Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Art of Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Dürer
1471 - 1528

Self-Portrait in Fur Coat
Oil on panel, 67 x 49 cm  
Alte Pinakothek, Munich 

Self Portrait at 26
Oil on panel, 52 x 41 cm 
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid 

Christ Among the Doctors
Oil on panel, 65 x 80 cm
Fundacion Coleccion Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid 

St Peter And St John Healing The Cripple 
Engraving, 118 x 74 mm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Hands of the Apostle

1508, Sketch

A Young Hare
Watercolor and gouache on paper, 25 x 23 cm 
Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna 

The Last Supper 
1523; Wood Block: 21 x 30 cm
Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

Writing Assignment #1 for Tuesday: Choose one of these pictures (other than the two self portraits) and write a descriptive paragraph.  Include a topic sentence, at least three sentences containing supporting details, and a conclusion sentence.  The topic sentence may contain the information supplied above each painting, such as when it was created, what kind of art it is, or what museum now owns it.  The three supporting detail sentences need to be your own observations about what is in the painting.  The conclusion should include your opinion about the piece.

Writing Assignment #2 for Wednesday: Write a paragraph that compares the two self portraits.  The topic sentence will identify both paintings and make a statement of your opinion or observation about them.  The three supporting detail sentences will explain your topic sentence with specific examples.  The conclusion will restate your opinion in different words.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent Assignment #5: Luke 7 and Jesus, Friend of Sinners

This post is the 7th-8th grade English assignment for Tuesday, December 12.
  1. Read Luke 7. Which verses are related to the painting below? How does this story relate to why Jesus had to come to earth in the first place?

    "The Magdalen" by Bernardino Luini in 1525 (National Gallery of Art)

2. Read this poem, which is based on the Bible story in Luke 7:36-50. According to this poem, how is the symbolism of the broken alabaster jar related to how we should live for Jesus?

"Alabaster Jar"
by Virginia Knowles

Alabaster jar, costly sweet perfume
Devotion broke it open, fragrance filled the room.
Poured over Jesus’ head, anointing for the grave,
Some saw only money lost, but Jesus blessed the love she gave.
Broken and poured out, broken and poured out
But there’s no waste of life, just fragrant sacrifice
And it’s all because of love.

Can you see his love? Messiah on the cross
Body broken, blood poured out, for our sin’s redemption cost
Can you see his power? Victory over death!
Hell could not contain him, nor quench his living breath
Broken and poured out, broken and poured out
But there’s no waste of life, just fragrant sacrifice
And it’s all because of love.

Lord, break me for your glory, pour me for your name.
Let me share his sufferings and power just the same.
Crucified with Christ is what I want to be,
For when I’ve died to my old life, I’ll rise up to be free.
Broken and poured out, broken and poured out
But there’s no waste of life, just fragrant sacrifice
And it’s all because of love.

3. Read Luke 5:27-32 and Luke 18:9-14. Write a paragraph explaing how Jesus wants us to view ourselves, and how he wants us treat those who have lived sinful lifestyles.

4. With your parent's permission, visit the Magdalena, Released from Shame web site and click on "Discover Their Story" to scroll over each of the four women and see short videos about them. This movie is produced by The Jesus Film Project, a division of Campus Crusade.

Advent Assignment #6: Luke 8 and Baby Jesus at the National Gallery of Art

This post contains the 7th-8th grade English assignment for Wednesday, December 14.

  1. Read Luke 8 and write down the section heading for verses 46-49.

  2. Look at each of the nine pictures very carefully. You can click on them to enlarge them. The dates listed are approximately when the art was created. The paintings are from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., which I visited in November. All of the ones in this post are related to the birth of Christ. I had to take the pictures from a slight angle because otherwise I was getting a glare from the flash.

  3. These paintings and sculptures were created during the Renaissance. Some of them are gilded. Many of the the titles contain the words madonna and adoration. Click on each of these four bolded words and write down definitions.

  4. Which three pieces are not flat paintings?

  5. Which pieces were created in the 14th century? (Think carefully about this.)

  6. Three of the paintings have an instruction marked with **. Choose one to do.

  7. Read the poem "The Story Did Not Start with a Stable and a Star" which is below the pictures.
"The Adoration of the Shepherds" by Giorgione, 1505-1510

"Adoration of the Shepherds" after Annibale Fontana, 1600s, Terracotta

The words "after Annibale Fontana" means that he didn't create it himself, but it was based on one of his pieces.

In Italian, "terra" means "earth" and "cotta" means "cooked" or "baked." The American Heritage dictionary says that "terracotta" is "A hard semifired waterproof ceramic clay used in pottery and building construction." Firing is hardening or baking in an oven. There is one other terracotta piece in this blog post.

"The Adoration of the Magi" by Benvenuto di Giovanni in 1470-1475

"Madonna and Child" by the Florentine School 1425

Click here to see another Madonna and Child sculpture at the NGA.

** Copy down the Latin inscription at its base.

"Madonna and Child" by Circle of Giovanni di Turino 1430, painted and gilded terracotta

"Madonna Enthroned with Saints and Angels" by Agnolo Gaddi 1380-1390

** How is this painting and its frame similar to the Giotto one below? How is it different? (Think about the subject, style, media and shapes.)

"Madonna and Child" by Giotto 1320-1330

"The Alba Madonna" by Raphael in 1510 (St. John the Baptist is the other child in this painting.)

Read about this painting at: Alba Madonna.
** Write a sentence about the significance of what the baby Jesus is holding in his hand.

"The Flight into Egypt" by Vittore Carpaccio, 1515


"The Story Did Not Start with a Stable and a Star"
by Virginia Knowles

The story did not start with a stable and a star
But in the beginning, before billygoats on boulders or bluebirds in birch trees
The Trinity, the Three-In-One: Father, Spirit, Son
Viewed a vast void with a venturesome vision
And lo, this Lavish LORD said, “Let there be…”
And there was Light and Life and Love
Tigers and tiger lilies and tiger sharks
Amoebas and ants, aardvarks and apple trees,
Honeysuckle and honeybees and heavenly hallelujahs
For it was good: this grand garden, green and growing, glorious and glowing
With two to tend Eden: Adam and Eve
Masterpieces made to multiply more masterpieces in the image of their Maker
Working and walking with Him, worshiping Him for the wonder of His wisdom
But then came a choice and a cheater and a chilling challenge
They rebelled and rejected and ruined their Royal Relationship
In punishment, pushed out from Paradise into pain and peril, perishing
Generation after generation
Mankind multiplied moral messes
The Spirit sometimes seized sinners into the Sovereign Sacred Story
Prodding prophets, priests, and preachers to proclaim:
“Repent! Return! Revere! Renew!”
And so the Father sent his Son
And seers sought this Savior from afar
But the story did not stop with a stable and a star

The little Lord Jesus, who lay there so lowly, lived his life
This Great God-With-Us grew in grace
He, the Holy One, who helped and healed
Preached and prayed and praised His Father
This Lord of Love looked high and low to liberate the lost
This consecrated Christ carried His cross
He was crucified in His courage by our cowardice
Thus our Prophet-Priest paid the penalty price for our Paradise
His ransom rescues rebels from ruin
Freeing those who by faith will fully follow
Generation after generation
Multiplying more miracles among mortals
For the Spirit of the Sovereign Sacred Story
Still seizes sinners and sanctifies saints
And our Royal Redeemer shall return:
Holy is He! Hark the heavenly hallelujahs!
For it is good and God is glorious!
Earth shall end and eternity shall start
And the story of the Savior shall always speak to the heart.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…” Genesis 1:1

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it… He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-5, 10-14

Advent Assignment #7: Luke 9 and Hymns

This post is the 7th-8th grade English assignment for Thursday, December 15.

  1. Read Luke 9. Copy verses 23-25.
  2. What does the word "advent" mean? What is the Latin root?
  3. Click to see the lyrics to Joy to the World. Then go to the bottom of the page and listen to all five days of radio devotionals for this song. Next, read the Devotional and Hymn Story and be sure to click on the "See More" links when they are given. Who wrote the words to this carol? Who wrote the music?
  4. Click to see the lyrics to O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Click on the links to listen to it. Read all of the notes, pressing the "See More" links when they are given. What are the two Scripture references listed? Write down the meaning of the name "Emmanuel." Then watch a GodTube montage video of a modern version of it at: O Come, O Come Emmanuel. (It starts really slow, but picks up after about a minute.)
  5. Which of these two songs was written in a minor key? Which was written in a major key? What is the difference in the mood of the tune? How is repetition used in each of the songs?
  6. What is your favorite Christmas carol? Why? (Write at least four sentences.)

Advent Assignment #8: Luke 10 and the Jesus Film

This post is the 7th-8th grade English assignment for Friday, December 16.


  1. Read Luke 10.

  2. Watch at least an hour of the Jesus Film. (Scroll down the page until you see "English" and then click on WATCH.) See how many of the scenes you remember from the first 10 chapters of Luke. If you have a DVD or video of the movie, watch it on your TV instead! Have your parent write a note verifying that you watched it.

  3. The Jesus Film has been translated into over a thousand languages and is shown all over the world as an evangelistic outreach. It is often played for large crowds outdoors, as shown below with the Maasai in Africa. Read the page Making Film Translations and list the five steps. (Make sure you click on them to read about them.)

4. Imagine that you are part of the team that is producing and presenting The Jesus Film for people around the world. Think about how God has uniquely gifted you, and tell which two of these jobs you feel you would be interested in doing: writing the script, translating it into other languages, acting, directing, makeup & costuming, set design, sound effects, producing the soundtrack, going out to the villages and showing the film, or another related job that you can think of.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Advent Assignment #1: Luke 1-2 and The Life of Christ Fresco Paintings by Giotto

Advent Assignment #1 for Tuesday, December 6

The questions for today are interspersed with the art and Scripture.

Question 1: Read about Giotto.  Write down his full name, and tell what shape he painted for Pope Boniface VIII.  Then look at the following paintings. You can click on them to enlarge them. Read the passages from Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1-2 next to the paintings.  These seven paintings by Giotto (1267-1337) are just part of the series of frescoes found in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy. I found them on-line at The Scriptures are from the New International Version.

The Visitation

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers." Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. -- Luke 1:39-56

Question 2: What is Mary's attitude about the message from the angel and about knowing she will be the earthly mother of the heavenly Savior?

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." Luke 2:1-20

Question 3: Isaiah 9:6 is a prophecy about the messiah who would come: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."  This prophecy makes it clear that the messiah is not just a special man, but God himself.   Copy this verse in your best handwriting and then watch this music video, "For Unto Us a Child is Born," which is is a chorus in Handel's Messiah.  

Presentation at the Temple

"On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord", and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons." Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too." There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem." Luke 2:-21-38

Question 4: Who were Simeon and Anna, and what did they do?  Why is the Holy Spirit mentioned three times in the story of Simeon?

Adoration of the Magi

(Please note that even though this painting shows the visit of the magi to the birth scene, it actually occurred later, perhaps even when Jesus was a toddler. At any rate, we at least know that it was after the presentation at the temple, because just after this event, the young family fled to Egypt.)

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: " 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel." Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route." Matthew 2:1-12

The Flight into Egypt

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." Matthew 2:13-15

The Massacre of the Innocents

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead." So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene." Matthew 2:16-23

Christ Among the Doctors

Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you." "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?"But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." Luke 2:41-52

Writing Assignment: Pick one of paintings to write about. In one paragraph, describe it in detail and in another paragraph, share your own response to it (what it means to you, what you like about it, etc.). Finally, copy at least a few key sentences of the Scripture that goes with your chosen painting.