Presentation on theme: "“ Painting American History” American History Foundations August 19, 2011 Fran Macko, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:
“ Painting American History” American History Foundations August 19, 2011 Fran Macko, Ph.D. firstname.lastname@example.org
How do we define reading? The “traditional” definition includes: –The process of recognizing vocabulary and decoding printed text. –The process of making meaning from text with an emphasis on vocabulary, phonics, fluency and comprehension. More recently, reading is defined in a broader sense to include visual elements.
What is visual literacy? –Visual literacy is the ability to interpret information presented in the form of an image. –Visual literacy is based on the idea that pictures can be “read”. Students view an image and construct an interpretation.
Why is visual literacy an important skill for understanding history? Visual literacy activities provide access to content for students who have difficulty reading text. Primary source documents in history are often visual; paintings, photographs, cartoons and other images figure prominently in the resources that are available for students. State and local assessments frequently ask students to interpret images.
What are the contexts for “reading” a painting? A painting may be placed within four historical contexts: –The personal history of the artist –The history of the painting’s style –The history of the time represented in the painting –The history of the time in which it was created
The Personal History of the Artist A painting may be placed in the context of the personal history of the artist. –Landscapes and genre scenes can reflect the area where the artist lives or lived. –Portraits can reflect important people in the artist’s life. –Self-portraits can offer insight into the artist.
The History of a Style Paintings placed in the broader context of a style provide insight into the history of that style and its particular nuances or features. –Impressionism –Social Realism –Hudson River School –Portrait Painting
The History of the Time Represented in the Painting Artists who record the major events of their own life and times create unique glimpses into the period in which they painted. –The American Revolution –The Civil War –The Depression
The History of the Time in Which it was Created The artist creates a representation of a scene or famous event from a previous time period. These paintings often reveal more about the time in which they were painted than the time they represent. – Washington Crossing the Delaware painted in 1851 by Emile Leutze
What is Portraiture? Portraitists are commissioned by public and private persons, or are inspired by admiration or affection for the subject. Portraits are important state and family records, as well as remembrances. Historically, portrait painting memorialized the rich and powerful.
Portraits as Primary Sources Portraits can be used to document life and history. Portraits and their accompanying dates are primary sources: –If a portrait was done during the lifetime of the sitter, what can be learned about the subject and his/her time? –How is a portrait as reflective of its subject as a letter or journal? –If a portrait was done after the death of the subject, what can be learned about the times in which the portrait was painted? –How is a portrait as reflective of an individual as an historian’s or novelist’s commentary?
Framing the Session: Using Paintings to Teach Heroes Paintings can be used to introduce or enhance a unit of study, an event or an individual. They can also support students in gaining insight into “big ideas” or essential questions. –In the elementary school classroom What qualities made George Washington the new nation’s choice for its first President? –How did these qualities develop over the course of his lifetime? –What experiences resulted in the development of these qualities?
The History of the Time Represented in the Painting
Taking a Closer Look Using the Painting Analysis Worksheet, complete questions 1 – 3. – Observation. What do you see in this painting? – Inference. Make some reasonable guesses about this painting. When, would you guess, was the painting made? Where was the painting made? Why are the people here, doing what they are doing? Why was this painting made, would you guess? – Inquiry. Write a question that is left unanswered by this painting.
Read the 1772 background information on the artist and the painting. – Optional : Read a document or text that reflects the event depicted. Review your responses to questions 1 – 3.
Colonel George Washington 1772 Portrait Charles Wilson Peale 1741-1827 Then, complete questions 4 – 9. –Who was the artist? For whom might the artist be working? Do you think that the artist has a message beyond simply documenting the moment? If so, what might the message have been? –Write a question that is still left unanswered about the painting. –What would be a good title for the painting? –Write a question that you would like to ask the people in the painting. –Write a question that you would like to ask the artist.
The History of the Time Represented in the Painting
Taking a Closer Look Using the Photograph Analysis Worksheet, complete questions 1 – 3. – Observation. What do you see in this painting? – Inference. Make some reasonable guesses about this painting. When, would you guess, was the painting made? Where was the painting made? Why are the people here, doing what they are doing? Why was this painting made, would you guess? – Inquiry. Write a question that is left unanswered by this painting.
Read the 1796 background information on the artist and the painting. – Optional : Read a document or text that reflects the event depicted. Review your responses to questions 1 – 3.
George Washington 1796 Portrait Gilbert Stuart 1755-1828 Then, complete questions 4 – 9. –Who was the artist? For whom was the artist working? Do you think that the artist has a message beyond simply documenting the moment? If so, what might the message have been? –Write a question that is still left unanswered about the painting. –What would be a good title for the painting? –Write a question that you would like to ask the people in the painting. –Write a question that you would like to ask the artist. Optional: Visit the Interactive Portrait at http://www.georgewashington.si.edu/portrait/index.html
Visual Literacy and Accountable Talk Once the historic context for a painting has been set and students analyze each of the images, they can compare the images. Discussion or accountable talk can be structured around a series of guided questions.
Describe the scene and the figures in each painting. –What are the similarities and differences? Compare the setting of each painting. –How does the setting contribute to the meaning of the painting?
Describe the mood of each work. –How did the artist achieve that mood? Each painting is about George Washington. –How does the artist want the viewer to feel about the main subject? –Find something in the painting that supports your opinion.
Artists plan their work and give careful thought to the arrangement of people and objects. –How has each artist placed his figures to enhance the “story” of the painting? –What is similar and different about each composition? How does the artist use color in both paintings?
What qualities of George Washington is each artist trying to capture? How does each painting help you understand the role George Washington played in American History? What does your analysis and comparison of the two paintings of George Washington add to your understanding of him and his role in American history?
Comparing Images of Washington from a Later Historical Period (1851-53) The Life of George Washington the Farmer Stearns 1853 Washington Crossing the Delaware Emile Leutze 1851
Who is the artist of each painting? Why might each artist have chosen George Washington as the subject of his painting? What aspect of Washington’s life is portrayed in each painting? What do the paintings reveal about the time period in which they were created (1850s)?
Optional Resources from CICERO Literature Connection: “George Washington and the Cherry Tree” http://www2.cicerohistory.com/Cicero/subscriber/content/Books/Book- 5/R01- Activities/LiteratureConnections/GeorgeWashingtonAndTheCherryTree. pdf Dialogue: “George Washington the First President” http://www2.cicerohistory.com/Cicero/subscriber/content/Books/Book- 5/R01-Activities/Dialogues/GeorgeWashington_TheFirstPresident.pdf
Putting it All Together Analysis of images can be springboards for other content area literacy activities. – Making Artwork Come Alive Provide the historical context of the image Project the image and have students discuss the artist’s message and how the artwork represents this message Reproduce the image with dialogue boxes Choose one character and model an historically accurate voice. Have students work in groups to create dialogue for the remaining characters in the image
– Giving the Image a Voice : Have students choose one character and write a speech, poem or journal entry in that person’s voice. Have students choose one character and interview him or her. Have students build on the dialogue boxes and create an historically accurate conversation between or among the characters. Have a group of students create a tableaux where they recreate the image and step into the shoes of the characters.
– Creating a New Perspective : Project several images of an historical person from the time period. Have students work in groups to generate a list of characteristics of that person based on the images. Read and analyze a famous speech by the person. Have students compare their thoughts on the individual as portrayed in the image and his or her words in the document. Evaluate whether or not the person’s words coincided with the artist’s portrayal.
Final Thoughts Visual literacy supports students in making meaning of historical events and people. It supports students who struggle to read and understand text. It engages students in the study of history as students are increasingly familiar with visual images. It supports critical thinking skills. It provides an entry point into the study of history.