Exploring the senses essay

This assignment was inspired by Leonardo da Vincis insatiable curiosity about life, which he pursued through his continual refinement of his sensory intelligence. The five senses, he claimed, are the ministers of the soul. As a humanist and liberal thinker, da Vincis legacy extends beyond his art. He was a master at finding inspiration in areas of life that are often taken for granted. Like many other Renaissance thinkers, da Vinci was committed to testing knowledge through experience, developing a balance between science, art, logic, and imagination (whole brain thinking), and recognizing the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena (systems thinking).

 

For this assignment, you will identify a sensory item connected to each of the five senses.

Sight: select a famous piece of art (this can be a painting, sculpture, film, TV show or even a video game)
Hearing: choose a song or composition (any era or genre is acceptable)
Smell: identify an aroma (it can be natural or synthetic)
Taste: select a type of food
Touch: select an item in your current surroundings or in the natural world
 

2. Once you have identified the sensory items of your choice, create an essay (with separate introduction and conclusion) that includes a discussion on each of the five items/senses (each 150 words minimum).  Do not use section headers–tie your paragraphs together into a unified essay. 

Sight: Evaluate your piece of art from three different vantage points. (150 words)

First, consider your own first impression or interpretation of the art.
Second, interpret the piece of art from another perspective.  For example, how would my views of this art change if I lived in a different country or came from another religious, racial, economic, or class background?
Third, interpreting the artwork from another new perspective.  Perhaps consider how you might interpret it if you were significantly older or younger or of another gender?
Hearing: Consider your favorite genre of music.  (150 words)

Compile a list of your top 5 composers/artists.
Then, choose two pieces from the composers/artists on your list (2 total from the entire group!) and describe the emotions and feelings they evoke within you? What do the lyrics (if any) “do” to you?
Smell: Beyond Words (150 words)

Choose TWO different aromas that affect your emotions and find/create descriptors to describe these scents.  Be detailed and specific! Consider taking a short walk through your current environment to discover scents.  How do these smells affect your moods? Your memory? 
Taste: Variety on the Buds (150 words)

 Gather three different kinds of the same food or drink, (think varieties of milk or soft drinks or cookies).
Look carefully at each one and describing the differences you observe.
Smell each one for a few seconds. Describe the aromas.
Taste each one in turn–savor each sample
Compare and contrast the aromas and tastes of the samples.
Touch: (150 words)

In a chosen environment (home, work, car?) touch the world around you as though you were experiencing each sensation for the first time.
Describe your observations. What textures do you prefer? Which textures trigger memories?
Pulling it All Together: (200 words)

Imagine using one sense to describe an item “best” described with another?  As an example (mine…find another!): What does sunlight taste like?  What color is Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata?
Pick one of your sensory items/group of items above and describe it with two other senses. 
Please remember that you will be graded on both the depth and thoughtfulness of your observations as well as on the quality of your writing.  Points will be deducted for incomplete answers and careless writing.