Exploring Asian Landscapes
- Grade Level: Middle School, High School
- Subject Area: Art
Students visit an on-line Asian art museum, analyze several landscapes, and explore the painting techniques.
- Become familiar with the distinctive aspects of classical Asian landscape paintings.
- Explore painting techniques that are elements of Asian landscape paintings.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer (PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or dial-up software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but perhaps Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
- Special hardware requirements: None.
- Special software requirements: None.
- Internet access: High-speed (greater than 1 MBPS via network).
- Classroom resources: Water colors, paper, subjects for landscape paintings, such as photographs of landscapes.
- Introduce the lesson by outlining to students the plans for the next few class sessions. Let students know that they will be visiting a site with classical Asian landscape paintings, that they will be expected to analyze the paintings according to several criteria, and that they will later be completing a landscape of their own in a similar style.
- Discuss the list of criteria that students will use to analyze the components of the landscapes they see. The following are list of possible criteria:
- What is the natural subject matter the painter chose to depict?
- How realistic is the painting-- does it look like something you have seen in nature?
- How has the artist used color in the picture? What sort of feeling or experience does this use of color evoke?
- Is the pigment the artist used opaque or transparent? What sort of techniques do you think might have been used to achieve this effect?
- How has the artist used line in the picture? What sort of feeling or experience does this use of line evoke?
- How is the illusion of space created in the piece?
- What three words would you use to describe this painting?
- Have students visit the Art in China Website (see Internet Resources below) and view the first two paintings (by Ming Dynasty artists Chen Chun and Chou Ying). Have students visit the Web Museum exhibits on Japanese artists Hiroshige and Hokusai (See Internet Resources below). Students should focus on Hiroshige's paintings Plum Estate and Moon Pine and Hokusai's The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. Have students read the biographies of Hokusai and Hiroshige. Students should respond to the questions listed above and record their observations for later use.
- Assemble the class for a whole group discussion of students' observations. Conclude the discussion by highlighting the distinctive elements of Asian landscapes and summarizing students ideas on techniques that might be used to achieve such effects. Ask students to try to link information they learned from the biographical sketches to the artists' work.
- Students create water color landscapes in the style of the classical Asian landscapes they viewed.
- The Art of China
This site has resources on a variety of Chinese art forms, including paintings, pottery, and calligraphy.
- Works by Ando Hiroshige at the Web Museum
This site includes both pictures by Hiroshige, a Japanese artist who worked during the early to mid-1800s, and a brief biography and discussion of his work.
- Works by Katsushika Hokusai at the Web Museum
This site provides both pictures by Hokusai, a Japanese artist who worked during the mid-1800s, and a brief biography and discussion of his work.
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