Monday, July 03, 2006

What Makes a Masterpiece?

monalisa miro

When teaching our children to look at and appreciate fine art, I caution mothers to be careful in their choices. Just because a particular painting is popular today, does not mean it is worthy of our attention. I appreciate Charlotte Mason’s definition of a true work of art:

“Art is great only in proportion to the greatness of the idea that it expresses; while what we ask of the execution, the technique, is that it shall be adequate to the inspiring idea.”

I teach my children the three main ingredients necessary for great art:

It must be a thing of beauty
It must require great skill
It must express a worthy idea

There are only so many artists that we will have time to explore. My husband and I have chosen to focus our picture study only on artists that meet these timeless standards. During the high school years, we delve more deeply into the artists’ worldviews and examine the more controversial art forms of modern art, but in the early years, our goal is to develop a keen eye that appreciates a true work of art. If you would like to eavesdrop on a very interesting discussion concerning the question of qualifications for a work of art, The Common Room is the place to visit.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this insight. Please don't let anyone tell you that such terrible art as is foisted upon us all around, is beautiful and that we just don't "understand" it because we aren't educated enough! True art draws you in, with all your senses. I know of paintings that make me almost smell the scent of the flowers in them. I've seen paintings that make me smile. While someone has to "explain" some of the bad art and try to talk you into liking it, good art needs no persuasion! You just naturally like it!