Art & Literature of Seasonal Living: The Maple Tree

The Inspiring Maple Tree:
The Art & Literature of Seasonal Living

Robert Strong Woodward

Western Massachusetts landscape painter, Robert Strong Woodward (1885-1957) was born in Northampton, MA and settled in Buckland where he painted along with a studio in Heath where he produced many works. Woodward was a landscape painter mostly depicting the rural countryside and living that surrounded him. One of the themes he explored is the sugaring season.

You can view Woodward’s works at the website run by the nonprofit Friends of Woodward.

One painting in particular, Late Sugaring, shows maple trees with red tapping buckets along Route 112 in Buckland. Painted in 1934, this image is a typical New England scene that one can still witness driving along the same road in the Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. This beautiful region, largely unchanged throughout the decades, still offers that majestic New England experience that Woodward captures in this painting. An online gallery of Woodward’s sugaring paintings is also found at Friends of Woodward’s web site. Peruse the gallery before heading over to a local sugar shack this season for breakfast and arrive curious. What has changed over the years? What is the same?  Read the rest of this entry »

Art and The Civil Rights Movement

Norman Rockwell’s The Problem We All Live With

Norman Rockwell’s The Problem We All Live With, painted in 1963, is considered an iconic image of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The painting depicts six year-old Ruby Bridges walking to school accompanied by four U.S. marshals. As part of desegregation, Ruby was the first African American student to attend the William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Read the rest of this entry »

Art History: Summit of Mt. Holyoke

Thomas Cole, The Oxbow, 1836

Really want to entrench yourself in local art history?  Then paint at the summit of Mt. Holyoke!  The mountain (not the college!) is the site of Thomas Cole’s 1836 painting “View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm” (commonly known as “The Oxbow”).  This painting depicts the Connecticut River Valley and highlights Cole’s interest in depicting two parts of the American landscape: pastoral farmland and wild forest.

For full lesson, visit www.khanacademy.org.

View an interactive image of the painting at www.explorethomascole.org.  (Can you see where the artist inserted an image of himself painting en plein air in the painting?)

Community-Based Resource Support Art History: The Clark

Little-known Work by Eugène Delacroix on View at Clark Art Institute

Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798–1863), The Martyrdom of Saint Sulpicius, c. 1847-50. Private Collection. Photo courtesy Clark Art Institute.

The Martyrdom of Saint Sulpicius (c. 1847-50) is a little-known but magnificent oil study by French artist Eugène Delacroix, which was displayed only once in 1930.

“One of the great things about being a curator is having the opportunity to encounter and study works of art that haven’t been widely known or exhibited to the public, and in turn to be able to share this knowledge with a larger audience. Delacroix’s The Martyrdom of Saint Sulpicius is one of those wonderful opportunities. There is a great deal to be learned and shared about a work like this that is quite exciting, and gives you the sense that you are unraveling a mystery of sorts,” said Lara Yeager-Crasselt, the Clark’s interim curator of paintings and sculpture.

“Art history is often thought of as being a static discipline—learning the dates of paintings and recognizing artists—but it is extraordinary in the way that it remains a living, breathing discipline that engages the objects themselves as much as the historical and cultural contexts that shaped them, in their own time and in their history thereafter. There are always challenges inherent in that pursuit and this painting is a wonderful example of that kind of challenge.”

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Norman Rockwell’s Civil Rights Era Works on Google Cultural Institute

Norman Rockwell Museum Shares Norman Rockwell’s Civil Rights Era Works on Google Cultural Institute

“Most people view Norman Rockwell as synonymous with American ideals, yet few are aware of his later career shift to illustrate human rights issues,” says Norman Rockwell Museum’s Director of Digital Engagement and Learning, Rich Bradway.

In celebration of Black History Month, Norman Rockwell Museum has partnered with Google to share artworks and artifacts from its permanent collection, that illustrate Norman Rockwell’s dedication to civil rights. Available through the Google Cultural Institute website, “Norman Rockwell In The Age of the Civil Rights Movement” presents Rockwell’s paintings, rarely seen studies, reference photos, and correspondence relating to his important works created during the period; the online exhibition joins over 4000 new items –including 80 exhibits and three expeditions—that document different moments throughout African American history.

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Illustration History: Online Educational Resource & Archive for the Art of Illustration

Online Resource Provides Close-Up Look at the Art of Illustration

All children are familiar with illustrations, even if just from noticing an illustrator’s name noted on the cover of a favorite picture book. Illustration as an art form encompasses much more than images for children’s books; the art of illustration includes the creation of images for everything from advertisements to comic books. Using the Norman Rockwell Museum’s newest online resource, Illustration History, families can learn about the numerous forms of illustration, notable illustrators, and the connections between the art of illustration and history, culture, economics, and technology.

Launched just recently, Illustration History serves as both an educational resource and an archive, broadening the possibilities for learning with an extensive database of images and information about artists and illustration history. Read the rest of this entry »

Discovering History Through Pottery-Based Learning

Local Pottery Resources Provide History Education

A part of cultures around the world for thousands of years, pottery is fascinating – both as a functional art form and as an entry point for studying history. Utilizing local resources, children’s literature, and online tools, families can explore art, history, culture, and science through pottery-centric studies!

Pottery has been a part of human civilizations around the world ever since the Neolithic era – which was over 10,000 years ago! Much more than just a means of making dishes, pottery serves as a creative outlet for many artists, and the slow development of the art and technology surrounding pottery speaks volumes to the changes that human civilization has undergone, both long ago and more recently. Additionally, while pottery can be found in countless cultures all around the world, techniques, styles, and uses vary between cultures, and close study of various pieces of pottery can speak to the similarities and differences between cultures near and far. Read the rest of this entry »

Clark Lifts Lid on Major 20th Century Modernist Movement

Machine Age Modernism Exhibit At Clark Art Institute Captures Turmoil & Upheaval

Clark Art Institute’s Machine Age Modernism exhibition explores groundbreaking printmaking and offers community-based learning opportunity on art history. Exhibition opens February 28, 2015 in Williamstown, MA.

The Clark Art Institute considers the history and politics that inspired many artists working during and between World Wars I and II in the exhibition Machine Age Modernism: Prints from the Daniel Cowin Collection. Influenced by such prewar movements as Futurism and Cubism, and using innovative techniques developed by artists associated with London’s Grosvenor School of Modern Art in the 1930s and 1940s, artists of the Machine Age defied aesthetic and technical conventions in order to convey the vitality of industrial society and changed printmaking in the process. Machine Age Modernism will be on view in the Clark Center February 28–May 17, 2015.
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