardinal Francesco del Monte are depicted, as are his notorious taste for street fights and carousing.
As he would do in his other biopics, Jarman makes use of his protagonist to celebrate the wide panoply of human sexuality. We see young Caravaggio (Dexter Fletcher) hustling, taunting an older gentleman client. Later a love triangle develops between a slightly older Caravaggio (Nigel Terry), a street fighter named Ranuccio (Sean Bean) and his girlfriend Lena (Tilda Swinton).
When Caravaggio starts painting however, all other details (including the occasional anachronistic object) seem irrelevant. Jarman filmed every scene indoors, allowing him to give the painter’s live models a tenebrous, yet glowing look that mimics the original paintings astonishingly well.
Mirroring art-critical speculation that Caravaggio’s Young Sick Bacchus exhibits signs of jaundice and depicts the artist himself, Jarman included a scene in which the young Caravaggio lies sick in bed next to that painting, speaking to his patron of his desire to be “true to life.”
17. All the Vermeers in New York / 1990 / Jon Jost
Jon Jost has explained that the title All the Vermeers in New York reflects both the city’s unrivalled collection of paintings by the Dutch artist, and its former identity as New Amsterdam, founded roughly where Wall Street now stands. This seemingly random yet
uncanny connection between the worlds of art and money is a good metaphor for the film’s subject matter, which inhabits the place where beauty, chance and love meet greed, power and materiality.
Mark (Stephen Lack), a New York stockbroker who finds looking at art therapeutic, meets Anna (Emmanuelle Chaulet), a young actress from France in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Vermeer room. He tells her she resembles his favorite Vermeer, the Portrait of a Young Woman, and asks her to coffee.
Meanwhile, in a private gallery an artist (Gordon Joseph Weiss) desperately harangues his gallerist (Gracie Mansion) for a cash advance on his upcoming show. On the other side of the door, Felicity, (Grace Phillips) the wealthy heiress of an art collector and friend of Anna’s waits and listens, determined to acquire a piece from the ongoing exhibition at any cost.
25 years after its release, many aspects of the film, from its depictions of New York life to its broader underlying critique of the art world remain relevant, and its largely improvised dialogue is a breath of fresh air.
16. Camille Claudel / 1988 / Bruno Nuytten
A melodrama of monolithic proportions, Bruno Nuytten’s Camille Claudel adapts Reine-Marie Paris’ biography Camille: The Life of Camille Claudel, Rodin’s Muse and Mistress for the screen.
Showcasing thrilling performances by Isabelle Adjani as Camille and Gerard Depardieu as Rodin, in many ways the film comes across as a blockbuster à la Française. The emotions are pitch-perfect, the tempo is lively throughout, the camerawork is dynamic, and the soundtrack, a set of four orchestral suites by film composer Gabriel Yared, is worth the price alone.
The film begins shortly after Camille first meets Rodin. Impressed by her talent, Rodin offers her work in one of his studios. A torrid romance then develops between the two sculptors,
which does more to tarnish Camille’s reputation amongst the salon society of Paris than it adds to her notoriety. At first Camille’s greatest desire is to have the great Rodin’s signature grace one of her sculptures, but when Rodin’s support begins to waver, she decides to strike out on her own.
15. Lust for Life / 1956 / Vincente Minnelli, George Cukor
Lust for Life is the quintessential Hollywood biopic about the quintessential tortured artist. Kirk Douglas plays Vincent Van Gogh, who leaves his Dutch homeland for Paris to live with his brother Theo, played by James Donald.
Theo introduces his brother to the French Impressionists, including Pissarro, Seurat and Gauguin, the latter who eventually joins him in Auvers. Unwilling to compromise his artistic vision, Vincent grows estranged from his friends, setting the stage for his descent into madness. Shot in technicolor and featuring a rousing score, this film has everything you could ask from a classic Hollywood biopic.
Visual Art is everywhere. You may not know it but visual art is the means we communicate, it is in the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the road you pass on, the car you ride on, the website you navigate, the store you buy from, and practically anywhere you set your eyes on.
Why so? Visual Art is an art form primarily perceived by the eye. Usually seen in painting, photography, printmaking, and even film making. Many people have different definition of the visual arts. But to put it simpler, visual art takes nature and the man’s ability to capture the moment to a piece of paper so that other people may take time appreciating the captured image.
Visual art has gone along way. These days, we use visual art in many ways. Landscapers use visual art in most of their work, Website Designers use visual art a lot in putting together content and eye catching websites, dress makers use visual art to create a beautifully sewn gown for a particular occasion. Visual art is also used in designing posters, book covers, food packages, clothing, apparel, jewelry, and a whole lot more.
Why do we need visual art?
How is visual art important?
Imagine a world without art. No music, no movies, no paintings, no drawings, no designs, and etc. The world will be a very dull place to live in. Perhaps the only thing you would be seeing is black and white. No laughter, no smiles, practically no emotions at all.
Visual art is life in itself. The way we perceive the world and how we appreciate it. That is art and we actually live with it everyday. Art is an outlet of our inner self. A bridge that brings together gaps in our society, it is a bridge between man and nature, between countries, and continents.
Teaching Art To Younger Generation
Art is innate to many people. Even at a young age, the artistic side of a person can be discovered. Our role as an adult is to teach, guide, and help our younger generation come out to the open and use their artistic abilities in many ways.
Regardless of where you are in the world, there is an art school near by. Enroll your child and let them discover the beauty of life through their art work. Let them explore their inner self by doodling, painting, and creating stuff from nothing but just their creativity.
A core strength
The appreciation of beauty and excellence is described by the VIA Institute on Character (viacharacter.org) as one of the 24 universal core character strengths. In this blog I want to describe what that means and how developing this strength might help you.
People who are high in this strength naturally notice beauty and excellence around them in all aspects of life. This can include anything from a beautifully crafted cabinet corner, the wonder of a sunset, to admiration of an athletic performance, scientific discovery or a literary gem.
Three types of beauty
Typically three types of responses are seen within the strength of appreciation of beauty:
- Physical beauty in art, nature or any other sphere of life. This is probably what most people think of in relation to this strength. Perceiving this kind of beauty engenders an experience of awe and wonder in the person experiencing it.
- Observing excellence in the skills and talents of others; be it a gold medal performance, a perfectly baked cake or an elegantly solved equation, leads to admiration. This can inspire people to pursue their own goals. In the arts there is often an overlap between these first two categories.
- Moral beauty is perhaps often overlooked in considering this strength. It refers to noticing virtuous goodness in others which can produce feelings of elevation and inspire people to try and be better themselves. For example, who hasn’t been moved, in the UK, by the 100th birthday walk of Captain Tom Moore, who raised over £30 million for the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic?
How can this promote well-being?
Promoting key positive emotions, such as awe, admiration and elevation, as described above, helps boost well-being by broadening our perspective and ultimately promoting the building of enduring resources such as resilience. Beyond this, the appreciation of beauty and excellence is categorised an element of the virtue of transcendence. Transcendence refers to our ability to connect to the wider universe and meaning in our life.
Two aspects of well-being are often distinguished. Hedonic well-being refers to the seeking and presence of pleasure and comfort in life while eudaimonic well-being involves seeking meaning and personal development. Both are considered important in underpinning our overall ability to thrive.
At first glance, appreciation of beauty and excellence seems all about hedonic pursuits and experiencing those lovely positive emotions we all need. However, the idea of transcendence perhaps helps explain the real power of this strength. What really moves me when I observe something beautiful, especially in nature or in the selfless behaviour of others, is how this experience makes me feel simultaneously small and insignificant but also connected and part of a bigger whole.
As I look at a beautiful night sky, for a fleeting moment, I get a glimpse of what the universe might be about, my part in it and the potential for good in our world. This sense of meaning has been shown to be a key factor in our ability to flourish. This juxtaposition is apparent to me not only looking up and out but also looking at the very small patterns of life in nature. The picture above shows the beauty of a moth antenna in microscopic detail. The paradox of the very small and its relationship to the whole reflects a balance highlighted in second wave positive psychology (as well as many other traditions). How do we balance the dark with the light? How can small changes ripple outwards? How does the self mesh with the family, the community, all humanity? How do humans interact with nature, the world, the galaxy, time? Surprisingly, stopping to appreciate the beauty of a flower can help us engage with these big questions which contribute to well-being as well as giving us a short term boost of joy.
Developing a strength
The appreciation of beauty and excellence as a strength suggests that it comes naturally to some people more than others. Research shows that people who use their key or “signature” strengths more in their everyday life, not only have greater life satisfaction but perform better and achieve more. The appreciation of beauty and excellence is not one of my top strengths, (it came 11th/24 on my recent profile) however it is one I have worked on developing during the lockdown. Developing a strength simply involves being aware of it and finding ways to use it effectively in different areas of your life to help you. Getting the balance on a strength right, so that you don’t overuse or underuse it in a particular context, is important and requires practice. It would not be helpful for me to spend all day staring at my favourite painting, however, going out into the garden and really savouring a beautiful flower for ten minutes has really helped as a strategy to encourage me to switch perspective and get me “out of my own head” when feeling stuck during lockdown. I have found this a particularly useful strength to work on during the period of relative isolation of the pandemic as I feel you can always find something beautiful to focus on if you are looking for it.
Clearly the appreciation of beauty also relates closely to the concepts of mindfulness and savouring both of which are favourite positive psychology techniques of mine (see my previous blogs). Seeing how these related concepts interact in practice has also helped me to understand the nuances of well-being and how a slightly different approach might be complementary when one comes across obstacles. Hopefully, this will make me a better practitioner when working with others.
The appreciation of beauty and excellence is a core strength which can help promote both hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Even if it is not one of your top strengths it may be useful to develop this, as it is easy to access and not only gives an immediate experience of positive emotions but can help you engage with wider questions about meaning in your life.
Photograph: Gypsy Moth antenna, courtesy of Iolight.uk
About the author: Sarah Monk