Art History: Grade 1 Lesson 3

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  CHILDREN IN ART - Faces mirror feelings



  1. The Tragedy, 1903, Pablo Picasso, Spanish (1881-1973), oil, Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC reproduction print.
    This is a scene at the seashore. It is called "The Tragedy". the color blue gives us a very cold feeling. the people are wrapping themselves in their clothing against the chill. Someone may have been shipwrecked. The little boy is patting the man's thigh in a comforting way. No one seems to be speaking, what might they be thinking?

    The composition of the painting is outlined in dark colors.


    bulletGrade 1 Lesson 2 - Picasso


  2. Young Mother Sewing, 1902, Mary Cassatt, American (1844-1926), oil, Metropolitan Museum, NY. Reproduction print.
    Sample dialogue:

    How do you feel when the adults in your life are busy with projects? Do you like to sit and talk with them? Do you enjoy watching their busy hands or do you wish they would put down the work and play with you? When you are near the people you love, do you like to touch them? lean on them? hug them? This painting seems very gay with it's bright, warm colors which are even repeated in the people's cheeks and lips. On the other hand, the child in the painting is not smiling.; she seems either quietly content or bored and asking to be entertained. Perhaps she is studying the artist painting her picture and leaning on her mother for reassurance.

    The children who visited Mary Cassatt were her nieces or nephews or neighborhood children; they enjoyed her company and the special treats she would have for them in her glassed-in studio.

    The eyes and face are placed in the middle of the composition and you are drawn t tem by the shape of the arms.


    Cassat - Biography

  3. The Cradle, Berthe Morisot, French (1841-1895),  reproduction print.

    There is a wispiness about the way this was done. The mother's hair and the lace seem to create a fragile look to the print. The baby is resting peacefully and the mother is just staring at her child, watching every movement. There is a lot of sheer white fabric which must have been difficult for the artist to paint.

    Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt were friends and two successful female Impressionists. Berthe was exposed early to the style and philosophy of numerous artists since her father's home was a gathering place for painters in the mid 19th century. Her earliest works were strongly influenced by Carot, but she was one of the first painters to turn to Impressionist techniques. In 1868, she met Manet (later her brother-in-law), and occasionally posed for him. It is believed that she was the force behind his adoption of the Impressionist palette. She participated in all but one of the Impressionist exhibitions, and her style after 1885 was most strongly affected by the work of Renoir.


  4. Knuckles Down, Norman Rockwell, American (1894-1978), Reproduction print.
    The children in this picture are playing marbles. It looks like the boy in the striped shirt isn't too happy - his bag of marbles looks empty. How can you tell who is winning? 

    Norman Rockwell was born in New York City in 1894. His talent was apparent at an early age and it was encouraged by special art lessons. One of his teachers at Art Students League made him appreciate the importance of every small detail and realize that he must draw from the real article. One of his favorite subjects was children so he would often watch them at recess and ask them to come to his studio to model after school. His ambition was to be a great illustrator, especially for the cover of the popular Saturday Evening Post. he illustrated over 300 Post covers and many other magazine covers, calendars, and books as well. Norman Rockwell was a great storyteller verbally as well as through his paintings.

  5. The Monet Family in their Garden, Edouard Manet, French (1832-1883), oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY Reproduction print.
    Manet was born into a prosperous, well-educated Parisian family. he studied with Thomas Couture, a history and portrait painter, before breaking away from this academic tradition to develop his independent style. He painted directly from the model and gave equal importance to the breaking up of the canvas itself by means of quick brush strokes and colors. His early work although novel in subject (Spanish dancers and singers on tour in Paris), show his admiration for Goya and Velasquez. These dark-toned compositions are soberly analytical. Later his work took on the freer handling and lighter colors of the Impressionists. He refused to be linked with the Impressionist movement.

    Manet and Monet were friends. they learned much from each other, especially sharing ideas on light and color and how to achieve it in their paintings. This picture by Manet captures the Monet family in their garden. Monet was always a wonderful gardener as well as a painter. As an old man, Monet painted beautiful pictures of his own garden at Giverny. Although we can't see Monet's face, we can guess how he felt while working on his garden with his wife and son nearby.

    Look at the faces of the mother and child. Can you guess how they felt when their friend Manet came to visit? Do you think they enjoyed sitting in their yard.? What kind of day was it? Where is the sunshine falling? Give words to describe the boy's mood.

    Look at how the boy and his mother dressed in France 100 years ago. Can you guess how they would dress if they lived today? Can you guess why the artist added the rooster and hen in the foreground?


Feelings in art are described by Webster's Dictionary as "the quality of a work of art that embodies and conveys the emotion of the artist". We are going to look at faces in art that show feelings. The faces in the works we have chosen are often children and many express the same emotions.

An artist chooses combinations of colors, shapes, lines and forms when deciding to paint a picture. When we look at the prints of some of these paintings, it is hard for us to imagine that an artist painstakingly chose just the right elements to create a mood for us.

A camera could capture a feeling or a look on a person's face in a second. An artist must capture that same feeling or look in his mind and then use his skills to record it on a canvas. We'll see some of the ways artists have done this.

Photographers and sculptors can also capture feelings on faces in their works but today we will look at some emotions of children in prints of paintings. Try to imagine what they are thinking about. What do you think has just happened? Try to tell a story about the people in the pictures.

When you look at a painting you may see a different story in it each time you see it. Your friends might see something that you didn't notice. Looking at paintings in different ways is what makes it so much fun.

The colors help to create a feeling of warmth or cold. The shapes and lines help to create a mood. The artist may use these elements to draw your attention to some detail in the work.

Looking at faces is something we do everyday. You can tell when a person is angry or happy by the look on his or her face. Expression of feeling is easy to read in everyday life because all our senses become involved. The artists have to be very talented to combine all their skills so that you can really be part of their work. Sometimes you can hear, feel, taste and smell a painting if you use your imagination. Let's try it!

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