By Taylor DeDely ‘17
AP Art History, a college level course, is a new elective being taught by Mr. Jonathan Pincus. The course is now being offered to juniors and seniors who take interest in the origins of art.
To enroll, students may talk to their guidance counselors, but does not guarantee admission. There are no additional requirements for enrollment, although, humanities students who major in art will get first pick.
The course has a varied curriculum, as well as experiences to offer. Art History’s purpose is to allow for an understanding of the world through visual stimulation. A main idea of the class is that although you may not be appreciative of the visual aspects of art, the understanding of the historical context, and the meaning behind the works is what art history is intended to analyze. Factors such as lifestyle, religion, and culture all contribute to the backgrounds of objects.
“My goal is to share my passion for our cultural heritage. Think of the class as a survey of the cultural diversity found in 250 objects.” said Mr. Pincus.
The curriculum of the course is based upon the required works for the AP test. On the test, there are a total of 250 objects students will be tested on, which could include paintings, sketches, sculptures, and even chiseled bones. The works of art are spread throughout different time periods, such as the Stone Age, the Prehistoric Aegean, Gothic Europe, Late Medieval Italy, and much more.
Together, all of the works of art are referred to as the “image set”. Students must be able to recognize every object from the image set. In addition, the artist, culture, time period, medium, date created, and origin should be known.
According to Mr. Pincus, a “snapshot” is a paragraph that visually demonstrates your application of art historical skills and understanding about a work of art in the image set. In the snapshot of the object, the form should be described, which includes the Elements of Art, and the Principles of Design. Also, the function, content, context, artistic intent, and your interpretation should all be stated. The snapshot’s main purpose is to assist student preparation for the test, and to measure their understanding.
With a brand new up-to-date textbook, Gardner’s Art through the Ages 15th Edition: A Global History by Fred S. Kleiner, as well as online resources such as Digital Image Library, Google Earth™, Slide Guides, and MindTap, which allows students to access the textbook from mobile devices, Mr.Pincus said he is confident that the learning process will be smooth. In addition to virtual scavenger hunts, there will be field trips to museums, allowing for a more “hands-on” experience, enabling students to see objects from the image set in person.
“We are very lucky to be in NYC, as a large number of the works could be found in local museums,” said Mr. Pincus.
Despite the fact that Mr. Pincus has not taught this subject to high school students previously, that does not hinder his expectations of his students and the achievements to come as a result of their studies and genuine interest of the topic.
“Whether it’s the Seven Wonders of the World, Palmyra, or visiting the Trick to see Johanne Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, I hope students will become lifelong connoisseurs and maybe even curators, gallery directors, registrars, marketing specialists, or some of the many other careers in this field”, said Mr. Pincus.
Although it’s only been three months into the school year, students of the class have made their first impressions.
“I like learning about the different ways you can interpret art and exploring the interesting facts about works of art,” said Lin Dan Zheng ’17.
Zheng hopes students who take the class next year will share the same passion as her and enjoy learning about the history of art.
“I really like the concept of the class itself because it allows me to learn about another aspect in history; about art throughout history,” said Paige Durrant ’17.
To complete the critique, there was constructive criticism as well.
Students of the class said they wanted the lessons to be more interesting, and that they wish the class’ structure would be more organized.
“I think it’s going okay, but I think we still have so much to learn,” Durrant added.