Talk to Me

If works of art could talk, what would they say?

Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: Treasures from Kenwood House, London features many portraits—all, of course, with their own personality.

As your students walk through the exhibition, have them choose two works of art and figure out what they would say to each other. Their works of art might be close to each other or far away. Have them jot down phrases or descriptions in their notebooks about the people in the paintings. If this person could talk, what would he or she say?

Either in the galleries or back in the classroom, have them string their notes into a dialogue between the two works of art. Have them read a selection of their dialogue out loud to the whole class.

Writing Extension Have students choose a landscape from the exhibition and place their portrait-inspired characters into that setting to expand their writing.

History/Social Studies Extension Have students research one or both of the people in their chosen paintings. Who were they? What was their impact on British society?

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