The year is 1625. You, Queen Anne of Austria, the wife of Louis XIII, King of France, would like to commission a portrait. Your mother-in-law, Marie de’ Medici, recommends Rubens, her court painter, but you are stubborn, and would like to have it your way. You know about this aspiring young genius, Rembrandt van Rijn, who, despite his young age, is known for his portraits. In your discussion, you will evaluate both artists’ portraits, will compare their styles and will choose the artist who will work on your commission. Will you follow the advice of your mother-in-law (after all, Rubens is the most sought-after portraitist in Europe)? Comment on your peers’ postings. You are free to choose any form for your writing assignment, a letter to your brother, King Philip IV of Spain, or a chat with your minister.
What a great assignment! This is just one of many great ideas I found in Making Art History Come Alive In The Online Classroom by Anahit Ter-Stepanian of Sacred Heart university in Fairfield. She explains, “Student engagement, development of critical thinking, and fostering original ideas are among the many challenges of online course design. This concern is particularly pertinent for courses in humanities, where the lack of face to face interaction and group discussions needs to be compensated with other methods resulting in similarly successful learning outcomes.”