Art History & Appreciation

There are works of art so inherently beautiful or stunning that anyone looking at them ends up choking back tears, or standing transfixed, or simply unable to breathe for several seconds. What you won't often hear is that those are the exceptions, that most paintings, buildings and sculptures require anterior knowledge to be fully appreciated.

Once you know what to look for, the once-abstruse and confusing world of chiaroscuro, Pre-Raphaelite, and oxidation fire becomes navigable and even a welcome place from the ho-hum mundanities of the everyday world. Though, of course, we'd be the last to encourage art appreciation for mere escapism—if a work can't reveal some element of human nature or help us understand things a little better, it isn't worth much.

This is one reason a lot of modern art can't really be considered art at all. It isn't intended to reveal anything, but simply to be "living commentary," a mere reflection, not of reality, but of the artist's inner conflict or angst. Sometimes it's not even that deep, and simply reflects the belief that there is no meaning in the world, that everything is empty, that nihilism is the only truth.

We reject those claims entirely. Everything is meaningful because Christ has made it so. Taken too far that idea is sometimes used to defend all kinds of non-art and just plain bad art, but all it really means is that everything is either consistent with or in rebellion against God's truth, and that artistic endeavours reveal which side the artist is on.

For Christians, understanding art from this perspective should be the primary motive in studying anything from the Sistine Chapel to Rembrandt's portraits to the illustrations of N.C. Wyeth. Art has the potential to entertain and delight, but it also affects the attitudes and thoughts of those who come in contact with it. Understanding a work's context and significance will immensely help us determine whether it's beneficial or pernicious.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.

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43 Items found Print
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Andy Warhol
by Mike Venezia
from Children's Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Great Artists (Location: ELE-ARTISTS)
$4.50 (1 in stock)
Annotated Mona Lisa
by Carol Strickland
2nd edition from Andrews and McMeel
for 5th-12th grade
in Art History & Appreciation (Location: ELE-ARTHIS)
$19.54 $15.00 (1 in stock)
Annotated Mona Lisa
by Carol Strickland
3rd edition from Andrews and McMeel
for 5th-12th grade
in Art History & Appreciation (Location: ELE-ARTHIS)
$25.49
Art Coloring Book
by Sarah Courtauld
from Usborne
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
Art Smart: Spot the Details and Find Out the Facts
Act from Dover Publications
for 1st-7th grade
in Art History & Appreciation (Location: ELE-ARTHIS)
$9.99
Artist of the Reformation
by Joyce McPherson
from Greenleaf Press
Biography for 5th-9th grade
in Biographies (Location: BIO)
$11.01
Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin
by Marguerite Henry
from Beautiful Feet Books
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in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
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Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin
by Marguerite Henry & Wesley Dennis
Reprint from Aladdin Paperbacks
for 3rd-6th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: FIC-ANI)
$6.79
Bill Peet
by Bill Peet
from Houghton Mifflin
Biography for 4th-8th grade
1990 Caldecott Honor Book
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$16.14
Charlotte in Giverny
by Joan MacPhail Knight
Reprint from Chronicle Books
for 3rd-8th grade
in Great Artists (Location: ELE-ARTISTS)
Country Artist
by David R. Collins
from First Avenue Editions
Biography for Preschool-3rd Grade
in Biographies (Location: BIO)
Creative Drawing
by Howard J. Smagula
from Brown & Benchmark Publishers
for 9th-Adult
in Advanced Drawing Instruction (Location: ELE-ARTDRAD)
$10.00 (1 in stock)
Discovering Great Artists
by MaryAnn F. Kohl & Kim Solga
from Bright Ring Publishing
for Preschool-6th grade
in Great Artists (Location: ELE-ARTISTS)
$16.11 $13.00 (2 in stock)
Dore's Illustrations for "Paradise Lost"
by Gustave Dore
from Dover Publications
for 10th-Adult
in 17th Century Literature (Location: LIT4-17)
Elizabeth Fry
from Emerald Books
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Christian Heroes: Then and Now (Location: BIO-BENGE)
$8.49
Frida Kahlo: The Artist Who Painted Herself
by Margaret Frith
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 1st-3rd grade
in Great Artists (Location: ELE-ARTISTS)
$3.50 (1 in stock)
Great Studio Projects in Art History
by William Reid
Revised from Walch Publishing
for 4th-6th grade
in Art History & Appreciation (Location: ELE-ARTHIS)
$10.00 (1 in stock)
Henri Matisse
by Mike Venezia
from Children's Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Great Artists (Location: ELE-ARTISTS)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
I, Juan de Pareja
by Elizabeth Borton de Treviño
from Square Fish Publishing
Realistic Fiction/Slavery for 5th-8th grade
1966 Newbery Medal winner
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$6.79
I, Juan de Pareja
by Elizabeth Borton de Treviño
from Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Realistic Fiction/Slavery for 5th-8th grade
1966 Newbery Medal winner
in Historical Fiction (Location: FIC-HIF)
$4.00 (4 in stock)
Illustrated Timeline of Art History
by Carol Strickland PhD
from Sterling Publishing Co.
for 7th-10th grade
in Art History & Appreciation (Location: ELE-ARTHIS)
$12.95
Jackson Pollock
by Mike Venezia
from Children's Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Great Artists (Location: ELE-ARTISTS)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
John Audubon
Young Patriots series
by Miriam E. Mason
from Patria Press, Inc.
for 4th-6th grade
in Biographies (Location: BIO)
$8.46 $7.00 (1 in stock)
Leonardo da Vinci
by Diane Stanley
from HarperCollins
Biography for 3rd-6th grade
in Biographies (Location: BIO)
$6.79
Leonardo da Vinci for Kids
by Janis Herbert
from Chicago Review Press
Biography/Activity Book for 3rd-8th grade
in Renaissance & Reformation (Location: HIS-RENREF)
$17.95
Lives of the Artists
by Kathleen Krull
Reprint from HMH Books for Young Readers
for 3rd-6th grade
in Great Artists (Location: ELE-ARTISTS)
$8.99
Masterpiece of the Month
by Jennifer Thomas
from Teacher Created Materials, Inc.
for 1st-3rd grade
in Art History & Appreciation (Location: ELE-ARTHIS)
$4.50 (1 in stock)
Norman Rockwell
by Mike Venezia
from Children's Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Great Artists (Location: ELE-ARTISTS)
$4.50 (1 in stock)
Pablo Picasso
Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists
by Mike Venezia
from Children's Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Great Artists (Location: ELE-ARTISTS)
$3.50 (1 in stock)
Pablo Picasso
Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists
by Mike Venezia
from Children's Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Great Artists (Location: ELE-ARTISTS)
Passion for the Impossible
by Miriam Huffman Rockness
from Discovery House Publishers
for 8th-Adult
in Biographies (Location: BIO)
$14.44
Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Paintings That Smile
by True Kelley
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 3rd-6th grade
in Biographies (Location: BIO)
$3.50 (2 in stock)
Pieter Brugel
by Mike Venezia
from Children's Press
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Biographies (Location: BIO)
Rembrandt
Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists
by Mike Venezia
Revised from Children's Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Great Artists (Location: ELE-ARTISTS)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Renaissance Art Game
First Edition
for 4th-6th grade
in Art History & Appreciation (Location: ELE-ARTHIS)
$18.00 (1 in stock)
Salvador Dali
by Mike Venezia
Revised from Children's Press
for Preschool- 3rd Grade
in Great Artists (Location: ELE-ARTISTS)
Spot the Differences Book 1
by Alan Weller, Dover
from Dover Publications
for 4th-6th grade
in Art History & Appreciation (Location: ELE-ARTHIS)
$9.99
Spot the Differences Book 2
by Dover
from Dover Publications
for 4th-6th grade
in Art History & Appreciation (Location: ELE-ARTHIS)
$9.99
Spot the Differences Book 3
by Susan L. Rattiner, ed.
from Dover Publications
for 3rd-7th grade
in Art History & Appreciation (Location: ELE-ARTHIS)
$9.99
Spot the Differences Book 4
by Alan Weller
from Dover Publications
for 3rd-7th grade
in Art History & Appreciation (Location: ELE-ARTHIS)
$9.99
Usborne Book of Famous Artists
from Usborne
for 2nd-7th grade
in Great Artists (Location: ELE-ARTISTS)
$16.99
Usborne Famous Artists Sticker Book
from Usborne
for 2nd-6th grade
in Great Artists (Location: ELE-ARTISTS)
$7.00 (1 in stock)
Who Was Leonardo da Vinci?
Who Was?...Series
by Roberta Edwards
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 2nd-5th grade
in Who Was? biographies (Location: BIO-WHO)