Choose an artist whose work you particularly admired in the exhibition. Research and present a short illustrated talk about this artist, making reference to at least three paintings by the artist that you saw in the exhibition.
Explain how these works reflect the ideas and interests of this artist.
What interests you most about this artist’s work?
The style and subjects of the 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition paintings, and the presentation of the exhibition reflected modern life and modern ideas in art.
Create a contemporary ‘9 by 5’ artwork focusing on a subject matter and style that you feel reflects the world today.
Organise a class 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition of the completed works. Research the presentation of the 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition and consider how you will present your contemporary version of this event.
List all the tasks that will be involved in promoting and presenting the exhibition and allocate different students to different roles.
Read contemporary accounts of the preparation for the 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition and the response of the public and critics.
Write and perform a short play about this event using appropriate props and with different people taking on the role of the artists, the critics and the public.
Identify two paintings that you believe illustrate different aspects of human activity in the landscape (e.g. leisure, farming and resources).
Describe the landscape in each painting and what evidence you can see of human activity in the landscape.
What impact has this activity had on the land?
What general attitudes and values related to the environment does this activity reflect?
What might be the long-term impact of this activity?
How do you think the landscape represented, and the way it is used by humans, may have changed today? Suggest reasons for this.
If possible, find a contemporary photograph of this scene. What similarities and differences are there?
Identify paintings in the exhibition and other relevant source material (e.g. photographs and illustrations of the period) that reflect the social and cultural life of ‘Marvellous Melbourne’. This might include views of the city and surrounding areas and portraits.
Identify some themes within these images (e.g. music and theatre, the Centennial Exhibition, transport – including new train and tram lines, leisure – including bathing, fashion, buildings and interiors).
Allocate different themes to different students to research further.
Organise a series of talks in the class, or create a class PowerPoint presentation incorporating relevant images and information based on each these themes.
Compare and contrast views of ‘Marvellous Melbourne’ with views of Melbourne today. You could create your own photographs of aspects of the city today to compare with those represented in the paintings, or find them from other sources.
Present an illustrated talk or PowerPoint presentation to highlight changes over time in the city.
Art and national identity
Artworks can both reflect and define national identity.
Discuss, with reference to at least two paintings by the Australian Impressionists. In your discussion consider what values and ideas the paintings reflect about national identity and how these reflect the period in which the paintings were made.
Suggest how the paintings of the Australian Impressionists might have helped to define national identity for audiences when they were made, and more recently.
An Indigenous perspective
There is little or no representation of Indigenous people or culture in the work of the artists associated with Australian Impressionism. Suggest reasons for this.
Compare and contrast a painting by William Barak (c. 1820–1890) with a painting by one of the Australian Impressionists. How does each painting reflect a different experience of Australian life, culture and identity?
To learn more about William Barak, visit the information published for the NGV exhibtion Remembering Barak.
A gender perspective
Although Jane Sutherland was a colleague of the male artists represented in the exhibition, and created work that reflects similar interests and qualities, she is the least well-known of the five artists. Suggest reasons for this. In your answer you should consider social restrictions on the lives of women in the nineteenth century, and traditional constructions of art history, as contributing factors.
Compare and contrast Shearing the rams 2001 by Dianne Jones with Shearing the rams 1890 by Tom Roberts, and Untitled (date) by Anne Zahalka with the A break away! 1891 by Tom Roberts.
How have the original images by Tom Roberts been transformed by each of the contemporary artists?
How do the contemporary artworks challenge the view of Australian life, history and identity that is presented in the original painting by Tom Roberts
Look at different ways that the images of the Australian Impressionists have been appropriated or borrowed in contemporary art, advertising and popular culture.
Suggest why artists and others borrow the images.
Do these new images change the way you view the original images? Explain why.
What is your personal opinion of the way these images have been used by artists and others?
Are there some uses that are more or less acceptable than others? Explain.
What links can you find between the work of Bastien-Lepage and the work of the Australian Impressionists?
Discuss, with reference to specific artworks by Bastien-Lepage and at least two of the Australian Impressionists.
Research and read the writings of Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson and Adam Lindsay Gordon, and listen to a selection of bush songs.
Select a poem, song or story and identify and explain the key themes and ideas in this work.
Select two paintings from Australian Impressionism that you feel reflect similar themes and ideas. Explain your choices.
Further information and activities for students about the music of the period see:
Australian Government – Culture and recreation portal – Bush songs and music
Write a press release, review for the school newsletter, newspaper editorial, short magazine article or present a short oral report suited to TV or radio, about the exhibition, Australian Impressionism. Study the style and form of these different types of communication before you begin, and tailor your writing and presentation to suit. Identify and use information about the exhibition that is relevant to your audience and purpose.
Consider what you already knew about Australian Impressionism before you began to research and work in this area, and what you know now.
Summarise the five most important things you have learnt.
List the three things that helped your learning in this area the most (e.g. visiting the exhibition, information in books, analysing artworks, discussion with others).