Art history is integrated into the visual arts curriculum in the lower school, with each grade focusing on a different master artist. Second grade studies art history studies include the work of Henri Matisse, Alice Neal, and Thiebaud, while third grade focuses on Monet, Rousseau, O’Keefe, and Picasso. Our fourth grade art history studies include the work of John James Audubon, Edward Lear, and Walton Ford, and fifth include Alexander Calder, Van Gogh, and Georgia O’Keefe.
Within the upper school art program, specific attention is devoted to a formal art history curriculum. Using Janson’s History of Art for Young People, slides, videos, texts, monographs on individual artists and styles of art, art magazines, and related materials, students explore art from prehistoric time to current, contemporary work.
Students are challenged to think of themselves as art historians/archeologists who are studying a period of art and recording their impressions. Classes include discussions of their favorite pieces and how those relate to one another. Along with seeing slides and videos, students create sample pieces of the art they are studying. Sixth grade classes create cave drawings. Seventh grade classes make fresco paintings, Greek-style terra-cotta tiles, and metal-tooled illuminated letters. Eighth grade focuses on the Renaissance, while ninth grade classes focus on contemporary artists.
The music history classes closely follow the academic history curriculum for seventh and eighth graders. Folk songs are used to show relationships between historic events, politics, and culture.