Praxis II Art: Content Knowledge Exam (5134)

The Praxis II Art: Content Knowledge Exam (5134) is designed to measure the knowledge of future art teachers in the widely taught areas of art. The content of this exam is divided into two categories of multiple-choice questions as follows:

76 questions covering The Making of Art
44 questions covering the Historical and Theoretical Foundations of Art

The Making of Art questions will focus on tools and materials, techniques and processes, and safety concerns and rules associated with the making of two dimensional, three dimensional, and multimedia art.

The questions pertaining to Historical and Theoretical Foundations of Art will cover a variety of basic knowledge of art, Western art, and art from a variety of cultures. This includes terminology of art making techniques; terminology of elements, concepts, and characteristics related to various periods and styles in art and architecture, both Western and non-Western; and the ability to distinguish well known art pieces and architecture in general and to distinguish art work and architecture from certain cultures based on the elements in the art. Individuals should also be able to distinguish art by particular artists. This category also concentrates on the relationships and influences of artists, themes, and movements on art and artists; the relationship between artists and society; and the influence of politics, economics, and technology on art.

The Art: Content Knowledge exam is administered over a two hour period, and typically each of the 120 multiple choice questions should only take approximately one minute to answer. Some of the questions will be accompanied by illustrations.

PRAXIS II Art: Content Knowledge Practice Questions

1. Which of the following are elements of an art movement?

A. A system of principles and methods
B. Reflection of the history of the era
C. Reaction to a previous style
D. All of the above

2. Before the Renaissance, drawings were done as:

A. ideas in model books
B. underdrawings
C. sketches on wax tablets
D. All of the above

3. Which of the following statements does not fit into the development of modern drawing techniques?

A. Paper became cheaper.
B. Sketches became unnecessary.
C. Need to transfer details found in nature
D. Ability to turn a flat surface into two dimensions

4. Which of the following is not a characteristic of the Abstract Expressionism movement?

A. Small canvases
B. Painting accidents become part of the whole
C. Painting as communication
D. Conveying pure emotion

5. Characteristics of the Baroque movement include:

A. emphasis on unity
B. use of dramatic themes
C. use of lighting to create movement
D. All of the above

Answer Key For Art: Content Knowledge

1. Answer: D

The American Heritage Dictionary defines art as a “human effort to imitate the work of nature” which “arises from the exercise of intuitive facilities” and uses a “high quality of conception and execution.” Art is also a “system of principles and methods.” The dictionary defines movement as a “tendency or trend” that is an “organized effort by supporters of a common goal” whose actions grow and develop into a principle.

Using these guidelines, an art movement is a conceptual system of principles and methods developed by a group of artists using their intuition and talent-their “human efforts”-to create a thing of beauty that mirrored Mother Nature in all her beauty and complexity.

An art movement usually reflects the events and activities of the era in which it developed. It can also be a reaction to a previous style. For example, postimpressionism not only came into being as an extension of impressionism, but also from a sense of dissatisfaction with the restrictions of that style.

2. Answer: D

Radical changes in drawing began in the fifteenth century during the period known as the Renaissance. Before that time drawings and sketches were done in one of three forms: as ideas recorded in model books, underdrawings beneath frescoes, and panel paintings, or sketches, produced on wax tablets or pieces of plaster and pottery. Most of these early drawings did not survive.

The dawn of the Renaissance age brought easier availability of and access to paper. As a result, artists began developing more complex ideas from observing nature and studying antiquities, which required preparatory sketches before the painting was even started. This process could entail multiple sketches as the initial idea moved from stage to stage, and the artist produced the finished project. Sometimes these preliminary drawings are just as revealing about the artist’s vision as the painting itself.

3. Answer: B

Drawing techniques practiced in America and Europe today gradually developed from changes begun in the early fifteenth century era known as the Renaissance. As paper become cheaper and more readily available, artists used the medium to refine their craft by sketching ideas with ink on paper before committing oil to canvas.

As artists expanded their models to include objects found in the real world, they had to learn to transfer the details of what they observed. In order to portray the bounty of nature and the interesting character of antiques accurately, they had to learn how to turn a flat surface into a two dimensional work of art. This involved figuring out perspective and how to use the basic elements (line, shape, space, texture, and color) effectively. Portraying complex subjects that imitated real life required extensive preparation and practice, which meant making numerous sketches and drawings.

4. Answer: A

Emerging in New York City in the mid 1940s, Abstract Expressionism was the first important American art movement that broke from European style and influenced art on other continents. Its effects were felt in several areas, especially the manner in which color and materials were used. Artists that contributed to the movement include: Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock, Philip Guston, Franz Kline, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Theodoros Stamos, Adolph Gottlieb, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, and Esteban Vincente.

Each artist interpreted the movement in his own way, but certain characteristics are basic to abstract expressionism:

Use of huge canvases and focusing on brushstroke and texture
All areas of the canvas played an equal role
Using painting accidents as part of the whole
Emphasizing the act of painting as a means of communication
Striving to convey pure emotion directly onto to the canvas

5. Answer: D

The concept of emphasizing the unity of paintings, sculpture, and architecture in new spatial relationships while overwhelming the observer with ornately dramatic themes is the basis for the seventeenth and eighteenth century Baroque movement. The style was started in Rome by the Church but quickly spread all over Western Europe and England and crossed the Atlantic to America. Important artists of the movement include: Bernini, Caravaggio, and Rubens.

Baroque was interpreted in several ways. The English and French works were classic and restrained. The American and central and southern European works were exuberant and flamboyant. But no matter the country of origin, Baroque art used both real and illusionary spatial relationships to create interesting and spectacular visual effects that captured the observer physically and emotionally. The paintings and sculpture used lighting to create energy and movement. The architecture looked as natural and fluid as a piece of sculpture.