Annotating art with timeline
Melanie Forehand
Vanderbilt University
March 14, 2019
Spanish
Intermediate-Advanced
Semester or year-long
Website
No Costs Involved

Students work with an authentic text (Renau’s mural) to annotate their own timeline of the events studied in class. The artistic and analytical extension activity provides an active-learning opportunity through which students not only acquire knowledge, but also create meaning. By applying their knowledge of Spanish history and the process of writing history to create and analyze their own historically-themed artwork, students think critically about cultural objects, their purposes, and their construction.

These activities are designed to:
• reinforce knowledge of these events.
• provide a concrete example for considering how the portrayals of events and the inclusion and exclusion of events shape the story that is told.
• apply knowledge of the construction of history to extend/modify the historical narrative.
• utilize Spanish language skills in a historical context.

STEP ONE:
Each group of students is responsible for annotating one portion of Josep Renau’s mural “España hacia America”
• Cave paintings of Altamira
• Augustus
• Reconquista
• Literary figures
• Explorers
• Conquest of the Americas
• The Americas

For their assigned segment, students should:
• identify the year(s) represented in the scene
• identify the historical figures included
• explain the importance of this moment in Spanish history (what happened)

Students’ contributions to the timeline are informed by relevant course readings and may utilize additional reference materials as necessary.

At the end of the semester, the class will have generated an annotated timeline of how Renau imagined the progression of foundational moments from Spanish history. As a final project, we use the techniques learned from our unit on the artwork of Fidel Cuesta Ruíz to create an image that represents a moment from Spanish history that either was not included in Renau’s mural or an image that would continue Renau’s history of Spain/the Americas.

STEP TWO: FINAL PROJECT
For the final project, students create an image, caption, and narrative:

IMAGE:
• Select a moment from Spanish history.
• Use the linoleum technique to make a linocut image of that moment. Artistic ability will not be judged!
• Take a photograph of the print and upload to the timeline

CAPTION: Fill in the categories listed on the spreadsheet. Your caption should include:
• Year represented
• Historical event and figures
• Importance of the event

NARRATIVE: Write a 3-to-5-page analysis in Spanish in which you explain:
• What event did you choose?
• When did the event transpire?
• Who was involved?
• Does this event provide a voice for a marginalized population?
• What happened at this event?
• How does the event contribute to the Spanish historical narrative: Does the inclusion of this event change the mural’s message? How?
• What does including this event in the narrative contribute to our understanding of how history is composed?
• Why did you choose this event?

Students then present their events and artwork during the last class session.

* Example timeline

Copyright & Credit

Protected content (films, images, etc.):

España hacia América by Josep Renau

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