Third Grade - Visual Arts - Overview- May

Byzantine architecture is the focus of this final month's art study. In the first lesson, students examine the beauty and the architectural achievement of the Hagia Sophia located in Constantinople (Istanbul). A comparison is made between the Pantheon (studied in April) and the Hagia Sophia, regarding their visual similarities (the domes) and other shared elements.
In the second lesson students also observe the beauty of the mosaics found in the Hagia Sophia and in churches in Ravenna, Italy. The materials, subjects and techniques for making mosaics are all explored. Students make their own paper mosaics at the end of the lesson.

Third Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 29 - Hagia Sophia
Objectives
Identify ways that the Hagia Sophia and the Pantheon are similar.
Hear that the Hagia Sophia has served as both a church and a mosque.
Observe elements of art in the structure (light, space, line).
Write a paragraph explaining preference for one dome (Pantheon or Hagia Sophia).
 

Materials
Pictures of the exterior and interior of the Hagia Sophia (see Suggested Books)

Suggested Books
Caselli, Giovanni. The Roman Empire and the Dark Ages. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 1981. "Byzantium: the new Rome" covers pp. 24-27; Hagia Sophia, Justinian and mosaics are discussed. Accurate illustrations are included.
Hirsch, E. D., ed. What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992.
Exterior and interior photographs of the Hagia Sophia are included on pp. 225-226. See page 118 for a photograph of Constantinople featuring the Hagia Sophia and surrounding buildings.
Roberts, Paul C., ed. Ancient Rome. New York: Time-Life Books, 1997.
An illustration of the Hagia Sophia is featured on p. 57 and a number of mosaics are included throughout.
Teacher Reference and for showing pictures to students
de la Croix, Horst, Richard G. Tansey and Diane Kirkpatrick, ed. Gardner's Art Through the Ages, Vol. I: Ancient, Medieval and Non-European Art. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1991. Chapter 7 contains many photographs of mosaics; photographs, drawings and cross sections of the Hagia Sophia
Mango, Cyril. Byzantine Architecture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1978.
Large full color pictures on pp. 58-59. Plan of the building and black and white interior and exterior photos on pp. 62-69. Good for showing light entering the space.

Procedure
Begin the lesson by asking the students to recall the name of the large temple in Rome that was built under the direction of the emperor Hadrian (the Pantheon). Ask: What does the word Pantheon mean? (all the gods) What was the purpose of the Pantheon? (place to worship the gods, a temple complete with many altars) What was unique about the structure of the Pantheon? (large domed roof with oculus, the height of the dome and the diameter of the dome were the same, there was a large amount of open space)
Tell the students that years later, another place of worship with a beautiful dome was built. It is called the Hagia Sophia (HAH jah soFEEah). In Greek "hagia" means holy and "sophia" means wisdom, so the name means Church of the Holy Wisdom. (Display a photograph of the exterior of the church, specifically the dome.) Explain that the church was built under the direction of Emperor Justinian who ruled the Holy Roman Empire from 527 to 565 A.D. Ask: Who was emperor of the Holy Roman Empire before Justinian? (Constantine) What religion were both Constantine and Justinian? (Christian) Have students recall that Justinian is remembered for the collection of laws called Justinian's Code, and tell the students that Justinian and his wife Theodora are also remembered for many Christian churches they had built. Tell the students that a much smaller church called the Hagia Sophia already existed when he became emperor, but Justinian wanted a larger, more splendid building.
Point out the four minarets that stand at the corners of the building . Ask students to recall
the religion whose followers are called to prayer daily and face Mecca as they pray (Islam). Tell the students that the Hagia Sophia is now used as a mosque and the tall pointed towers called minarets were added when the people of Constantinople changed their religion from Christian to Muslim. Explain that over time, people of different religions have used the same buildings for worship. Tell the students that the Pantheon was used as a Christian church in later years.
Have the students recall that the dome of the Pantheon rested on a cylindrical or drum-shaped base, and tell them that the dome of the Hagia Sophia sits on a square, but the square is open on two ends into half-circles which each open into two more half circles, so the floor seems to keep expanding as you look at it. (Likening this illusion to that of a three-way mirror may be helpful.) Tell the students that like the Pantheon, the roof of the large dome of the Hagia Sophia was intended to resemble the heavens.
Tell the students that the top of the dome of the Hagia Sophia is 180 feet in the air. Because the dome is encircled with windows it appears to float. It almost looks like an umbrella that is being held a distance above an open room so the light is free to enter all around it.
Show pictures of the interior of the Hagia Sophia and have the students note the beautiful artistic details that brighten it. (In the next lesson students will examine the mosaics that decorate the interior.) Have students note the Islamic language on the discs suspended from the ceiling and remind them that the photographs were taken recently when the church has been used as a mosque. Tell the students that the architecture of the Hagia Sophia so impressed Moslem leaders that there are now several mosques in the world that resemble this building.
Remind students that the actual construction of the Hagia Sophia was a great accomplishment. There were no modern machines to make the construction easy. Much of the work was done was done by hand and the machines that existed depended on animal and manpower to function.
Close the lesson by having the students compare the Pantheon and the Hagia Sophia. Ask students to recall any similarities between the two and list them on the board as students make observations. If possible, show photographs of each during this discussion. Similarities include:
both used for worship
both had domes symbolizing the heavens
both built under the direction of an emperor
both were architectural challenges
both made use of space and light
both had smaller buildings that existed before
both have been used by followers of more than one religion
As a final activity, have the students write a paragraph explaining which dome they prefer and why--the Pantheon's dome with its oculus or the Hagia Sophia with its ring of windows.

Third Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 30 - Mosaics
Note: Use this lesson after Visual Arts Lesson 29 (Hagia Sophia)

Objectives
Discuss the elements of art present in a mosaic (light, color, line, shape, pattern).
Identify the materials used in mosaics.
Recognize that the creation of a mosaic is painstaking work.
Make a paper, seed or styrofoam mosaic (optional).

Materials
Photographs of mosaics (see Suggested Books)
A sample mosaic (jewelry, picture, plate)
Materials for creating a mosaic: seeds; brightly colored paper cut into squares, triangles, and rectangles (may be pre-gummed); plastic or styrofoam tiles, etc.
Glue, cardboard

Suggested Books
Hewitt, Sally. Footsteps in Time: The Romans. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1995.
Pages 10-11 give instructions for making a mosaic picture and include a colorful fish example.
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. What Your Third Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992.
Pages 183-186 include a large reproduction of the mosaic of Empress Theodora of Ravenna and a discussion of rhythm in art; on p. 191 there is a close-up of Theodora from the larger picture.
________. What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992.
Page 224 includes a small reproduction of the mosaic of Empress Theodora in Ravenna. Shape and rhythm are discussed as well.
Miles, Lisa. The Usborne Illustrated Atlas of the World History. Tulsa, OK: EDC Publishing, 1996. Page 30 contains a small close-up illustration of a mosaic. Useful for showing the individual segments of a mosaic.
Roberts, Paul C., ed. Ancient Rome. New York: Time-Life Books, 1997.
A number of photographs of mosaics are included throughout this book.
Teacher Reference and for showing pictures to students
Beckett, Sister Wendy and Patricia Wright. The Story of Painting. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1994. Pages 24-26 tell about Early Christian Art; a full color reproduction of a mosaic of Justinian and his Attendants is included, as is another of Christ from the Cathedral of the Monreale.
de la Croix, Horst, Richard G. Tansey and Diane Kirkpatrick, ed. Gardner's Art Through the Ages, Vol. I: Ancient, Medieval and Non-European Art. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1991. Chapter 7 contains many photographs of mosaics; photographs, drawings and cross sections of the Hagia Sophia are found on pp. 284-287.

Procedure
Begin the class by having the students recall the designs in tile that they saw in Ancient Rome. Perhaps they remember the picture of the dog that was created to announce that a dog was in the home (cave canem), or they may recall the beautiful designs that graced the baths. (If possible, show some of these mosaics.) Tell students (or have them recall) that this type of artwork is called mosaic. Explain that mosaics are pictures created from bits of colored glass, jewels and precious metals fitted together and held with mortar. Tell the students that in Ancient Rome, many floors were decorated with mosaic pictures.
Write the word "mosaic" on the board and next to it write the words "colorful puzzle." Tell students that the pieces in a mosaic go together like the parts of a puzzle do. If you were to take a mosaic apart, you would have thousands of tiny colored pieces. The pieces might be in the shape of tiny squares, but they might also be circles, rectangles or triangles.
Show some examples of mosaics from the Suggested Books (or an actual mosaic object if one is available). Explain that some of the most beautiful mosaics of all time and all places were created during the time of the Christian Emperor Justinian. They were used to decorate the churches that Justinian and Theodora had built. Some of the churches were in Ravenna, Italy and some were in Constantinople, the city where Justinian ruled. Tell the students that Justinian wanted the churches to be so beautiful that the people who went to them would want to stay awhile to pray and meditate. The beautiful, colorful mosaics accomplished that and the pictures in the mosaics provided a way to tell religious stories to those people who couldn't read.
Explain that the mosaics in the churches of Ravenna and in the Hagia Sophia looked so bright and colorful because gold was used in back of the glass pieces and it caught the light and reflected it back. Then these many tiny pieces of light which were produced by glass and gold blended together to make a luminous picture. The glass allowed the light to travel easily, so from a distance, it appeared as a glow of color rather than individual dots. Remind students of the way light looks passing through stained glass.
Have students note the shapes of the figures in the mosaics that contain pictures of Justinian and Theodora. (Show pictures of these mosaics.) They will see that one basic shape for a figure is repeated again and again. Ask: What is it called when a shape is repeated again and again? (pattern) Are there other patterns in a mosaic? (repetition of shapes of glass.)
Explain that to accentuate the shape of a figure, outlining was done. The darker outline encloses the figure and momentarily captures the viewer's eyes and keeps them there so the viewer does not rush from figure to figure but rather stays for awhile looking at each. Point out to students that this also helped accomplish Justinian's goal that people extend their visit to the church.
Tell the students that the mosaics did not only cover the walls, but the ceiling as well. Explain that as the viewer looked toward the altar (where the religious ceremony was performed), his or her eyes would be drawn heavenward. Remind the students of the domed ceiling and describe how the rounded surface would naturally draw the eyes along its curves.
Have the students consider any difficulties an artist creating a mosaic might have (many small pieces to manipulate, need to keep mortar at the right consistency to "hold" the glass, battle against gravity as glass is set into walls and ceilings, time consuming work, have to visualize something very small becoming part of something very large). Ask: What tools do you think the artists who create mosaics need to use? (hammers, trowels, tweezers or forceps, etc.) What are the advantages of using glass and metal? (long lasting, can be changed before mortar is set) Do you think that the creation of a mosaic is more like painting or sculpture? (Answers may vary.)
Tell the students that mosaics may be made of many different materials. Point out that while the glass and gold were a perfect combination for a church that was illuminated by candlelight, mosaics could be just as beautifully constructed of tiles. Ask students to suggest materials that might be used in a mosaic (paper, seeds, rocks, plastic, etc.). Tell them that beautiful mosaics can be made from colored eggshells, although the pieces are definitely not identical in shape.
Close the lesson by telling the students that they will try making a mosaic. Remind them that this will be a time consuming process and should be done slowly and carefully. If possible, provide the students with a simple scene to fill in (pieces of fruit, a sailboat, a fish, large flowers). Demonstrate that the individual squares (or seeds) are placed separately and not overlapped with blank space left visible in between. Show that the individual pieces may be placed horizontally (or vertically) or may be placed in a radiating circle. Keep the overall size of the pictures relatively small so that students do not become frustrated and careless.

Bibliography

Caselli, Giovanni. The Roman Empire and the Dark Ages. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 1981. (0-911745-58-0)
Hewitt, Sally. Footsteps in Time: The Romans. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1995. (0-516-08058-X)
Hirsch, Jr., E. D., ed. What Your Third Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992. (0-385-31257-1)
________. What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992.(0-385-31260-1)
Miles, Lisa. The Usborne Illustrated Atlas of the World History. Tulsa, OK: EDC Publishing, 1996. (0-7460-1728-6)
Roberts, Paul C., ed. Ancient Rome. New York: Time-Life Books, 1997. (0-7835-4909-1)
Teacher Reference and for showing pictures to students
Beckett, Sister Wendy and Patricia Wright. The Story of Painting. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1994. (1-56458-615-4)
de la Croix, Horst, Richard G. Tansey and Diane Kirkpatrick, ed. Gardner's Art Through the Ages, Vol. I: Ancient, Medieval and Non-European Art. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1991. (0-15-503770-6)
Mango, Cyril. Byzantine Architecture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1978. (0-8478-0615-4)