Essay on Art and History through a movie

Questions about plot of the film “The Monuments Men”:

  1. What was the aim of the Monuments Men? What was their motivation? Who/What inspired them?
  2. Who were they? What was their expertise?
  3. Which famous pieces of art and artists are named/shown in the film?
  4. In the film, we hear, “No piece of art is worth a man`s life”. Do you agree?

Also from the last scene:

– Will anybody after 30 years remember that somebody died for a piece of art?
– Yes!

Discuss.

  1. Can you give an alternative title to the movie in order to reveal the real meaning of these men`s actions?
  2. Would anybody do something similar nowadays risking their own lives to protect and retrieve works of art? Discuss.

 

Further questions:

  1. Imagine your country, its most famous archaeological sites, its most interesting museums and art galleries. What if all that, buildings, exhibits etc. was destroyed in war/natural disaster? How would you feel? How would cities, towns, the whole world map be different if something like that happened?
  2. Art and History. What’s their connection? Historic identity, cultural conscience and roots. How important are these notions?

 

History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books. Books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe. As Napoleon once said, ‘What is history, but a fable agreed upon?”

― Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code

  1. Based on the extract above, to what degree can the subject of History be considered “scientific”?  Which methods/tools could be used in search of objective and unbiased truth?
  2. Nowadays fake news or hoaxes are regarded as a serious problem that could be a threat to democracy itself. Can this unpleasant trend/phenomenon be faced/dealt with?

Interview video about archaeological site or monument.

Choose a famous historical/archaeological/architectural site/building/monument in your city/town/area. Interview a specialist/expert about it. For example, you could interview a historian, an architect, an archaeologist, or a curator. During the interview, selected photos or video clips of the monument could be shown in order to point out the presented information. The final video should not exceed 5 minutes in length and must have English subtitles.

Questionnaire about History and Art

Translate the following questionnaire in your mother tongue and then upload it on Google forms in order to collect responses from your students. After making the necessary statistical analysis on results, create a PowerPoint presentation with graphs and conclusions.

Questions:

  1. You were born in…
  • 1999 or before
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004 or later
  1. Your gender:
  • Female
  • Male
  1. How many academic hours of History are there in your school curriculum per week?
  • Less than 2
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • More than 4

 

The following statements have 5 possible responses each. Responses are measured on a Likert scale of “1 – Strongly Disagree” to “5 – Strongly Agree”. The arithmetic average of all answers in a specific question will be indicative of the final result.

History section

  1. History is an important subject in the school curriculum.
  1. History lessons taught at school are very interesting/pleasant.
  1. History taught at school alters some facts and presents distorted realities in order to hide unpleasant truths or to promote politically “correct” ideas.
  1. History teachers at your school often use new-media and modern teaching methods.
  1. Your school often organizes visits to archaeological sites/museums and places of historical interest.
  1. You often visit archaeological sites/museums in private (alone/with family/with friends).
  1. Visits to archaeological sites/museums and places of historical interest are entertaining/pleasant and at the same time useful/educational.
  1. You would rather go to an art gallery than go to an archaeological/historical museum.
  1. You would rather go to a Natural History museum than go to an archaeological/historical museum.
  1. You would rather go to a technology exhibition (tech expo) than go to an archaeological/historical museum.
  1. Admission fees are too high and this is a serious reason for not visiting museums.
  1. You are too busy with school or other activities and this is a serious reason for not visiting museums.

Art & Culture section

  1. Your school organizes visits to art galleries often.
  1. You often visit art galleries in private (alone/with family/with friends).
  1. You consider yourself to be an artistic literate person. You ‘ve had some education about “art history” and trends.
  1. You spend a lot of time studying or working as an artist of some fine art (painter, sculptor, dancer, musician).
  1. You spend a lot of time studying or working as an artist of some non-fine art (actor, cartoonist, photographer, performer, writer etc.).
  1. You spend time with some community cultural group or club (Folklore dance/music band, Theater, Festival/Carnival etc.).
  1. Contemporary or modern art is rubbish/nonsense.
  • Strongly Disagree
  • Disagree
  • Neither Agree nor Disagree
  • Agree
  • Strongly Agree