Sketching _ Sculpture

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Sketching & Sculpture
 Drawing is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence.
 —henri matisse

 Introduction: Try this!              Why Sculpture?                         Click on “The Collection” to
                                                                             start your search. There are also       Share these museum rules with
 Looking for ways to encourage        Because the National Gallery’s
                                                                             several online resources specifi-       your students.
 students to closely examine          sculpture installations provide
                                                                             cally associated with our sculp-
 works of art? Try sketching in       an excellent environment for                                                  • Please do not touch works of art.
                                                                             ture collection, including:
 the galleries! This resource         group sketching experiences.                                                    A helpful guideline is to remain
 offers ideas and activities for      The West Building (wb) sculp-         • A virtual tour of the West Build-       at least twelve inches away from
 using sketching to engage            ture galleries, located on the          ing sculpture galleries:                any work of art.
 students grades 5 through 9          ground floor, are filled with 
                                                                                                                    • Do not lean drawing materials on
 as they explore the National         open space and natural light.           sculpture/flash/index.htm
                                                                                                                      walls, display cases, or pedestals.
 Gallery’s sculpture collection;      They display a range of sculp-
                                                                            • A virtual tour of the Sculpture
 however, the exercises can be        tural styles, media, and tech-                                                • Do not block doorways or aisles.
 modified for use with different      niques—from Renaissance por-
 ages and for paintings or works      trait medals to early twentieth-                                               Please review these guidelines
 at other museums.                    century figures. The East Build-      • A musical adventure for chil-          for self-guided groups
                                      ing (eb) and Sculpture Garden           dren about the Sculpture
                                                                                                                    • All self-guided groups must reg-
 Why Sketching?                       (sg) provide a rich selection of        Garden:
                                                                                                                      ister prior to their visit by calling
                                      large-scale, modern sculptures          lizzy/lizzy.html
 For centuries artists have drawn                                                                                     (202) 789-4623 or check in at the
                                      to fuel the imagination.              • Look for other online resources         Art Information Desk upon
 in front of works of art as a way
 to learn from them, understand                                               at nga Classroom:          arrival.
                                      Preparation                             education/classroom/index.htm
 their form, and capture their                                                                                      • Yield to tours organized by the
 essential qualities. Sketching       What’s the big idea?                                                            National Gallery; only one group
 can help viewers even without        The most successful museum             Try it yourself
                                                                                                                      may be in a gallery at a time.
 formal art training connect with     visits focus on a few big ideas        To select sketching exercises
                                                                             that are most effective for your       • Self-guided groups must be
 a work of art and see it in new      and a limited number of objects,
                                                                             students, first try them yourself.       accompanied by at least one
 ways, by:                            emphasizing the quality of stu-
                                                                             Generally, activities should have        adult chaperone for every
                                      dents’ experiences instead of
• encouraging longer and more                                                                                         ten students.
                                      the number of objects seen.            clearly defined directions and
  careful observation
                                      Would you like to focus your           expected outcomes, so that stu-        • Museum rules are strictly
• prompting examination of dif-       visit on abstract or figurative        dents stay focused and partici-          enforced; please inform chaper-
  ferent art elements (color, line,   sculpture, the work of a particu-      pate fully. Allowing students to         ones of our policies to ensure a
  shape, form, texture) and under-    lar artist, or the elements of art?    sketch anything they want may            safe and enjoyable visit for all.
  standing of how materials affect    The possible themes are endless.       not elicit desired outcomes
  an object’s appearance                                                     and may confuse students;               Tips for reticent sketchers
                                      Plan your tour.                        however, you know your stu-
• providing a setting for creative                                                                                  • Keep activities focused and give
                                      Visiting the museum yourself is        dents best. Perhaps you will
  response                                                                                                            clear directions.
                                      the best way to plan a tour. If        want to experiment with a com-
                                      that is not possible, you can          bination of directed and free-         • Remind students that these
                                      preview National Gallery collec-       form activities, using selected          sketching activities are about
                                      tions online at           exercises here.                          looking and exploring works of
                                      There, you can learn which                                                      art and not about how well they
                                      works are currently on view and                                                 draw.
                                      get information about them.                                                   • Reassure students that their
                                                                             Above: Auguste Rodin, The Thinker
                                                                             (Le Penseur), model 1880, cast 1901,     sketches are personal and that
                                                                             bronze, National Gallery of Art,         they are not obligated to share
                                                                             Gift of Mrs. John W. Simpson             them with the class.
 Gather your supplies.
 The National Gallery allows
 sketching on paper with pencil
 or charcoal only. If you are
 using these activities in other
 museums, please call ahead to
 learn their policies.

  You will need...
• Sketching pencils (4b) or regu-
  lar number 2 pencils

• Sheets of paper or sketchpads

• Chipboard or another firm draw-
  ing surface for each student

• Optional: viewfinders, either a
  square or circle with a small
  interior opening, can help
  students focus on details

                                      • What more can you tell by look-                                                      Sketching Exercises
                                        ing again?
                                                                                                                             Warm-Up with Contour Drawing
                                      • How does the sculpture’s                                                             A contour drawing shows the
                                        scale/size affect your impres-                                                       outline (or silhouette) of a form.
 Try sketching in the classroom.        sions of it?                                                                         First, encourage students to
 To familiarize students with                                                                                                think about which view works
 sketching from objects in the        • Does the sculpture tell a story?
                                                                                                                             best for a contour drawing, and
 museum, try it first in the class-     Does it relate in some way to the
                                                                                                                             why. Then, ask students to use
 room. Preparing students in the        students’ lives? If so, how?
                                                                                                                             their eyes to follow the contour
 classroom will help them focus       • Discuss the work’s materials                                                         of the sculpture. Then, just
 on their sketching more quickly        and surfaces. Do these have                                                          using their fingers, they should
 in the galleries.                      qualities that affect what the                                                       slowly draw its outline in the air.
                                        work communicates, or your                                                           Finally, without lifting their pen-
 At the Museum                          response to it?                                                                      cils from the paper, have them
                                       Students may practice using                                                           draw the contour using one con-
                                       their viewfinders to focus on a                                                       tinuous line.
 Before sketching, discuss with
 students the purpose of their         particular detail of the sculp-      Discuss Again                                    For a challenging twist, have
 visit and review museum rules.        ture.                                Are there any more questions?                    students draw without looking
                                                                            Did students notice anything                     at the paper. This is called blind
 In front of each work of art,         Draw/Sketch                          new during sketching? Encour-                    contour drawing. Explain that
 invite student observations.          Describe the sketching activity.     age students to share what they                  their drawings may look strange
 Query them to encourage care-         Make sure students understand        now see or understand about                      at first but that they should not
 ful looking. Some possible            the assignment and which             the sculpture.                                   be discouraged. This activity
 prompts are:                          object they are to sketch. Allow                                                      helps coordinate hand and eye
• What do you see? Encourage           students at least ten to fifteen     Above, center: Paul Manship,
                                                                                                                             movements and develops the
                                       minutes to work on each activity.    Dancer and Gazelles, 1916, bronze,
  students to support their                                                                                                  ability to record what they see.
                                                                            National Gallery of Art, Gift of
  responses with visual evidence
                                                                            Mrs. Houghton P. Metcalf
  from the sculpture.
                                                                            Above, right: Attributed to Francesco
                                                                            Righetti after Giovanni Bologna, Mercury,
                                                                            c. 1780/1800, bronze, National Gallery of Art,
                                                                            Andrew W. Mellon Collection
suggested work s of art                                                 on the other side. They have
                                                                        just created positive and nega-
Giovanni Antonio Amadeo,
                                                                        tive space. Looking again at
Kneeling Angel (wb)
                                                                        the sculpture, are they more
Edgar Degas, Little Dancer
                                                                        aware of the positive and neg-
Aged Fourteen (wb)
                                                                        ative space?
Florentine 16th Century, Farnese
Hercules (wb)                                                           suggested work s of art
Paul Manship, Dancer and                                                Edgar Degas, Spanish Dance
Gazelles (wb)                                                           (wb)
Andrea del Verrocchio, Putto                                            Pierre Puget, Milo of Croton
Poised on a Globe (wb)                                                  (wb)
                                                                        Alberto Giacometti, Walking
Movement and Balance
                                                                        Man II (eb)
Balance is an equilibrium in the
arrangement of elements in a                                            Alexander Calder, Finny Fish
work of art. Like the human                                             (eb)
body, sculpture must be physi-                                          Richard Serra, Five Plates, Two
cally balanced to stand upright.                                        Poles (eb)
Our bodies have muscles to help                                         Louise Bourgeois, The Winged
balance our stance; however,                                            Figure (eb) or Spider (sg)
sculpture relies on engineer-
                                                                        Lucas Samaras, Chair Transfor-
ing—the distribution of weight     Positive and Negative Space                                               s u g g e s t e d c o m pa r i s o n s
                                                                        mation Number 20B (sg)
and force of gravity, and some-    Sculpture consists of what is
                                                                                                             Edgar Degas, wax and bronze
times internal or external sup-    there and what is not—positive
                                                                        Light, Material, and Texture         pairs: Bathers and Horses—stu-
ports—to achieve balance. Such     space is the material itself; neg-
                                                                        To explore the interaction           dents will notice differences,
engineering also allows sculp-     ative space refers to the back-
                                                                        between light and surface,           even between virtually identical
tors to represent figures in       ground shapes surrounding it or
                                                                        observe, discuss, and sketch         forms, because of the relation of
motion. Ask students to sketch     surrounded by it. Both are fun-
                                                                        sculptures made from different       museum lighting to position as
the contour of a sculpture and     damental to a composition. A
                                                                        materials or works with a variety    well as different materials! (wb)
consider how its weight is bal-    sculptor makes deliberate deci-
                                                                        of surface texture.                  Auguste Rodin, The Thinker (Le
anced. Have them draw a line       sions about how solid forms and
                                                                        1. How do different materials        Penseur) and The Evil Spirits
through the axis of balance.       the space they shape will look.
                                                                        and degrees of finish affect the     (wb)
How are the parts distributed to
                                   Ask your students to draw a line
achieve balance? Does a sculp-                                          ways light plays off the surface     Antonio Canova, Winged Victory
                                   down the middle of their paper.
tor ever try to suggest his work                                        of a sculpture? Compare two          and Randolph Rogers, Nydia,
                                   On the left side, instruct them to
is off balance, and why?                                                sculptures in different materials.   the Blind Girl of Pompeii (wb)
                                   draw a simple shape from a
                                                                        Which surfaces reflect the light     Isamu Noguchi, Great Rock of
                                   sculpture. Repeat the same
suggested work s of art                                                 most brightly, and why? Have         Inner Seeking and Anthony
                                   shape on the right side. Next,
                                                                        students sketch a simple con-        Caro, National Gallery Ledge
Edgar Degas, Grande                they should shade in the object
                                                                        tour drawing of the works or         Piece (eb)
Arabesque, Second Time (wb)        on one side and the background
                                                                        select and draw a detail from
Attributed to Francesco Righetti                                        each. Using the scale below as
after Giovanni Bologna, Mercury                                         a guide, ask students to shade
(wb)                                                                    in their drawings indicating the
Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Diana                                           various levels of highlight and
of the Tower (wb)                                                       shadow.                              Above, left: Louise Bourgeois,

Andrea del Verrocchio, Putto                                            2. Using the same shading exer-      The Winged Figure, 1948, cast 1991,

Poised on a Globe (wb)                                                                                       bronze, National Gallery of Art,
                                                                        cise, explore how different tex-
                                                                                                             Gift of Louise Bourgeois
Martin Puryear, Lever No. 3 (eb)                                        tures created by the artist affect
Richard Serra, Five Plates, Two                                         the ways light is reflected.         Above, right: Edgar Degas, Spanish
Poles (eb) (has multiple axes)                                                                               Dance, c. 1883/1885, dark green wax,
                                                                                                             National Gallery of Art, Collection of
                                                                                                             Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon
Sketching in the Round              Post-Visit Extension Activity:         information would have made a       Above, left: Antonio Canova, after the

A gallery visit allows you to see   Descriptive Writing                    more detailed image possible?       Antique, Winged Victory, c. 1803/1806,
                                                                                                               bronze, National Gallery of Art, Patrons'
objects from different perspec-
                                  • While still at the gallery, ask stu-                                       Permanent Fund
tives, something that cannot be                                            This resource is based on strate-
                                    dents to choose a sculpture.
accomplished by looking at a                                               gies used on two school tours:      Above, right: Isamu Noguchi, Great Rock of

slide or print. Have students     • Have them write a thorough             National Gallery Treasures—         Inner Seeking, 1974, National Gallery

choose any sculpture that can       description of its shape, color,       East Building and The Sculptor.     of Art, Gift of Arthur M. Sackler, m.d.,

                                    and scale. Is it on a pedestal or                                          and Mortimer D. Sackler, m.d.
be viewed from at least three                                              If you would like to schedule a
sides. Ask them to divide their     freestanding? What is its sub-         docent-led tour, please follow
paper into three sections and to    ject? How high is the relief (is it    the instructions on page four.
draw their chosen object from       very three-dimensional or some-
three different viewpoints. To      what flat)? What is it made of? Is     suggested resources
make this activity more exciting,   the surface smoothly textured or
                                                                           Gelb, Michael J. How to Think
you may want to give them a         rough? They should include any-
                                                                           like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven
time limit, perhaps rotating        thing else that describes the
                                                                           Steps to Genius Everyday. New
views every minute. Discuss         work.
                                                                           York: Dell Publishing, 1998.
how differently the object looks • Back at school, have students
depending on the place from                                                Jensen, Eric. Arts with the Brain
                                    read their description to a class-
which it is seen. Does it seem as                                          in Mind. Alexandria, Va.: Associ-
                                    mate, who draws a sketch from
three-dimensional from all                                                 ation for Supervision and Devel-
                                    it using colored pencils or
views? Does one viewpoint                                                  opment, 2001.
seem primary?                                                              Katter, Eldon and Marilyn G.
                                  • Find a picture of their work of        Stewart. Art, A Personal Journey.
                                    art on the Gallery’s Web site at       Worcester, Mass.: Davis Publica-
                                                     tions, Inc., 2002.
                                    • Now, match the sketch to the         Penny, Nicholas. The Materials
                                      online image.                        of Sculpture. New Haven: Yale
                                    • Consider the following ques-         University Press, 1993.
                                      tions: How closely did the class-    Ragins, Rosalind. Art Talk,
                                      mate’s drawing resemble the          Teachers’ Wraparound Edition,
                                      actual object? Did the descrip-      2nd edition. New York: Glencoe,
                                      tion include enough details to       1995.
                                      produce a recognizable sketch
                                      of the object? What additional

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