Source
ART
Scholastic ART combines lessons on classic and contemporary artists with hands-on workshop projects to help support a balanced art curriculum for grades 7–12. Teacher’s Edition for grades 4–6 also included.
Subscribe
<i>The School of Athens</i> Renaissance artist Raphael shows off the technique of perspective in The School of Athens. (Raphael, The School of Athens; Scala / Art Resource, NY)

Art History in Perspective

Renaissance artists forever changed the way we depict the world around us

By Katie Babick | 2010-2011
<p>Study the diagram showing one-point perspective. Then look for additional converging lines in <i>School of Athens</i>. (Raphael, <i>The School of Athens</i>; Scala / Art Resource, NY)</p>

Study the diagram showing one-point perspective. Then look for additional converging lines in School of Athens. (Raphael, The School of Athens; Scala / Art Resource, NY)

During the Renaissance (1400-1600), the air in Europe seemed charged with ideas. Artists, writers, musicians, architects, scientists, and mathematicians clamored for knowledge and new ways of looking at the world. It was one of the most exciting times in history.

FLAT FIGURES

Before the Renaissance, most art in Europe centered around Christianity. The most important figures were placed centrally and painted larger than the others. It wasn’t important for them to be in realistic-looking settings.

At the start of the Renaissance, artists became interested in painting more of the world around them. However, they did not have the visual tools to create depth on a two-dimensional picture plane. In Giovanni di Paolo’s (joh-VAHN-ni DEE-pow-loh) 1445 Paradise, the figures look flat and appear to be floating in space. They’re all the same size and are stacked on top of one another in rows. The horizon line (the line dividing the earth from the sky) is placed near the top rather than at eye level, as we see Earth’s horizon in real life.

ART MEETS MATH

Renaissance artists experimented with ways to create the illusion of deep space on a flat surface. They figured out that in real life, parallel lines (for example, a road) appear to converge, or meet, as they recede into the horizon. Additionally, objects that are close appear to be larger and in better focus than those farther away. By applying these concepts to their canvases, artists could mimic the way we see the world. This mathematical system of using lines to create realistic-looking depth is called linear perspective.

SCHOOL OF GREATS

By the 1500s, many artists had mastered the new system of using perspective. When a young artist named Raphael was hired to paint a fresco on a wall of the library at St. Peter’s Church in Rome, he was excited to show off this technique.

From our point of view, when we look at School of Athens (above, right) it is hard to tell where the real architecture ends and the painted arches begin. It is as if we are looking through the wall it is painted on and into the next room. In that room are some of the great thinkers of history who inspired Raphael, including the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle in the center.

Raphael used one-point perspective to compose this work. The lines on the floor tiles and the pillars converge at a single vanishing point on the horizon line. It is between Plato’s and Aristotle’s heads (see diagram). The converging lines also draw our attention to the two figures. Even though they are painted smaller and with less detail than the figures in the foreground (the closest area to the viewer), we can still tell they are the most important.

School of Athens is considered one of the best examples of linear perspective. For more than 500 years, artists have continued to use the techniques developed during the Renaissance. Today artists like Richard Estes play with these techniques to create even more realistic scenes than thought possible in Raphael’s time.

This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Art. For more from Art, click here.

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Scholastic Literacy Events Spotlight on Reading - PreK

    Scholastic Literacy Events Spotlight on Reading - PreK

    Comprehensive Family Engagement Kits
    Linked to Classroom Learning and College and Career Readiness Standards

    Literacy Events is Scholastic’s innovative approach to promoting family engagement, an important component in early education that builds capacity, creates a shared responsibility for educational success, provides tools and confidence and gives educational leaders the capabilities to develop strong home, school and community partnerships. A key feature of effective family engagement programs is that they are linked to learning. Each kit includes literacy-rich activities that provide caregivers with a variety of strategies and tools they can use to nurture and strengthen their child’s love of reading.

    SPOTLIGHT ON READING
    Grades Pre-K – 5
    • Perfect to kick off the school year!
    • Gets families excited about the importance of reading.
    • Shows the key role families play in supporting their children’s education.
    • Designed to support teachers and families.

    What’s Inside?
    • Planning Guide
    These 24-page Planning Guides are a must-have for teachers and other educators. Each includes detailed planning, group management, read aloud and activity information. There is one planning guide per kit.

    • 3 High-Interest Books*
    One read-aloud book to share during the event and 2 additional books to introduce to participants. All three books will then go home with each family. To extend reading practice at home, these packs are bundled for classroom distribution and include the 3 book selections, family activity/tip sheet, and participation certificate for each child in the class. * Bundled for classroom distribution of 30

    • Activity Cards
    These three cards feature prompts to use with the read-aloud book, suggestions for holding a review discussion plus four additional activities that families can do on a rotating basis.

    • Welcome Banner
    A banner to display on the day of the event to greet participants.

    • Poster
    This motivational and informational poster is for display in the classroom and to keep the learning going beyond the event. Posters vary with kit and grade.

    • Bulletin Board Banner
    This after-event tool creates a space in the classroom for take-home activities to be displayed.


    “A key feature of effective family engagement programs is that they are linked to learning. Just as certain instructional strategies can help a school reach its learning goals, family and community engagement can be a strategy for getting students reading at grade level, closing achievement gaps, and motivating students for long-term educational goals”
    —Karen Mapp, Ed.D., Senior Lecturer on Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

    Click here to learn more about the Scholastic Literacy Events.

    $349.00
    Supplementary Collection | Grade PreK
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Scholastic Literacy Events Spotlight on Reading - PreK
    Grade PreK $349.00
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Spotlight on . . . Literary Elements

    Spotlight on . . . Literary Elements

    by Maria Walther


    View Sample Pages



    Teaching must-know literary elements is easy with this unique boxed set. It includes 48 books (6 copies of 8 48-page anthologies) for students plus a 96-page teaching guide. Literary elements covered: Character, Figurative Language, Foreshadowing & Flashback, Plot, Point of View, Setting, Theme, Tone & Mood. Each student anthology includes 4-6 engaging stories, poems, or plays that are perfect for teaching specific literary elements. The teaching guide includes mini-lessons, graphic organizers, student reproducibles, and great activity ideas. A storage box keeps everything organized. An easy way to meet the language arts standards!

    Includes:
    • Forty-Eight 48-page books - six copies of 8 titles • 98 page Teaching Guide • Storage box


    You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader® software, version 4.0 or higher, to view and print the sample page above. Get Adobe Reader® for FREE.

    $56.25 You save: 25%
    Boxed Set | Grades 4-8
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Spotlight on . . . Literary Elements
    Grades 4-8 $56.25
    Add To Cart
Privacy Policy
EMAIL THIS

* YOUR FIRST NAME ONLY

* FRIEND'S FIRST NAME ONLY

* FRIEND'S EMAIL ADDRESS

MESSAGE
Here's something interesting from Scholastic.com