Look carefully at these portraits.
Remember, there is important information to be found in the captions. For example, notice the actual size of the original artwork: it will usually be much larger than the reproduced image in this book. Try to imagine it at that scale. Also, think about the actual materials the work is made from, and the kind of textures and surfaces it could have – very different from the smooth and uniform feel of a printed page.
Feel free to compare the different sitters in these paintings with each other, in any way that strikes you.
What thoughts come to you when you look at the person (often called the “sitter”) in the image?
What do you think the sitter is thinking, as he or she looks out of the picture?
What does his or her body language tell you? Try to copy the exact position and facial expression of each sitter. How does it feel?
Is there anything about the way the materials have been used that adds to our feelings about the sitter? The colours? The lines? The tones? The brushstrokes?
You can read more about these artists in the artists’ biographies in the introductory volume of this series. But to start with, here is some information, along with several questions, that may affect the way you look at these images.
To the Teacher
Give yourself time to look at the following portraits, before you present them to your class. Allow feelings and ideas to come to you spontaneously as you look. Then notice details and begin to think about the use of art elements and how they vary in each artwork.
Allow the students to respond to the pictures freely BEFORE letting them read the words of the commentators and the artists that follow these images.
Talk about scale. Remind the group that they are looking at small reproductions in a book; remind them to look at the size of the original image (included in the caption), and imagine it at that actual scale. You could also apply these questions to other portraits that you may have access to.