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					   Set 3/Wyeth/lesson 3             Equality, Tolerance, Issues of Race
                                            Print: A Crow Flew By
               Egg tempera on wood, by Andrew Wyeth 1917-     ,United States, Realist artist



   Objectives
   Students will:
       Analyze and interpret the ideas and feelings within Andrew Wyeth’s
         psychologically acute portrait A Crow Flew By.
       Make connections between the ideas expressed in the artwork and
         present-day racial issues.
       Create a painting that expresses an emotion through the use of body
         language.


California Visual Arts Content Standards for 9-12—Proficient
Using Character Education Visual Art Kits

1.0 Artistic Perception
        1.1 Identify and use the principles of design to discuss, analyze, and write about visual aspects
            in the environment and in works of art, including their own.
        1.3 Research and analyze the work of an artist and write about the artist’s distinctive style and
             its contribution to the meaning of the work.
        1.5 Analyze the material used by a given artist and describe how its use influences the meaning
            of the work.

2.0 Creative Expression
       2.4 Review and refine observational drawing skills.

3.0 Historical and Cultural Context
       3.1 Identify similarities and differences in the purposes of art created in selected cultures.
       3.3 Identify and describe trends in the visual arts and discuss how the issues of time, place, and
            cultural influence are reflected in selected works of art.

4.0 Aesthetic Valuing
       4.1 Articulate how personal beliefs, cultural traditions, and current social, economic, political
           contexts influence the interpretation of the meaning or message in a work of art.
       4.5 Employ the conventions of art criticism in writing and speaking about works of art.

5.0 Connections, Relationships, Applications
       5.2 Create a work of art that communicates a cross-cultural or universal theme taken from
            literature or history.




   10/04                                                                      Set 3/Wyeth/lesson 3
   j.coate                                                Equality, Tolerance, Issues of Race
Set 3/Wyeth/lesson 3              Equality, Tolerance, Issues of Race
                                         Print: A Crow Flew By
            Egg tempera on wood, by Andrew Wyeth 1917-     ,United States, Realist artist



                            Activity 1 – About the Artist
   Read the following biography about the artist. Research at least 2 additional
   resources on the Internet. Using all 3 resources, write a 1 page biographical
    sketch about the artist. List your 2 new resources in a bibliography using
                                    MLA format.



                                       Andrew Wyeth
  The effects and consequences of racism viewed in today’s context

Andrew Wyeth was born in 1917, in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, where he and his family still reside in
a centuries-old farmhouse. Wyeth is known for his austere landscapes and portraits of friends and
neighbors, the most famous of which is Christina’s World. Content to spend his winters in rural
Pennsylvania and summers in remote coastal Maine, Wyeth is uninterested in the trappings of a modern
industrialized society. There are no interstate highways, cell towers, or even television antennas in
Wyeths’s paintings. While he portrays a simpler time, his paintings are complex in both technique and
content.

Andrew Wyeth was a sickly child who was home-schooled by his parents. His father, the famous
illustrator Newell Convers Wyeth, quickly recognized and nurtured his son’s talent. Wyeth had his first
one-man show at age 22. His popularity with the public grew and has never waned. He was the first
artist to be featured on the cover of Time magazine. In 1987, his paintings from the Helga Series were
exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the first works by a living artist to be
shown there.

A man of unbending conviction, Andrew Wyeth has never strayed from realism. While he has always
enjoyed public support for his art, critics and the New York City art world labeled him as too
sentimental during the era of abstract and non-objective art (1940s to 1960s). By the 1970s, the Post-
Modernist art world returned to an acceptance of photographic realism as seen in the works of artist
such as Richard Estes, Chuck Close and Janet Fish. Wyeth was honored with an exhibit at the Museum
of Modern Art in 1976, the first retrospective exhibit given to a living artist at that museum. In 1998,
the Whitney Museum in New York City mounted a major retrospective show of Andrew Wyeth’s
landscapes. Wyeth’s contribution to American realism has won him numerous medals and honors. He
is one of the most celebrated living artists of our time.

Wyeth’s paintings are executed in watercolor and egg tempera, often painted on wood. Egg tempera is
a paint medium that uses egg yolks as a binder and allows for extreme precision. Popular during the
Middle Ages and Renaissance, the technique was virtually forgotten by contemporary artists until
Wyeth revitalized it.

A Crow Flew By is a realistic study of a lone figure seated within and interior illuminated only by a
shaft of outside light. This is not a typical portrait; it does not flatter the sitter. His figure and
surroundings are treated with equal attention. The man’s weary expression and worn work clothes and
the bare walls that confine him suggest that he is of modest means. A Crow Flew By is a
psychologically penetrating portrait that commands the viewer’s empathy.

10/04                                                                         Set 3/Wyeth/lesson 3
j.coate                                                  Equality, Tolerance, Issues of Race
Set 3/Wyeth/lesson 3              Equality, Tolerance, Issues of Race
                                         Print: A Crow Flew By
            Egg tempera on wood, by Andrew Wyeth 1917-     ,United States, Realist artist


                                                                                      Name
                                                                                       Date
                                                                                     Teacher

                       Activity 2 – Guided Looking, discussion questions

Using a dictionary, define the following terms:
Realist
Egg tempera
Cultural discrimination
Anti-Semitism

1. A portrait can show one or several individuals. Andrew Wyeth is a Realist artist, presently
living in the state of Pennsylvania where he was born in 1917. Look at the portrait by Wyeth
titled A Crow Flew By. This portrait by Wyeth is a realistic study of a man sitting alone in a
room. Often the clothing the subject is wearing and his surroundings are clues that help the
viewer know more about the person portrayed.
Describe the man portrayed here.
How old might he be?
How is he dressed?

2. Andrew Wyeth’s command of detail is outstanding. What do the details surrounding this
man’s figure tell us about him?

3. Wyeth’s interest and skill in rendering textures is evident in the painting. Texture is an
element of art that refers to the surface quality or ―feel‖ of objects: illusions of roughness,
smoothness, softness. Wyeth is very skillful at simulating textures in paint so that they appear
real.
Find and list the surfaces in the painting that would actually ―feel‖ rough to touch.
Why has Wyeth emphasized these textures in this work?
How do you think the artist was able to achieve such fine textures?

Wyeth used a painting method which was popular before the invention of oil painting called
egg tempera. In egg tempera, the pigments are mixed with an emulsion of egg yolk rather than
oil. Wyeth utilized this medium to simulate texture using many tiny fine lines. Even the man’s
face is meticulously rendered.

4. Value, the interplay of light and shadow, plays an important role in confining the intensity of
the image to mostly one side of the image. Which areas are immersed in shadowy light?
Which elements are lit by daylight?
Why would the artist have left an empty space in the right foreground of the picture?




10/04                                                                      Set 3/Wyeth/lesson 3
j.coate                                                Equality, Tolerance, Issues of Race
Set 3/Wyeth/lesson 3             Equality, Tolerance, Issues of Race
                                         Print: A Crow Flew By
            Egg tempera on wood, by Andrew Wyeth 1917-     ,United States, Realist artist


            Activity 2 – Guided Looking, discussion questions, continued


5. The colors in this painting are typical of the palette Andrew Wyeth favors. Which hues
dominate the colors in this painting?
Why do you think the artist used mostly neutral colors?

6. What parts of the man’s figure did you first notice?
Describe his hands.
What do they remind you of?
Look at the man’s facial expression and his posture. What does it tell us about how he feels?


7. The artist used friends and neighbors as subjects for his portraits. What does he reveal about
the person who modeled for the painting?
How do you think Wyeth felt about this particular neighbor?

8. What could the title ―A Crow Flew By‖ possibly mean?



Crows are black and perceived as nuisances and less desirable birds. Perhaps the title relates to
racial discrimination; because of his race and economic condition, the man is considered a less
desirable citizen.




10/04                                                                      Set 3/Wyeth/lesson 3
j.coate                                                Equality, Tolerance, Issues of Race
Set 3/Wyeth/lesson 3             Equality, Tolerance, Issues of Race
                                         Print: A Crow Flew By
            Egg tempera on wood, by Andrew Wyeth 1917-     ,United States, Realist artist

                                                                                     Name
                                                                                      Date
                                                                                   Teacher

                           Activity 3- Character Education
                       From Seldom Seen to Mainstream

Today you will investigate changes associated with the representation of African-Americans
(or other minorities) in today’s society. Solicit answers to the following questions from parents,
grandparents, teachers or other older adults:

1. When you were young, how often did you see African-American people on television?
 (Never, seldom, occasionally, often)

2. How often do you see African-American people on television today?

3. How are they represented (roles played)?

4. When you were young, how many people of color or other visible minorities held leadership
roles such as an elected official on a local council, lawyer, judge, corporate leader in your
community or the country at large? (None, a few, many)

5. In general, do people of color have a greater voice in today’s society?
In what capacity?

Summarize what you learned through asking these questions.



Students, have you experienced or witnessed incidents that you feel can be attributed to racism:
events, threats, harassment, labeling, anti-Semitic slogans, intimidating attitudes, social
injustice, acts of discrimination?

Briefly describe the situation and a response that shows strength and courage.




10/04                                                                      Set 3/Wyeth/lesson 3
j.coate                                                Equality, Tolerance, Issues of Race
Set 3/Wyeth/lesson 3             Equality, Tolerance, Issues of Race
                                         Print: A Crow Flew By
            Egg tempera on wood, by Andrew Wyeth 1917-     ,United States, Realist artist



                                 Activity 4 – Art Activity

Materials:
Drawing paper
Pencil
Paints or colored pencils



Andrew Wyeth is known for his technical skill in portrait paintings that reveal much about the
personality of his subjects. Often the subject is looking away from the viewer. Wyeth’s use of
body language, a subtle form of communication, tells much about the character(s) in the
painting. Focus your attention on the reproduction, A Crow Flew By. The man’s sloping
shoulders and body, head pointing to the ground and closed fists are all gestures that we can
easily relate to and perhaps interpret as signs of shyness, discouragement, fatigue, loneliness
and so on.

Today you will be doing gesture drawings.
Go to the internet to see some examples of gesture drawings.
Gesture drawings are done quickly to capture and freeze the figure’s movement or action in a
single image. You are not expected to draw the figure, the human form – just what the figure is
doing.

Watch people, or have your friends pose, using body language and poses that suggest strong
feelings and emotions. Make several gesture drawings. Make notes of the emotion or action
you are trying to convey.

Next, create a composition from one of your gesture drawings to express a person’s feelings.
Place the figure within a setting that helps convey the subject’s experience and use visual
elements that emphasize that person’s condition.

Turn both your gesture drawings and your completed composition in to your instructor.




10/04                                                                      Set 3/Wyeth/lesson 3
j.coate                                                Equality, Tolerance, Issues of Race

				
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