During our summer session at CIP Berkshire, students were fortunate to have the opportunity to take an online course in Art History, from the Renaissance to Modern Art. Imagine Da Vinci to Warhol! Furthermore, I was even luckier. I got to teach this course using all of the online materials with them as a group of six.
Our class consisted of six very strong students with good academic skills. Some students had had some background in art and some had none. It made for an interesting mix. We would arrive at 9 am and I would turn on the overhead projector and show the art work covered in the previous night’s reading. Then we would begin to answer the questions. In fact, all the students would have read and completed their assignment. It was a challenge for me to remember and relate to them all of the material I had learned from this course I had taken just a few months ago.
How do I explain “chiaroscuro” or “Quadro riportato” or “contrapposto”? Somehow, the Italian phrases did not stick with me as well as I had thought. Well, it was time for me to do a little review myself. In each new section there were new ideas and concepts to master and, of course, new artists to encounter. Beside the most famous Renaissance heroes like Michelangelo, there were artists like Giotto, Artemisia Gentilechsi (a woman), Rubens, Gericault, Manet (not Monet), Picasso, O’Keefe (another woman!) and many more. We certainly all worked very hard! Did I mention that everyone passed the course and with very respectable grades — even an A or two in the mix!
Since I was a young person in college, I had always wanted to teach art history but somehow life got in the way. Finally, I have fulfilled one of those many precious items on my personal bucket list: that is, to teach an art history course — just one. Done!