Picture Study for Later American History – Module 2


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A Picture Study Resource for Later American History:
James McNeill Whistler

This resource is the second module in our Picture Study for Later American History Series. It can be used with a study of American history from the mid-1800’s to modern times. If you use all four modules, it can accompany a year of study.

Type of Resource: Individual Resource
Target Grades: 3rd-12th
Length of Study: Flexible Use & Scheduling

View Sample

Picture study allows children to become acquainted with famous artists and art techniques. Charlotte Mason encouraged picture study, and required her students to participate each year so that they might become familiar with the beautiful contributions artists have made to our world. Picture study introduces children to famous artworks and famous artists in much the same way as literature study helps them make acquaintance with the world’s classic titles and their authors. It also gives our children a treasure trove of images filled with beauty and meaning so different from today’s onslaught of media images.

Children also really benefit from picture study by increasing their powers of observation, sharpening their awareness of beauty, and developing their ability to evaluate works of art. Most importantly, they will be gently brought into the world of art, where they can connect with artists and attempt to understand what the artist wanted them to feel or experience.

In this resource, students will discover James McNeill Whistler, who was born in Massachusetts, but studied art in St. Petersburg while living in that city with his father. Whistler first used realism techniques, then shifted to Tonalism, which focused on using dark neutral colors. His works draw the viewer into them with the mystery of what might be just beyond the view itself.

We have given instructions for encouraging your student to appreciate and experience the pieces we’ve reproduced in this resource, and specific questions and helps that allow you to elicit your student’s experiences and impressions without imposing your own too much into the process. The assignments give background information on the artist, painting techniques, or the individual work, while other assignments offer exploratory questions, oral narration, timeline information, and opportunities to create their own artwork.

What Do I Need to Add to Fully Use This Resource?

  • No other resource is required to use with this resource, though it is an excellent supplement to a later American history program.

Other Modules That May Interest You!

  • Picture Study for Later American History – Module 1
  • Picture Study for Later American History – Module 3
  • Picture Study for Later American History – Module 4