by Henry Leadgen
What is the value of exposing your children to a broad historical knowledge? What is an understanding of art history worth? How can the gift of an aesthetic sensitivity to arts and culture be delivered in fun and engaging ways?
Holidaying in Tuscany is the perfect time to consider these questions. The vibrancy, depth and passion of Italian culture are palatable and when staying at villas in Tuscany you have the ideal location and time to begin the immersion of your family in the history and art of Europe- so giving your children the gift of a lifetime.
Insight and Understanding
Essentially art history is the history of humankind. Works of art record, in a non-verbal and universally understood language the entire record of human existence, from the Stone Age to contemporary times. Looking at the art of any era gives deep insights into what was happening at that time in history and gives us a picture of who we are and what we value the most.
Communication and Intelligence
Effective communication skills are one of the greatest gifts you can give your children. Throughout life there will be many instances when they are required to give an informed decision regarding their personal knowledge and opinions. The ability to examine and critique works of art – a developed sense of visual literacy – will give your child the tools for this sort of problem solving. These are the skills mastered by intelligent, learned and successful people.
The highly regarded ‘Arte al Sole’ has programs designed for children between the ages of six and seventeen years. The week long courses are taught by art historians, professional artists and educators, who all have an enthusiastic commitment to global cultural exchange with a focus upon arts education.
Critical Analysis and Creativity
Villas in Tuscany are the ideal base from which your children can set forth each day to join the Arte al Sole workshops. With their small class group they will learn art history and the principles of fine art in a structured way. Each day they will embark on field trips to galleries and museums or treks through the Tuscan countryside. They will be exposed to cryptic artworks, architecture, sculpture, painting and sketching and learn to understand and appreciate them.
They will also learn science and principles of the critical analysis of issues, and will develop an understanding of the meaning of symbols. Throughout the entire week they will be translating their experiences and new understandings into their individual art pieces.
During June and July 2013 there are several exciting programs on offer: ‘Ancient Impressions: Patterns as Expressions of Greatness in Etruscan and Roman Culture’, ‘Castles and Country Roads’,’ Treasures of the Pilgrimage Road’ and ‘Art in the City’.
Arte al Sole operates in numerous regions accessible from villas in Tuscany including Umbria, the Tuscan coast, Lucca and Florence and the Western Chianti region. Week-long classes cost between 225 and 385 euros and run between the hours of 9:30 – 3:00pm weekdays, except for Fridays when classes end at 1pm.
These courses will be one of the most enriching gifts that you will ever give to your child. The memories, experiences and new understandings, gleaned from their summer Tuscan holiday, will stay with and live on in them for their lifetimes.