Ethos Education

The Monuments Men: Home is where the Art is

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Assembly Objective:

  • Why are some artworks so valuable? This assembly explores the Bible’s teaching about creativity being at the heart of God’s character.

Film:

  • The Monuments Men (20th Century Fox, 2014, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible:

Supporting Values Education:

  • The value of Respect derives from an underlying belief that everyone is valuable. This assembly enables pupils to explore their view of the creativity of all people.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Relative Values (game)

  • Explain that you are going to provide the students with pairs of things, and you want them to decide which is more important. Ask the whole assembly hall to stand, and to show their individual verdict by either standing or sitting depending on what they think is more important. Get everyone back to their feet before moving on to a new pair. If you like, you could invite students to defend their choices, giving reasons for why they think one thing is more important than another.
  • Use as few or as many of the following as you like:
    • Maths or English.
    • Science or religion.
    • Freedom or art.
    • Football or tennis.
    • Music or film.
    • Burgers or pizza.
    • Television or the Internet.
    • Home cooked or fast food.
    • Night out or night in with friends.

Worth of Art (something to think about)

Download the Worth of Art PowerPoint with this activity.

  • Display the PowerPoint with an appropriate soundtrack. We suggest Price Tag by Jessie J, which is available on the album Who You Are (Lava, 2011). Click here to buy the album from Amazon. Please note, the album carries an ‘explicit lyrics’ warning, but not one which applies to this particular track. The strongest language in Price Tag is ‘damn’.
  • The PowerPoint lists some great works of art that have been sold, either in private sales or at auction, and the prices paid for them. Here is a summary of the text on the slides. The presentation will transition at a rate of one slide every fifteen seconds. If you want to move through the presentation more quickly, simply click the mouse to advance to the next slide when you prefer.
  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Titian’s Portrait of Alfonso d’Avalos was sold for $70m in 2003.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi was sold for $75m in 2013. The painting had previously been attributed to another artist.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Renoir’s Bal du Moulin de la Galette was sold for $78.1m in 1990.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Claude Monet’s Le Bassin aux Nympheas was sold for $80.5m in 2008.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet sold for $82m in 1990.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer sold for $135m in 2006.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Paul Cezanne’s Card Players, sold for an estimated $259m in 2011.
    • It is currently the most expensive painting in the world.

FILM CLIP

  • Play the clip from The Monuments Men (20th Century Fox, 2014, certificate 12):
    • Start time:       0.27.10 (in chapter 6 of the DVD)
    • End time:        0.28.33
    • Clip length:     1 minute and 23 seconds
  • The clip starts with Walter Garfield (John Goodman) saying, ‘Monuments Men radio is about to go live.’ It ends with Frank Stokes (George Clooney) saying, ‘See you in the morning.’
  • The clip shows Stokes explaining the importance of art to his men, justifying why they are risking their lives to save great works of art during the Second World War.

TALK

Download the Creativity Monuments Men PowerPoint with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • How important is art to you? When I see art, I don’t just mean painting and other visual art, I mean art in the wider sense: music, drama, film, television, literature. How important is art to you? Would you rush into a burning building to rescue your books? Could you live without music? How desperate are you to keep up to date with your favourite programmes, or to see new films when they are released? How important is art to you?
    • We’re going to watch a film clip about a group of men who felt that art was so important that they were willing to risk their lives to preserve it during the Second World War. A group of art historians who joined the army to undertake a special mission: preventing Hitler’s army from destroying historic works of art as the end of the war draws closer. In this clip their leader, Frank Stokes – played by George Clooney – explains why their mission is so important.
    • Play the clip from The Monuments Men:
      • Start time:       0.27.10 (in chapter 6 of the DVD)
      • End time:        0.28.33
      • Clip length:     1 minute and 23 seconds
    • The clip starts with Walter Garfield (John Goodman) saying, ‘Monuments Men radio is about to go live.’ It ends with Frank Stokes (George Clooney) saying, ‘See you in the morning.’
    • If you are unable to play the clip, say:
      • ‘Stokes explains that while some people might think that protecting great art doesn’t matter at a time when people are fighting and dying in a way, actually art is the reason they are fighting the war. Art represents a people’s culture, it’s way of life, and by protecting the art they are refusing to allow Hitler to wipe out other people’s identity.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • It’s a powerful case for the importance of art. Art is more than just a bit of entertainment, it’s an expression of who we are. As Frank Stokes put it, ‘it’s our culture, our way of life’. Art and artistry matter because they tell us who we are and where we come from as a society. Art expresses our identity and our history as a community.
    • Art is also important because it springs from something basic about human beings. Christians believe that the artistic impulse, the desire to create great art, derives from the fact that humans are made in God’s image.
    • Christians believe that creativity is at the heart of God’s character:
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. Genesis 1:1-3 (New Living Translation)
    • Now, a lot of people miss the point of this passage. It isn’t an alternative view to science’s explanation of how the world began. The Bible isn’t a science text book. Science wants to know how the world was made, the Bible doesn’t try to answer, ‘how’, it tries to tell us ‘who’. The most important aspect about creation for Christians is that it is God who creates. That fact reveals something central to what Christians believe about God: he is creative.
    • A few verses further on in the Bible, we are told this:
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground. ’So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.’ Genesis 1:26-27 (New Living Translation)
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Humans are made in God’s image. That doesn’t mean that we look like God, or that he has a similar shaped body to us. It means that some of his characteristics, some of his nature is also wrapped up in human nature. [click] We’ve already said that God’s nature is to be creative, and that’s where the human creative impulse comes from. [click] We are made to be creative, and the outpouring of human creativity in the world of the arts is an inevitable expression of that.
    • As Frank Stokes understood, the art we create is important. It tells us something about who we are. It also tells us something about the God who created us and who wants us to fulfil the potential he has given us.

Headings and Bullets

Download the Creativity Monuments Men PowerPoint with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • How important is art to you?
      • Art is more than just painting: music, drama, film, television, literature.
      • Would you go into a burning building to rescue your books?
      • Could you live without music?
      • How desperate are you to see the latest films?
    • Introduce film clip:
      • A group of men risking their lives to preserve art.
      • In this clip their leader, Frank Stokes, explains why their mission is so important.
    • Play the clip:
      • Start time:       0.27.10 (in chapter 6 of the DVD)
      • End time:        0.28.33
      • Clip length:     1 minute and 23 seconds
    • The clip starts with Walter Garfield (John Goodman) saying, ‘Monuments Men radio is about to go live.’ It ends with Frank Stokes (George Clooney) saying, ‘See you in the morning.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Art is more than just entertainment: it’s an expression of who we are.
      • ‘Art is our culture, our way of life’.
      • It says who we are and where we come from.
    • Art is also important because it springs from something basic about human beings.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. Genesis 1:1-3 (New Living Translation)
    • Easy to miss the point of this passage.
      • It isn’t an alternative to scientific explanations of how the world began.
      • Bible doesn’t try to answer ‘how’, it tries to answer ‘who’.
      • Most important thing is what it says about God: he is creative.
    • The Bible also says this:
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground. ’So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.’ Genesis 1:26-27 (New Living Translation)
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Humans are made in God’s image.
      • Doesn’t mean we look like him.
      • Does mean we share some of his characteristics.
    • [click] God’s nature is creative.
      • That’s where human creativity comes from.
      • [click] We are made to be creative.
      • Human creativity in the world of the arts is an expression of that.
    • As Frank Stokes understood, the art we create is important.
      • It tells us who we are.
      • It also tells us about the God who created us and wants us to fulfil our potential.

Photo Copyright for Worth of Art PowerPoint: Slide 1 public domain / Slide 2 public domain / Slide 3 public domain / Slide 4 wikipedia / Slide 5 public domain / Slide 6 public domain / Slide 7 public domain 

Photo Copyright for Creativity Monuments Men PowerPoint: Slide 1 DVD cover Columbia Pictures Industries Inc and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Slide 2 and slide 5 iStockphoto.com / Slide 3 image 1, Slide 4 image 21 Sweet Publishing/FreeBibleimages.org 


RESPOND

Prayer

  • Dear God, thank you for making us in your image, with the urge to be creative. Help us to value artistry and creativity, to develop our own creativity and encourage others to do the same. Amen.

Reflection

  • What forms of artistic creativity do you most enjoy? Have you ever thought about the place that art in all its forms plays in your life? What difference would it make if you had to live your life without it? How can you make sure that you don’t take art and artistry for granted?

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. A copy of the film The Monuments Men (20th Century Fox, 2014, certificate 12) click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. Worth of Art PowerPoint.
  3. Creativity Monuments Men PowerPoint.
  4. (Optional) Price Tag by Jessie J, which is available on the album Who You Are (Lava, 2011). Click here to buy the album from Amazon.

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