Getting to Know You

The Fancy or Subject Portraits Thomas Sully kept meticulously detailed records that provide an in-depth understanding of the life of a working artist in nineteenth-century America. Rather than representing sitters in contemporary dress, these portraits present their subjects in imaginative costumes that evoke character types or specific characters from literature or the stage. Although nearly… Read on

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Backdrop Design

Collect reproductions of your favorite band or team, and then cut out the individuals and arrange them so that they form a rough triangle. Adhere each to paper and cut around the edges of the figures. Now, using your imagination, create three completely different backdrops for your group.

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Symbolic Portraiture

Artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and David Hammons use abstract images or found objects (instead of realistic images) to make a portrait. Have students make a symbolic portrait, either of themselves or of a person in their family. They should start by brainstorming objects that are important to their subject, words that describe the person,… Read on

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Drawing with Light

This art activity is a great, physical project for those days before spring or summer break when students need to release energy—and will also support your class’s planning and teamwork skills. Although it is popular now to “draw with light” (http://bit.ly/Y308xY) to create photographs (a Google image search reveals lots of different ideas), many of… Read on

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Place Yourself

Have your students think about the landscapes they saw in Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: Treasures from Kenwood House, London. You may need to remind your students that a landscape is a painting of an outdoor scene. Open up a short discussion to share some of the scenes that they remember. What was it like? What… 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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