High School – Art History & Appreciation

Philosophy Statement
God is the ultimate and original Creator, Artist, and Communicator (Gen. 1; Jn.1); and He created man in His own image (Gen. 1:27).  Therefore, in order that students may be better equipped to fulfill God’s creative image and communicative purposes for them they should be encouraged to develop their understanding of how and why humanity communicates through creating art and architecture throughout the ages in different cultures.  By learning how to consider and evaluate art, and in using the themes of spirituality, the self, nature, and the city, students will be enabled to use the context of art to both appreciate art and evaluate it.  While understanding and appreciating the historical contexts and meanings of art is enriching and helpful to the student, it is also important to evaluate art from a Christian perspective (I Thess. 5: 21: Test everything. Hold on to the good). This course will also encourage students to test and see from a Christian perspective a wide variety of art expressions that lead to truth, meaning, and redemption rather than despair, nihilism or other anti-God, anti-Creator philosophical expressions. Therefore the appreciation and evaluation of art will use historical, artistic standards and also Christian considerations. God has made us with inquiring minds and He wants to guide us into all truth through His Spirit (John 16:13).

Course Objective
Students will develop the skills to “consider” or “appreciate” art, technical terms that mean how to identify, describe, analyze, interpret and evaluate art (ESLR: ET).  They will learn the formal visual elements that art uses as means to communicate (ESLR: DC). They will “consider” art from periods of pre-history, western history up to the present day, and some parallel, non-western cultures, learning about their respective conventions (ESLR:SCW).  Students will consider these periods of art by focusing on how the themes of spirituality, self, nature, and the city are both influenced by culture and become influences for particular cultural perspectives. They will also research the Christian themes/art of an artist of their choice and write a paper or make a visual media presentation ESLRs: RUC, NLL, DC).  This course will also enable students to take the AP art history test.

Text book: Great Themes in Art, by John Walford, Prentice Hall Publisher (Pearson Education)
Internet Museums; internet sites
Addicted to Mediocrity: 20th Century Christians and the Arts, by Frank Schaeffer
(Additional resources: Experiencing Art Around Us, by Thomas Buser; Walking on Water, by M. L’Engle; Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Visual Arts, by Steve Turner)

Time Allotment
Fifty minutes per day, five days per week for one semester.

Course Content

  • How to consider or appreciate art by identification, description, analysis, interpretation, evaluation
  • Analyzing formal visual elements that describe art: line, shape, mass, light, color, surface, space; design principles; iconography and subject categories
  • Analyzing humanity’s purposes over time for artistic expression through the themes of spirituality, the self, human response to nature, and the city
  • Analyzing what makes a work of art more or less or not at all worthy of being called good art from the considerations of any particular culture or context;  and more or less or not at all worthy of representing truth from a biblical perspective
  • Researching and writing a paper or making a visual media presentation on Christian themes of a well known artist


  • Online tests and essays for each chapter, coordinated by the text book publisher www.prenhall.com/walford
  • Teacher made essays and quizzes
  • Class Participation
  • Semester project on the Christian themes/art of an artist of the students’ choice


Wesley International School

Kotak Pos 275
Malang, East Java, Indonesia 65101

Phone: (62) 341 586410
Email: wesley@wesleyinterschool.org