Triennial art history lecture

Mayanka Dhingra , Staff Writer

Members of the class of 2022 attended the triennial art history lecture on Thursday. The lecture was planned by middle division history teacher John McNally, in coordination with Dr. Della Brooks, and held by Avram Schlesinger in the Recital Hall.

The lecture was held as a supplement to the student’s coursework on ancient belief systems, McNally said.

“In this particular lecture, the students will be looking at architecture as an art form in association to Judaism, early Christianity, and Islamic art,” Schlesinger said.

During the lectures, the students are taught to analyze works of art through the lens of composition, context, content, and ichnography [the historical movements represented in a work of art], a method we call “CCCI,” Hanna Hornfeld (8) said.

Students spent the first trimester studying Hinduism and Buddhism in India; Daoism and Confucianism in China; now the students are studying Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in the Middle East, Julian Kepnes (8) said. Each respective unit has its own lecture to expand on the topic, he said.

For Hornfeld, the lectures help to bridge the gap between historical belief and its manifestation in culture, she said.

“As a history teacher, I think the visual representations are equally important for the students to analyze as the literary ones,” McNally said.

We have a tendency to take architectural spaces for granted and exist in them in the ways they were set up for, Schlesinger said. “Most students don’t recognize that these spaces have a certain ichnographic and symbolic value,” he added.

From a historical perspective, the aim is for students to become conscious of the messages that various belief systems present about man’s relationship with a higher power in different contexts,” McNally said.

Claire Goldberg (8) said the lecture went beyond the scope of what the students had been discussing in class.

Schlesinger stressed a new concept called “ethnic domain” that deals with how spaces are given over to ideas, Goldberg said. The concept was used to link to the three abrahamic religions while showing their importance in the establishment of houses of worship, she said.

McNally understands that the activity also serves as an advertisement for Upper Division art history, he said.

A lot of the students that attend the triennial lectures as an Eighth grader, end up taking art history over the course of their high school career as a result, Schlesinger said.