The Principle Approach to Art

How Art is Taught with the Principle Approach®

In many instances, art curriculum teaches the elements of art, techniques, and artist studies. Within the artist studies is some background information of the artist, common explanations and observations about the artist’s style, discussing an analysis of the art, and a project to copy a choice work of the artist. But, the Principle Approach® to art is so much richer and deeper than just that.

 

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Vocabulary and Biblical Principles

As with any other discipline, we define the vocabulary pertaining to the subject at hand. Needless to say, it is Art for the purpose of this article. With the Principle Approach®, we look to define vocabulary using Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language. Doing so helps us to study our discipline from a Biblical worldview. Many would refer to this as applying grammar to the discipline.

Then, we take it further to learn about what God has to say about the discipline. And, we research to discover the principle—the first cause, source, origin of a thing. For instance, when was line first used and in what ways? Or, when was color first used and in what ways? This is applying logic; specifically it is Biblical reasoning.

These kinds of discussions help our students to learn how to think and reason biblically. Opportunities like this give room for students of all ages to apply rhetoric.

Of note, this is done in this way for all ages and grades. With the Principle Approach®, we teach to the whole child because this is a natural way of learning. We do not break up this natural way of learning into “stages”. . . reflecting different age groups. This, in part, gives a Biblical Classical education a stark contrast to many other classical models.

You may see a simple example of teaching impressionism with Bible Principles here.

A wonderful addition to your Biblical Classical homeschool is our Bible Principles of Art Guide (its a great companion to the art curriculum of your choice). In it you’ll find: how Natural Law and Revealed Law teach us about God being the Master Artist; the Governing Principles of Art; The Elements of Art and when God created them; Styles of Art and where they originated from (hint: they didn’t start with mankind).

 

Art on the Chain of Christianity®

The StoneBridge Art Guide (<<< not an affiliate link) is a must have for your Biblical Classical homeschool. Within its pages is a beautiful Chain of Christianity® His Story Timeline. With it, our students learn to see how God uses the discipline of Art (which He created) to move the Gospel Westward. Additionally, students learn:

  • how individual artists respond to Holy God
  • the purpose of Art for which God created it
  • how art may bring glory to His name
  • and much more

For example, when we do an artist study on *Key Individual Michael Angelo, we do more than learn about the facts regarding him. And, we learn more than information about his paintings and his techniques. Students learn what God’s purpose is and how his paintings help to advance the Gospel.

Throughout His Story—God uses Key Individuals, Key Institutions, Key Events, and Key Documents. It is Miss Katherine Dang to whom the credit goes to for observing that. Also, she has developed some charts for students to use in their studies of the various disciplines.

*Key Individuals are individuals whom God uses to help advance the Gospel westward. We intentionally study these individuals and add them onto the Chain of Christianity® His Story Timeline on the respective link.

 

Thinking Governmentally in Art

In addition to thinking and reasoning biblically in art, Biblical Classical students learn both the governing principles of art and how to think governmentally about the discipline.

An example of a governing principle is that the elements of art have been established by God from the beginning. These governing principles are still in place today and are expressed by artists as they apply them.

An example of thinking governmentally is God’s Principle of Individuality. The individual honors God with his or her creativity. Therefore, he or she chooses to govern his or her art according to his or her own creativity. And, the individual honors others by choosing not to covet another individual’s talents, skills, or creativity. Furthermore, the individual will choose not to steal the work—breaking copyright laws. Or, if a literary work of art, the individual chooses not to plagiarize another individual’s writings.

 

The Principle Approach® to Art Helps to Shape Cultures

Since Christians’ minds transform by the renewing of their minds, it’s important for students to learn with the Principle Approach® to Art. In doing so, personal convictions form within the heart and mind of the student. As a result, the reasoning they hold dear to is seen in the work they produce.

When students produce art that reflects the inward man—changed by Christ alone—it may impact viewers for Christ. This is true for the fine arts and the performing arts. In addition, it’s true for literary arts.

For instance, movies that have themes, elements, and actions that entertain sin are contrary to the thought-life of a Christian. Conversely, the film Fireproof by the Kendrick Brothers addresses a sin issue in such a way that it does not draw the viewer into a sinful thought life.

Another example is to honor God by handling paintings depicting biblical accounts with reverence. For example, a young student I once taught in a group wanted to add Spider Man to his painting. The issue was that this was a painting of the Last Supper. We had a class discussion about how that would not be reverent and the kind of messages it could send to a viewer. Hence the importance of thinking biblically, principally, and governmentally in the discipline of art is important.

In closing, the Principle Approach® to art can help to shape cultures by impacting the individual. And, the individual may then go forth and impact others for Christ with his or her expressions in art.

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