Portraits

The subject:

Who is the person in the portrait?

How old is the person?

Can you tell when the person lived?

Does anything the person is wearing give you any clues about them? (Clothing, jewellery, make-up, hat etc.)

Besides the person, are there any other objects in the portrait that give the viewer any clues? (Objects that the person is holding, objects in the background, props, furniture etc.)

Does the way the person is standing or sitting tell you anything about them?

When, where and why:

What does the picture tell you about the time that the subject lived?

Can you guess what country it was painted in?

Can you guess whom it was painted for?

What makes this portrait unique?

Why do you think the artist chose to paint this picture?

Feelings and emotions:

How does the portrait make you feel?

Do you like the way the artist has arranged the picture?

Do you like the way the artist has shown details?

Can you predict if a male or female artist created this portrait?

How do you think the artist felt about the person they painted?

How do you think the person in the painting is feeling?

Set up:

How has the artist arranged the portrait?

Do you think the person posed for this portrait?

Where is the person looking? (at the viewer, away, at something else etc)

If there is more that one person in the picture, are they touching? What could this mean?

What does the background and the objects of the picture tell us?

How much space has the artist left around the person and how is it used?

What view of the person is pictured? (3/4 view, straight on etc)

Technique:

What art materials has the artist used to create this picture?

Do you think the person posed for this portrait, or did the artist do if from photos or memory?

Describe the surface texture of the picture.

What size brush did the artist use, or did they use something else?

Describe the background. Is it as important as the person?

Role-play how the artist created this picture.

Self portrait, Margaret Preston, 1930, From the collection of: Art Gallery of New South Wales
Nude with two chairs, John Brack, 1957, From the collection of: Art Gallery of New South Wales
Miss Thea Proctor, George W Lambert, 1903, From the collection of: Art Gallery of New South Wales
The white glove, George W Lambert, 1921, From the collection of: Art Gallery of New South Wales
Nude with two chairs, John Brack, 1957, From the collection of: Art Gallery of New South Wales
Self portrait, Nora Heysen, 1932, From the collection of: Art Gallery of New South Wales
Waiting, Gordon Coutts, circa 1895, From the collection of: Art Gallery of New South Wales
Emily, Rah Fizelle, (1939), From the collection of: Art Gallery of New South Wales
First-class marksman, Sidney Nolan, 1946, From the collection of: Art Gallery of New South Wales
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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