Year 10 Photographers and Fine Artists visited the National Gallery to Help resource their current work. The Fine art students are currently exploring the Vanitas style of painting made popular by Dutch 17th still life painters. These artists created finely detailed paintings filled with symbolism and designed to warn their audience to behave as ultimately they would die! Year 10 have created paintings that have symbols for wealth, knowledge, pleasure and death just as vanitas painters Steenwyck and Treck. In the National gallery students had the opportunity to see for themselves the intricacies of the paintings .
We looked at a range of artists who explored the same theme…. from Holbein and his hidden warning in the Ambassadors painting and the sad experiment with the Air pump painted in 1768 by Joseph Wright of Derby where a little girl’s per cockatoo is killed for the sake of a scientific experiment. We all marvelled at his skill in the use of light in this painting which seems to emanate from the centre of the piece.
Just to lighten the mood we did have a good look at Van Gogh’s expression of joy one of his 12 sunflower paintings made for Gauguin’s arrival in Arles and laughed at the tourists who didn’t actually look at the painting but instead took a selfie with the painting in the background!
The students also had the opportunity to take a number of photographs in Trafalgar square, where street performers mingle with tourists.
We were very lucky with the weather but it was so cold that there was sheet ice on the surface of the fountains.
The Photography students used their visit to understand the use of lighting effects ad to make portraits and work in the style of Slinkachu. This photographer creates work in the full scale world with tiny figures. They were encouraged to look all around the gallery , not only at the paintings but also at the architecture and for details that would make ABSTRACT photographs !
This was a really successful trip with focus and awe and the students saw first hand the work of some great masters as inspiration for their own work.