How Great Though Art is an art appreciation DVD series, that develops
a better understanding of Art Appreciation with a Christian perspective.
The series contains 12 lessons on three DVDs that cover:
- What is Art?
- The Second Commandment
- Early Christian Art
- Godly Periods of Art
- Christian Artists
- The Dark Ages
- The Monasteries
- The Gothic Period
- The Renaissance
- The Reformation
- French Neo-Classical Art
- American Artists and Other Artists and Styles.
Accompanying homework assignments are available online in PDF
format, to go with each lesson. The DVD series, combined with the
corresponding PDF assignments, and some artist study, would make
an excellent Art Appreciation class.
Each lesson includes an amazing display of artwork throughout
history, insightful lectures by Barry Stebbing, and beautiful classical
music throughout. Each lesson is roughly 15 minutes long. Though
certainly helpful for Art Appreciation, it flowed like a well-penned
Art History. The evolution of style, corresponding with the history
of the Church, was beautifully portrayed.
In the first Lesson, What is Art, Barry Stebbing introduces the meaning and
purpose of art. At first, it seemed a bit slow and dry, with the classical
music in the background creating a jarring overlap with the lectures. At times,
it seemed as if Mr. Stebbing was raising his voice to be heard over the music,
though of course that was not the case. However, as I previewed the DVDs before
class time, my children seemed drawn to them. I told them we would be watching
the same DVDs later, but they didn't care; they truly found them fascinating.
I don't know if the quality improved, or if I adjusted, but it wasn't long
at all before the music became a nice backdrop and the lectures became intriguing.
In the first lesson, two strong statements were made, though they
seemed to balance out as the series progressed. In Lesson 1, he
discounts art with nudity. Many, but not all, will agree with this
stance. Stebbing referred to the Bible, saying our "nakedness is
our shame". Those who disagree will be relieved to know that he
quickly advises students not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Just because an artist has created some nude paintings, does not
mean that the rest of his work should be ignored. Several examples
of great art are shared to emphasize this point.
Stebbing makes another strong statement in this first lesson when
he says, "Most of us feel that modern art is an abomination, and
rightly so." Though most of it isn't necessarily my personal
taste, it seemed rather strange to have an entire genre declared
an abomination. However, it is intended to be a summary statement,
and Stebbing himself points out some Christian modern art to be
admired. Some interesting background is shared about the Communist
Manifesto and its reference to infiltrating and poisoning art.
This topic is shared again in Lesson 12, but it comes across with
These are the only two statements that I found mildly questionable.
The rest of Lesson One, and the subsequent lessons went on to make
many excellent points. For instance, I never stopped to consider
the "purpose" of art. For the artist, it is to express something.
For the observer, it is to appreciate something. However, the series
helps us to understand that the purpose of art is to touch the
heart of man. In history, it has also been a beautiful witness
to the illiterate. Another purpose is to edify believers. The series
aptly describes God as The Great Artist. Through the ages, He has
gifted many people with the ability to touch our hearts through
art. I highly recommend this series to Christian families wanting
to learn more about Art and Art History. It can be enjoyed by all
ages. My children range in age from 6 to 14, and every one of them
enjoyed this series.