After covering the renaissance, we only had 2 lessons left and so many possible genres to cover! We decided to go into Impressionism next, because it was the first big departure from realistic painting styles - and it's also a lot of fun to do yourself.
Some of the kids used q-tips to make pointillist-style paintings, while others went with big bold paint strokes. We held this lesson outside, so they could capture their impressions of the outdoors - and so that we had less paint mess to clean up. :)
Here's the presentation, lesson plan, supplies, and additional resources:
- Intro: Role play
- PersonA: Hi, I'm Louie Leroy, an art critic and classic painter. The year is 1873. So, this is some awesome art we've been making as a society in the last few hundred years. I'm really happy with how art's been going.
- Here are some classic scenes with images from ancient myths... some religious imagery, that's also really popular, and some still lives. AND THEN THIS! WHAT IS THIS!
- PersonB: I'm Monet, and this is a sweet painting of a boulevard I did!
- PersonA: What is this nonsense? Please be so good as to tell me what those innumerable black tongue-lickings in the lower part of the picture represent?
- PersonB: Those are people, walking down the boulevard.
- PersonA: And this is just random people walking down a boulevard?
- PersonB: Yes, this is a scene I painted from the real world.
- PersonA [disapproving]: This seems more like a brief impression of real art than it seems like real art itself.
- PersonB: This *is* real art! It’s an impression of the real world around us.
- PersonA: Hmph! I shall write an article about these impressionists!
- Slide: Impressionism
- Doesn’t try to paint every detail exactly
- Tries to capture an impression of the scene - the mood, light, color, atmosphere
- Was rejected at first for its lack of realism and “good technique”
- Slide: Degas, The Dance Class
- Shows the urban lifestyle, a pleasure activity
- Not an idealized composition - “momentary” “un-choreographed”
- Slide: Mary Cassat, Pearl necklace
- Set at a Paris opera house, shows off the opulence of that life
- It was hard for Mary Cassat to practice because she was a woman
- Slide: Monet, Water Lillies
- Monet was very interested in outdoor light
- There’s no clear path for the eye to follow
- Angled perspective
- More beautiful than reality?
- Slide: en plein air
- Painting outside
- Helped them capture the atmosphere/light/movement
- Slide: Post-Impressionism
- A reaction to impressionism
- More symbolic, more refined techniques
- Different artists reacted in different directions
- Slide: Seurat
- Developed the technique of pointillism/divisionism/”chromo-luminarism” based on the theory of optics- combining points of color so that the eye is tricked into blending them from far away
- Contains millions of dots
- Took 2 years to complete - he did *not* paint outside, he based it on sketches
- Slide: Pointillism
- Slide: Bathers
- His paintings often referred to different social castes and painted a picture of modern urban life, where people had leisure time after work
- Slide: Van Gogh
- More symbolic - olive trees represent cycle of life
- Some thought that there’s religious meaning as well
- Slide: DIY time!
We got most of our supplies from the local SCRAP store in SF, but I've included Amazon links to similar items for convenience.
- Egg cartons (to hold paint)