Of Heaven and Earth: Character & Setting

Adapted from the First Stage Theater Company Education Department. Using the painting The Sulky Boy (1875) by Antonio Mancini from the Of Heaven and Earth exhibition, ask students to describe the boy. Consider the following prompts to assist in your discussion: Who is the “sulky boy”? How old is he? What do the objects around… Read on

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Of Heaven and Earth: Enter the Painting

Select a painting of interest from the Of Heaven and Earth exhibition, and spend at least sixty seconds in silence examining the details. Ask students to “take a walk” into the painting using their five senses. Consider the following prompts to assist in your discussion: What do they see, feel, hear, smell, taste? Describe your… Read on

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It’s Tradition

Document family traditions by interviewing grandparents, uncles, and aunts to find out about family history. Listen to family stories, learn about grandparents’ hobbies, hear about their childhood songs and games, and investigate special holidays and family events. Create a class scrapbook or blog post that features stories and pictures from the past. Consider including recipes… Read on

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My Dogs Are Barking

The animals in the Uncommon Folk exhibition range from wild to domestic, prehistoric to contemporary, whimsical to sober, and miniature to life-size. Each sculpture effectively captures the essence of the animal. View and discuss the animal sculptures with regard to their characteristics and potential symbolism.             Directions: A mascot is… Read on

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Miss Liberty

Historical subject matter in art can range from transformative events and people to personal histories. Frequently, the most vocal, social, and political artistic commentary has come not from established artists in the mainstream art world, but rather from artists like those represented in Uncommon Folk. The Miss Liberty (ca. 1910) sculpture in the exhibition includes… 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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Meet the Artists

Students can research three of the artists—seven of whom lived in Wisconsin—in the Uncommon Folk: Traditions in American Art exhibition prior to their visit, using the exhibition website. Create maps and timelines, as a part of the artist report. The following questions can assist in starting. 1) Where was the artist born and when? Include this… Read on

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Become Inspired

Using The Woodgatherer by Jules Bastien-Lepage, challenge students to create their own descriptive poem inspired by the painting. Have students: Start by listing colors the artist used in the painting. How would you describe these colors? Write descriptive names for the colors. For example, if one of the colors is green, is it forest green,… Read on

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Plot It

Theatrical Portraits The majority of Sully’s portrait clients were merchants, ministers, bankers, doctors, military figures, and naturally, socialites—with a few notable exceptions, such as presidents and royalty. Theatricality implies drama, performance, and a heightened sense of activity. In some of Sully’s grandest full-length portraits, his figures are composed as if they were onstage, playing to… Read on

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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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