Observation

Discussion- Line, shape, and color are important building blocks for creating art. Select a painting by Kandinsky to discuss as a group. Activity- Look closely at the image for one minute. Notice the lines. What are they doing? Notice the shapes. Look for two kinds: geometric and biomorphic (or organic). Do you see shapes that… Read on

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Sew What?

Quilts are rich with tradition and are often associated with particular communities or parts of the country, such as Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Quilts have a variety of established patterns, but their design accommodates the addition of personal elements so that quilters can create quilts that tell personal stories and which reflect their individual tastes.  … Read on

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Walk This Way

Walking sticks, or canes, are a common, recognized form. They function as physical supports, status symbols, and prestige items, often with elaborately carved narratives and personal insignia. The walking sticks in this exhibition demonstrate a wide range of designs that can be used to create a simple functional object. Each artist has conveyed his or… Read on

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Culture and Experience

Encourage students to compare the traditions of other ethnicities with their own culture and experience. What customs and rituals are similar, and which are different? Do any of the traditions overlap with their own? Teach respect for different ideas and people. Talk about the elements that are common to everyone. For example, people from different… Read on

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Practice Looking

Visit the Collections page on the Museum’s website for high-resolution images. Select 2–3 portraits and use discussion questions similar to what students may encounter on a tour. Without sharing any information about the painting, give students time to look closely at the work of art. Encourage them to explore every area of the image. After… Read on

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Strike a Pose

Have students pose like the sitter in the portrait. Ask students to consider what it feels like to pose like the sitter, wear his or her clothes, and be in the setting of the portrait. Have students write a postcard to a friend describing their portrait experience.

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Create a Classroom Magazine

This activity ties to social studies and news projects that you might be working on with your class, inspired by Color Rush: 75 Years of Color Photography in America. A major part of the exhibition focuses on magazines. Artists such as Nickolas Muray, Anton Bruehl, and Paul Outerbridge, Jr., used color to entice people to… Read on

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Portraits Today and Yesterday

The day before you do this activity, ask your students to bring in family portraits/photographs or portraits of them and/or their siblings. These could also be their school photos. In this activity, your students will think about the purpose(s) of portraits today, and then compare it to the role of portraits in the eighteenth century.… Read on

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In-depth Discussion: J. M. W. Turner

J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851) is best known for his landscapes, evocative and powerful, of Europe on the brink of the industrial revolution. A Coast Scene with Fishermen Hauling a Boat Ashore (“The Iveagh Sea-Piece”) (ca. 1803–04) is an example of one of Turner’s favorite subjects, the sea—and how man fits within it. The sky… Read on

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In-depth Discussion: Thomas Gainsborough

Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788) was a painter who loved landscapes, but who made his money through portraiture. Mary, Countess Howe (ca. 1764) is commonly heralded as one of the great masterpieces of British painting. Gainsborough was paid to paint her portrait, along with that of her husband, Richard Howe, when he lived in Bath in the… Read on

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