A Philosophical Framework

Aesthetic Educator, Dr. Ralph Smith, sets the project in a context within the field.


Rembrandt and Collections of His Art in America:
A Framework

After I made some personal remarks, the first version of the framework briefly summarized the narrative Professor Piro provided in his proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities. The narrative articulated a model of close study and analysis that brought to bear a range of knowledge about Rembrandt and his time. Derived principally from the humanities, which encompass the visual arts, art history, and social studies in their humanistic dimensions, such knowledge was to be energized by online state-of-the-art technology. The narrative also indicated the intention to develop standards-based instructional strategies that would increase student proficiency and achievement in both the social studies and visual arts. Making the art of Rembrandt central to the project also constituted a tribute to artistic genius and the ways in which masterworks can express ideas and feelings.

In his review of the national standards for the social studies, Professor Piro noted similarities among some of its themes, for example, Culture and Civilization, People, Places, and Environment, and Time, Continuity, and Change that he believed were suggestive for organizing the content of the project. Such themes provided a template, or framework, for engaging the works of Rembrandt and the culture of seventeenth-century Holland. Further parallels were noted between some of the visual art standards of the National Art Education Association and those of the National Council for the Social Studies.

My task as project consultant was to make observations and suggestions about the concepts and components of the project some of which proved useful, for example the development of percipience in matters of art and culture, or what might be termed cultural percipience, and cross-disciplinary finesse of the kind that integrates art making, art history, art criticism, and aesthetics in the crafting of a well-developed sense of art.

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