Art History:   Grade 2 Lesson 6

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  ART & OBSERVATION- Space Science Art



  1. MAP OF THE UNIVERSE, , designed by Thomas J Filsinger, Reproduction print

        This is a true map of the sky when seen from the Northern Hemisphere. The twelve constellations of the zodiac are along the path in the sky which the sun appears to follow, and seems to stay in the area of each constellation for about a month. The Sun seems to move only because the Earth travels once around the sun every year. The constellations of the Zodiac are the basis for horoscopes in Astrology. (See ZODIAC)


        Altogether there are 88 constellations. most have Latin names that have been translated from Greek. Groups of bright stars have been recognized and named since ancient times. The Babylonians placed their gods in the heavens in the shapes of the Ram, Bull, Crab etc. Do you think that they had terrific imaginations?

        Greek mythology has contributed such constellations as Hercules and Orion. The story of Orion, the hunter, is one of the many ancient myths:

       Orion, accompanied by the Big Dog and the Little Dog, used to boast that no game escaped him. This annoyed the goddess Juno, so that one day while Orion was chasing a hare, she had a scorpion sting his heel. The sting was fatal and Orion died.

       Aesculapius, the famous physician who supposedly received some of his medical knowledge from snakes, brought Orion back to life. The god Pluto, King of the Dead, became worried - what would happen to his kingdom if the dead could so easily be brought back to life? he talked to his powerful brother, Jupiter, who promptly threw out a thunderbolt that killed Aesculapius and Orion too - this time forever.

       All these characters were put into the sky among the stars - Orion and his dogs, Aesculapius and his pet serpent, the hare that Orion was chasing when the scorpion stung him. As a precaution, the archer, Sagittarius was posted near Scorpio, and Orion and the Scorpion were placed on opposite sides of the sky so that they could never again cause trouble. Orion is visible in winter, Scorpio in summer - when one rises, the other one sets.


  2. EARTH, APOLLO II VIEW, , Reproduction photograph 
     What will happen to art when man has the new perspective of looking back at himself?
    bullet Earth from space
  3. VOYAGER ENCOUNTERS JUPITER, 1979, Reproduction photograph.
        Two years after leaving Earth in 1977, Voyager I and II encountered Jupiter and it's satellite, Io. These are the first close-up photographs of the planet. How does the distance and immensity of space affect man's picture of himself? Space has become the new frontier with its endless possibility and adventure. Compare these close-up photographs with the telescopic views of Mars and Saturn.

       The red spot on Jupiter is a storm 25,000 miles across and has been raging for at least 330 years.

    bullet  Links
    bullet Pictures of planets from space


  4. CAPE COD & VICINITY, , Landstat Imagery, Computer Image 
     An optical system similar in function to a camera records the image of the earth below a satellite. An electronic computer on the satellite translates the visual information into radio signals that are received on Earth. The receiver sends it's signal to a computer which translates the signal back into visual information - the picture.


  5. TELESCOPIC VIEW OF MARS, , Reproduction photograph.
  7. A SOLAR FARM, Robert McCall, American (1919-) Mural, Walt Disney's Epcot Center, reproduction photograph
      There were no astronauts when Robert McCall first became interested in space by reading science fiction books. He was born in Columbus Ohio in 1919 and at 17 he remembers loving the sound and shapes of the first airplanes he ever saw - they were not even jets.

       In the 1950s a beginning space program inspired him and he was invited, with other artists, on trips to Air Force bases.

       Since then he has recorded each stage of the space program. he wants to get across his feeling of awe and the beauty of space with all of its possibilities. He not only wants to record history but also dream of future possibilities showing human beings building a good and beautiful new world for themselves. he did posters for the move "2001, A Space Odyssey".

       The 19 by 60 foot mural, "Prologue and the Promise" at Walt Disney's Epcot Center shows the evolution of man's achievement. This painting that he shared with his artistic wife shows people of all periods and cultures surging toward tomorrow. he shares impressions as well as facts when he paints the acropolis, a Buddha, the Eiffel Tower along with an imaginary city in space. His space cities are based on technological possibilities. he says "Seeing what is possible helps me fantasize about the future."

    A Solar Farm in Arizona, with a carpet of solar-sensitive material, is resting about 15 feet above the desert surface allowing crops to be grown beneath it. A donut-shaped dirigible from whose control center we view the farm below floats above the area and unloads cargo at various locations, obviating the need for the construction of roads.   

    bullet Links
    bullet Robert McCall - pics
    bullet Robert McCall - Bio


  8. THE STARRY NIGHT, 1889, Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch (1853-1890) Oil on canvas 73cm x 92cm, The Museum of Modern Art, NY - Reproduction print
    In 1880 at the age of 27 Vincent began his artistic career. he died 10 years later suffering from mental illness. His paintings force us to share his own experience - feel what he felt. In Starry Night, one of his most famous paintings, all of nature is in a whirling motion of cosmic energy. Can you guess his feelings about the stars at night?  

                                                         see also Grade 2 lesson 3

    bulletVincent Van Gogh Gallery
    bullet Biography


  9. PRIMEVAL, , Adolph Gottlieb,  American, (1903-1974) - Reproduction print
    This is a painting from a series by Gottlieb called "Burst". It is a painting with no edges that reminds you of space. Adolph Gottlieb was an Abstract Expressionist who combined two opposite shapes as symbols in his art. The calm geometric disc contrasts with a ragged form which is bursting its edges. He wanted the shapes to work together as a unit even as his canvas became larger and larger. The large works create an environment drawing the viewer into active participation. Space was opened up to create a feeling of air by leaving large portions white or unpainted.

    Primeval means belonging to the earliest time. Perhaps this refers to the Creation of the Earth and the planets since this reminds us of space.

    bullet Gottlieb Foundation
    bullet Paintings & Bio


  10. NEPTUNE, URANUS, SATURN, JUPITER - composite by voyager




Ancient peoples the world over knew almost nothing about what the stars and planets were or how they moved through space. The sky seemed to be the home of gods, demons and spirits and events in the sky seemed to be the workings of gods. Artists around the world have made pictures of the myths people made up to explain the sun and the stars. The word "zodiac" for example means "circle of animals", but there are no real animals in the zodiac. Ancient people learned to recognize patterns in the sky. The zodiac "animals" are constellations, or groups of stars, that were named for the various animals. For example, they knew when the moon would be full, quarter or crescent and they noticed the position of stars and the sun at certain times of the year. They made calendars to show this. Ancient monuments were positioned to mark the sun's point in the sky. Modern artists have made similar monuments in the deserts. As scientists learn more and more about our universe, artists help to express and picture the new ideas. they also remind us that there may be reality which cannot be explained scientifically. Sometimes they help us to imagine what we do not already know. Imagine if there was life on other planets - what would it look like? (Star Wars figures) Photography has given us new ways that we can look into space. from up there instead of down here. and with new understanding. This has affected the way some artists see and paint, leaving no horizons when painting nature.

bulletMy Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas


bulletMercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto



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