Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Art Up Close: From Ancient to Modern

Princeton Architectural Press 2017. 64 pages
First published: 2003
ISBN: 9781616894214 (hardcover)
Original language: French
Dewey: 701
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

character, layout, multigenre, multimodal

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Featured art ranges from ancient Egyptian scrolls to Pollock’s abstract expressionism. In addition to paintings, there are examples of mosaic, Flemish tapestry and Japanese woodblock printing. Each page presents a reproduction with the artist’s name and the title and year of the work. Bordering each reproduction are close-up details found within the image that invite the reader to examine it more carefully. Paragraphs at the end of the book explain each work including the style and cultural context.

Each of the 23 works is full of interesting and sometimes humorous details, many of which are highlighted in close-ups. Carpaccio’s incredibly intricate painting features at least a hundred figures and countless details that may go unnoticed including a small white terrier, someone mending a roof and two men sharing a secret. As the text later explains, Carpaccio “used historical and religious themes to show life in Venice.”

With regard to Miro’s painting, the text explains that surrealists “wanted to bring together dream and reality and logic and nonsense in a sort of total reality.” Close-ups focus on the seemingly random objects found in the work: flames, insects and shapes that are “symbolic of an emotion or a concept.”

Since the explanations are at the end, readers can absorb and explore the works before knowing their context. They can then go back and rediscover the works, armed with additional background information.

  •  

    What inspires people to make paintings? What do paintings tell us about the world we live in?

  •  

    Every picture tells a story. Choose a painting that intrigues you and use it, or elements from it, as inspiration for a story.

  •  

    Using a teacher-selected site, perhaps one based on an art museum, search for and select a piece of art. Create your own Art Up Close activity, with accompanying story, to highlight your art choice.

  •  

    Choose a character from a painting you have selected and develop a character map. When did this person live? What is their taste in clothes, books, music, movies? What does he or she dream of doing in life?

  •  

    Look at the paintings and discuss their stories. Locate the year on the class timeline and take note of other people or events of that era.

  •  

    Find the close-up details of the paintings. Use location words (top left corner, in the centre, etc.) to help others find them.

  •  

    If you could jump into one painting, which one would you choose? Which character would you want to be? Why?

  •  

    Using a teacher-selected site, search for more information about this piece of art. Tell a partner about it.

  •  

    Create a live tableau of one of the paintings, using a few props or simple costumes. Write a descriptive vignette.

  •  

    What famous paintings do you know about and what do you know about the artists who painted them? With a partner, research and discuss some of the best known paintings from ancient times to today, focusing particularly on the 15th to 20th centuries.

  •  

    While reading the texts at the end of the book, flip back to the full-page versions of each work of art, paying particular attention to the close-up details.

  •  

    Select one of the eras or styles from the book, and research further works of art for that category. Include background information on the artist and present your findings to the class.

  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • To use information and communications technologies
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Visual Arts