International Journal of Art & Design Education

Understanding Art

Volume 14.1   1995



The new curriculum in art establishes two elements in the study of the subject in schools; one active, a doing and making element, and one more cerebral not necessarily involving the making of works of art. This second element has been designated 'knowledge and understanding' and ideally should be related to the practical activities in the classroom, but it raises the question how understanding is achieved in art and what form such understanding might take. So far as knowledge is concerned the matter is fairly straightforward for it is easier to itemise the things that can be known about art. With 'understanding', however, we have to ask how it might be judged or recognised; how it might manifest itself. Does it manifest itself in discussion about works of art, or in the making of works of art, or are there other phenomena which might indicate the presence of understanding?