Portraits with personal objects

We may be able to learn a lot about a portrait based on the objects that surround them in a painting. We will begin our unit on Environmentalism by discussing the following portraits together so we may uncover clues about interests, hobbies and professions based on those objects as we reflect upon what the artists are communicating in their respective works.

Let us take a look at different portraits through out history beginning nearly 600 hundred years ago with The Ambassadors painted in 1533. What are the objects in this work of art?
Do the objects in this painting help us to understand the person's financial or social status in society?
What are the objects in this painting? What does the minimal number of objects suggest as to who this person is?
As we examine objects in this painting, we need to begin thinking about portraits as a type of image. What is this image trying to communicate to us?
This portrait is not only filled with objects but it also painted to show the natural environment in the background. How does this influence our understanding of the image?
How does understanding images, in this case-portraits,help us relate to people of the past?
When we understand people who lived long ago, in this painting-over 250 years ago, do learn about ourselves in some way?
Portraits can be extremely helpful in understanding historical stories or narratives before photography. In this painting of George Washington, what is the artist trying to communicate to us?
Name the ways the artist is communicating a narrative in this portrait.
Through narratives in portrait paintings, objects give important clues to who the person might have been. Think about the objects that define you?
Do you objects define your personality and your likes? Do they remind you of a special moment in your life? Do they represent your dreams for the future?
In our unit on Environmentalism, we will take a closer look at objects. Why we do posses them? Which ones define us? How do our objects eventually effect the natural environment in the 21st century.
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