My Advent season can not feel complete without the studied reading of the Glorious Impossible by Madeleine L’Engle with the illustrations by Giotto. I have love it for years.
I was excited when I discovered that this wonderful book was part of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd’s work. There are several reasons I love using this book with children: 1. the writing does not condescend when read by children; 2. it makes adults in the story very real – fear, dread, awe; and 3.evil is real and part of the story to be overcome. Number three is worthy of a real post in and of itself. When Jesus comes into the world to overcome evil and death, it will become messy. Protecting children from the mess of the world does not provide them with the ability to overcome evil in their lives. It is part of the history and can’t be avoided. (That’s the short answer.)
Anywhoooo. Ginger over at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul lent us the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd work to accompany this part of the story. I love it because it uses real theological titles and real adult version Bible verses. It teaches the younger children sequencing and story progression. The older children not only discuss the narrative but also discuss the style, time period, painter, and geography which informed the art.
We have stepped in with both feet to understand the art of painting frescos and the pivotal artist, Giotto. To understand the process, Ms. JW presented a review history of Byzantine and early Medieval Art and a discussion of what was happening in Europe and the Near East during the 12th and 13th centuries – plague, returning crusaders, loss of trade routes, death of generational knowledge, etc. It is such a pleasure to hear her insights into culture and history. We then discussed the peasant, Giotto, and his new style of painting.
Today we discussed, the history surrounding the chapel and its patron and exactly how frescos have been created since the Greeks – there are great examples in Pomeii. The children were given the instruction to create a fresco in the manner of Giotto. They took off to work it out on paper – the cartone. LR cut down pieces of the dry wall we are using as our foundation. Tomorrow the layers of plaster go down and the painting is done.