the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
* Students know that the visual arts have both a history and specific
relationships to various cultures
* Students identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures,
times, and places
* Students demonstrate how history, culture, and the visual arts can influence
each other in making and studying works of art
know and compare the characteristics of artworks in various eras
* Students describe and place a variety of art objects in historical
and cultural contexts
* Students analyze, describe, and demonstrate how factors of time
and place (such as climate, resources, ideas, and technology) influence
visual characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art
* Students differentiate among a variety of historical
and cultural contexts in terms of characteristics and purposes of
works of art
* Students describe the function and explore the meaning of specific
art objects within varied cultures, times, and places
* Students analyze relationships of works of art to one another in
terms of history, aesthetics, and culture, justifying conclusions
made in the analysis and using such conclusions to inform their own
Boys fishing in a bayou, Schriever, La.
Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information
Courtesy of The Library of Congress
We Can Do It!
Powers of Persuasion
flash on the television screen, each image no longer than 3 seconds.
Students look at a photograph, illustration, or painting for about
the same amount of time and nonchalantly comment, "It's just
a picture." But wait, upon further inspection and some guided
inquiry, the pictures soon come alive and tell a story. Some of
the stories are historical, some personal, some made up. These
stories behind the images bring rich context to the viewer who
might be prompted to conduct further investigation. You never know
what you may learn or the mysteries that may unfold until you dig
deeper. Let's examine people as they are depicted in paintings,
posters, and photographs and discover their stories.
Early American Paintings in the Worcester Museum
Don't miss this splendid display of portrait art that encompasses
all of the paintings in the museum's collection that were created
prior to 1830 by artists who were either born or active in America,
including works painted abroad by those artists. Many of the artists
are not well known, but the variety and quality are superb. The portraits
are full of interesting details for the careful observer. There are
several entry points to the collection, including timeline, artist,
genre, place of origin, and a search box.
National Gallery of Art
Explore exhibitions and collections online. Of special interest
to teachers are the online resources complete with activities and
supporting materials for in-depth study of artists such as van Gogh,
Vermeer, Mary Cassatt, and Henri Matisse. There are many nooks and
crannies to discover, including British Conversation Pieces and Portraits
of the 1700s, Seventeenth-Century French Painting, and Italian Painting
of the Sixteenth-Century.
National Portrait Gallery
Visiting the National Portrait Gallery is like walking into an art
gallery that appears endless. Both paintings and photography are
represented in their vast collections. Highlights at this site include
a clever exhibit of Mathew Brady's works; A Brush with History, which
features paintings of heroes, writers, statesmen, inventors, educators,
musicians, artists, and scientists of America's past; and A Durable
Memento: Portraits by Augustus Washington, African American Daguerreotypist.
Each collection contains a wealth of background information.
Why Is the Mona Lisa Smiling?
da Vinci paint himself as the "Mona Lisa"?
This is a fascinating theory and one that should be an attention-grabber.
Check out the animation where the two images are merged together
and read the details of how Dr. Lillian Schwartz of Bell Labs came
to her conclusion. Then, you be the judge.
Posters and Illustrations
James Whitcomb Riley was a prolific Indiana poet.
His folksy rhymes reflected the culture of the era. Many of his
poems were illustrated.
One of Riley's works, "Good-Bye Jim," was a popular Civil
War poem illustrated by Howard Chandler Christy. This Web site includes
the poem and a few of the illustrations. This would be a great tie-in
to the study of the Civil War or language arts.
Norman Rockwell Museum
Norman Rockwell was one of the most prolific and beloved illustrators
of the 20th century. His depictions of small-town life adorned the
front cover of The Saturday Evening Post for years. At this site
you will find his famous four freedoms, illustrating the social order
for which World War II was being fought. In addition, there are examples
of illustrations and how to interpret them under Eye Openers. Teachers
can download a free resource packet.
Powers of Persuasion: Poster Art from World War II
Greeting you as you enter the page is the famous
Montgomery Flagg poster, "I Want You!," created for World
War I and revived for World War II. The exhibit is divided into
two parts: One depicts
the patriotic sense of duty and the strength of the nation. The other
shows the high stakes and human cost of war. Have your students compare
and contrast the colors, symbols, shading, and other techniques that
were used in these posters. Have them write about which poster affects
them the most and why. You might also have them write from the perspective
of a person living during that time period.
America's First Look at the Camera: Daguerreotype Portraits and
Portrait daguerreotypes produced by the Mathew Brady studio make
up the major portion of this collection of 725 daguerreotypes. The
collection also includes early portraits by pioneering daguerreotypist
Robert Cornelius, studio portraits by black photographers James P.
Ball and Francis Grice, and copies of painted portraits. In addition,
there is a timeline of the daguerreotype era, the process, and a
glossary of terms.
America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from
the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945
Because of the economic situation during this time period, a new
government agency, the Farm Security Administration, was created
to help farmers. Photographers were hired into the program as part
of the New Deal Era. Their job was to inform the public about the
poverty in this country and the increased need to help people. Walker
Evans was the first photographer, followed by Dorthea Lange, who
had been doing the same kind of work in California. There were 98
photographers over the course of the project. These photographs depicting
the lives of ordinary people form an extensive pictorial record of
American life between 1935 and 1945. The collection contains approximately
107,000 black-and-white photographic prints, 164,000 black-and-white
film negatives, and 1,610 color transparencies.
South Texas Border, Photographs from the Robert Runyon Collection,
Robert Runyon was a commercial studio photographer. His collection
of over 8,000 photographs documents life around the lower Rio Grande
Valley during the early 1900s. There are many portraits of children
and families representing the diverse cultures from that region.
He also photographed school groups, sports teams, and the numerous
excursion groups that came to Brownsville in the early 1920s as potential
participants in the Valley land boom.
In this lesson,
Object Observation is followed to study the genre of portraiture.
The method is applied to the Carl Van Vechten photographic portraits
of celebrities (Creative Americans: Portraits by Carl Van Vechten
1932-1964). The photograph used for this exercise is one of Billie
Holiday. Students first describe the forms and structures and the
arrangement of the variouselements, avoiding personal feelings
or interpretations so that someone who has not seen the image is
able to visualize it.Then they describe their personal feelings,
associations, and judgments about the image. This is an excellent
activity to use with middle and high school students.
with Documents—National Archives
Archives provides a series of worksheets that serve as blueprints
in analyzing and interpreting various types of primary sources.
These sources include written document, photograph, cartoon, poster,
map, artifact, sound recording, and motion picture.
Tips & Project Center
From taking better
pictures to candid shots of pets, Kodak has created a winning site
for the amateur photographer. There are tutorials, links to resources,
and a center for learning about digital photography. You may also
want to explore an archive of photo tips or take a nostalgic journey
through the Brownie Camera exhibit.
Do You See?— Library of Congress Learning Page
all age levels help students to analyze photographs. Begin by looking
closely at a panoramic view of a 1909 train wreck near Farmer City,
Illinois. Who are the people? What happened? When did it happen?
Are there other photographs? Have your students be eyewitness reporters
and write a story about the event. Younger students will have fun
with the match the pictures game, create a picture puzzle, and
what is in the picture. A photo analysis guide is provided to aid
students in their quest for knowledge.
Legacy of Stories
Now that your
students know how to interpret images and that it's more than just
a picture, have them create their own works of art. Whether they
illustrate a poster, paint, or take a photograph, they will be
creating a legacy of stories for the next generation.
Children of Yesteryear
the questions by examining photographs of children. This is a great
lesson to introduce elemenary students to primary resources.