3 rd year standard grade critical activity portraits n.
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3 rd YEAR STANDARD GRADE CRITICAL ACTIVITY PORTRAITS
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  1. 3rd YEAR STANDARD GRADE CRITICAL ACTIVITY PORTRAITS An analysis of two portraits by the artist JOAN EARDLEY

  2. How are you feeling today ? Happy sad, sleepy , depressed ? Are you bored . Everyone goes through various moods and feelings , very often several times a day. Some people are good at hiding their feelings, others are not. Do you think that one way is better than another ? People express their feelings through what they say , through the expression on their faces and through their body movements. Watch a rugby player scoring a try or a golfer missing an easy putt. Their facial expressions tell you what their mood is. This is a self portrait by Picasso as a Youngman.

  3. Portraits From the beginning of time man has been fascinated with his own appearance and that of other men. Egyptians painted powerful paintings on the walls of tombs Romans cast portraits in metal for coins and medals. After the fall of the Roman Empire there is very little evidence of portraiture for almost 1000 years. During the Renaissance man began to see himself as the centre of the universe, and the portrait became the natural expression of art. Portraits were a luxury that only could be afforded by rulers and dignities, and the new rich like bankers and merchants. Great painters began to specialise in portraits in the 16th and 17th centuries. These paintings were regarded as a status symbol , an expression of personal achievement and a way of ensuring a place in history. By the 18th century painting was a sure way of an artist having fame and fortune. This is a portrait by Chagall Called ‘I and the Village’ It includes a cow and a man, Can you see them ?

  4. In portrait painting the artist is required to find a compromise between how the sitter saw themselves and how they wanted to be painted and how the artist interprets the sitter. Thoughts and ideas that are often very different! One very successful way to achieve a true likeness is to paint the sitter engrossed in an activity which they like and identify with . Throughout time there is much evidence of a child’s portraiture. Their innocence and spontaneity make them specially rewarding subjects for portraits. The painting below is by Picasso ‘ Child holding a dove ‘ At one time children were painted with marriage contract in mind. Here you see a portrait of a young child Holding a dove . Can you guess who it is painted by ? Pablo Picasso is the answer.

  5. The self portrait is another form of portraiture which tells us a lot about both the painter and his attitude to his art. All portraits pose a relationship between the sitter and the artist and the viewer as well as the sitter and the artist. The viewer has the pleasure of speculating about the person in the portrait , about his / her life and times and perhaps identify with them. Below is a self portrait by Frida Kahlo. Great portraits can be viewed again and again and something new can be found in them each time. A portrait represents a moment of truth , when a personality is captured in such a way that it tells something about the individual sitter and the human race all at once. This strange self portrait Is by the female Mexican Artist Frida Kahlo.

  6. Looking at portraits The way you look at a portrait and the thoughts it provokes are very important . If portrait makes you stop and think then the artist has done his job well. The pose, the mood , the facial expression , the colours, the style and the background may all put thoughts into your head. These may be that you like or dislike the sitter , that you feel sorry for them or think that they are interesting. Take for example the Mona Lisa the most famous of all portraits. Painted over 4 years and finished in 1507 by Leonardo da Vinci, the mysterious lady now hangs in the awesome Louvre in Paris She is sheltered from camera flashes and potential thieves by a glass case and tight security. Though compared to the massive canvasses that surround her the tiny painting a mere metre in size! And yet this small Painting is without doubt the most priceless Piece of art we are ever likely to see. Is it simply a marvellously skilful painting , with such detail that it is remarkable for its time ?Perhaps it is because It is of such an important person or that it was painted by such a famous artist ? Not so. There are better and more accurately produced works and I can think of many famous people who have painted exquisite works. The truth is there is just something special about the painting that makes the viewer and the Mona Lisa build up a relationship.

  7. Your eyes are immediately drawn to hers, are they staring at you or is she focussing slightly to your right ? Maybe she has a slight squint. Her skin seems unnaturally smooth and what has happened to her eye brows? Is that a smile, a smirk , a grimace? She doesn’t seems happy , but is she sad ? She doesn’t look like anyone I’ve ever seen before and I could not guess to the nearest ten years how old she is. Were people really that different all those years ago ?. Her hands are sort of puffy , something isn’t quite right about them . Her clothes suggest wealth. The background is strange . It is actually the areas round about where Leonardo lived. The colours in the painting are very dull and also very dramatic. There is so much in this painting about the sitter and the mood of the painting to look at . Even if you do not like this painting you have to admit there are loads of questions to be answered . If you want to get more information over and above the teacher’s notes on Joan Eardely’s life, go to Wikipedia and the various web sites on Google. However it is important that you concentrate on the people, places events and things that influenced her and her work that are important.

  8. Individual Tasks for the portraiture essay • Firstly you should read the notes very carefully and also look at the portraits carefully • Read over what is expected from you for this project • All the writing must be in your own words. Obviously you have to use the correct dates ! • First task : write a brief history of Eardley’s life , concentrate on her work and who and what influenced her. • Second task :Choose one of her portraits and analyse it fully, to help you with this task there are certain questions you should be asking yourself these are on the next few pages • Third task :Choose another of her portraits , it might be a good idea to choose one that is a b it different, once again go through the various questions and answer them in essay format as fully as you can . Try and not repeat yourself however. • Fourth Task : Now you have to compare and contrast the paintings. In this section you should be looking at similarities and also differences in the two portraits. For example one painting may have two people in it and the other only one. The mood of the two paintings may be totally different , the colours etc. Use the notes from the analysis to help you with this. • Fifth Task : Make a bibliography of all your research, ie. Make a list of all the websites , notes , books etc where you got the information. Once again this should be written in full not just Google or teacher’s notes. • Sixth Task: Present the complete project with a front cover and with your name on it. • Attached you will find dates when the various parts of the project should be handed in so that it makes it a bit easier for you to do in small chunks. • As you will have to do two essays in 4th year this project should help you to understand how to approach it . • If you have any problems about meeting the hand in dates please see me. • Remember if it is difficult for you to do this project at home you can come up and do it at lunchtimes. • Good luck

  9. ANALYSING A PAINTING Answer in sentences so that this information can be written up in essay format • What is the painting called? • Give the date of the painting • Who is the artist? • What materials do you think they used? • How has the paint been applied , big brush/ small brush / palette knife? • Is the paint thick or thin ? • Describe the mood of the portrait – happy , sad calm etc and say why you think this , what are the indicators? • Describe the portrait in detail ( give as much detail as you can ) this section is very important

  10. How is the portrait drawn or painted – has it been simplified ?is the portrait very photographically painted, is it distorted in any way , is it abstract ? • How is the scale used ? If there are any objects within the portrait are they painted to the same scale ? Is there anything odd about them ? What is the overall effect ? • What makes the portrait have emotion ? Are there any shapes which help to create this emotion ?Does it succeed in making you feel happy , sad etc ? • Is there any pattern used within the painting? If so what effect does it have ? • Composition is about the arrangement of the painting How is the model (s) arranged in the painting? What is the underlying structure eg. Based on the triangle ,or lots of horizontal or vertical lines ? • Describe the way the artist takes your eye around the painting • Is the painting symmetrical – the main object is in the middle ? Or is the painting asymmetrical – the model is to one side of the painting? What is the effect? • Is the painting busy, lively ,crowded Or is it uncluttered, sparing , empty ?What is the effect ? • Does it use angles-giving a dynamic , energetic look ? Or verticals and horizontals giving a calming look ?

  11. If shading is used describe how and where it has been applied. Is there strong contrasts between light and dark areas or are they very similar ? What effect does it give ? • Is the portrait 3D looking or is it flat ? What effect does it give ? • Describe the colours used in the portrait as accurately as you can. Say where the colours are used eg. Skin / flesh tones for the face . • Which is the most important colour? Say why you think that it is important. • Are the colours flat or do they have lots of variations ?Are they straight from the tube or mixed up by the artist? • Are the colours mainly warm or cold ? • Are the colours realistic ? • Are the colours symbolic- do you think that they have an underlying meaning ? Red for blood etc. • What effect does the colour have ? Write quite a lot if you can • Draw a little diagram of the composition • What effect does the composition have ? Is it very dominant ? • How is the space used in the painting ? Is there lots of depth or is the space quite flat? What effect does this make in the painting ? • Are the objects symbolic – do they have hidden meanings- do they represent something else – like a skull is a reminder that life is short and then we die.? • Was the artist aiming to produce a realistic portrait? • Is it photographic ? • What do you think the artist is trying to tell the viewer in this portrait? • Do you think this is a successful portrait- would you admire it in an art gallery ? Give reasons for your answer