NGV Home |Education home |

Header: Australian Impressionism

Questions and Activities

PDF

  • View a plan of the exhibition

Later Years

Explore – when you visit the exhibition

Focus on place

Choose one of the places where two or more of the artists worked (e.g. Mentone, Sydney, Richmond in NSW) and look at a range of paintings about this place.

What general observations can you make about this place (e.g. physical characteristics, land use and human activity) based on clues in the paintings?

Compare and contrast two paintings of this place. Suggest reasons for the similarities and differences you find.

Plein-air painting

Find a painting that you believe was painted en plein air.

What clues are there that the painting may have been made en plein air?

Describe the light, colour and atmospheric effects in the painting and how the artist has created these effects.

Portraits

Select a portrait that interests you.

What does the portrait tell us about the sitter?  How are these ideas conveyed by the artist (consider the use of art elements, composition and the pose, gestures, dress of the sitter)?

How does the style (including painting technique) compare to the style of paintings of other subjects, especially landscape paintings. Suggest reasons for this.

Narratives

English

Find a narrative painting.

Explain the story (e.g. characters, place and time)?

Explain how the artist has used the elements of art and composition and/or symbolism to construct a story in this painting.

Suggest why this story may have been of interest to this artist and audiences of the period?

Do you think the story has the same interest for the art audience, including yourself, today? Explain.

National themes

English History

Identify the landscape painting and the figure painting that you feel most persuasively expresses late nineteenth century ideas and values about Australian history, culture and identity?

What values and ideas about Australian history, culture and identity do each of these paintings express (e.g. egalitarianism, freedom, pastoral expansion, the heroic nature of rural work, bush life etc)?

Comment on how the artist uses visual elements and other strategies to persuasively express these values and ideas (e.g. scale, subject matter, composition, representation of figures etc)?

Technique and style

Look at the style and technique of a range of paintings.

Identify a painting that clearly demonstrates a direct painting technique (obvious brushstrokes and bold or broad areas of colour and tone). What visual effects are created using this technique?  Suggest why the artists used this technique for this painting.

Identify a painting that includes a more traditional painting technique (smooth brushstrokes and carefully blended areas of colour and tone inside clear outlines). What visual effects are created using this technique?  Suggest why the artist used this technique for this painting.

The 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition

Find the 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition paintings.

What do these paintings have in common (consider style, size and presentation)?

Suggest why the artists chose to present the paintings in simple wooden frames?

What does the experience of seeing these works in the original, in their frames and as a group add to your understanding of these works?

What does the display of the works in this exhibition add to your understanding of the original exhibition?

Why do you think the artists thought it was important to organise a special exhibition of these paintings?

When the artworks were first displayed they shocked some critics and visitors. What is the response of the art audience, including yourself, to these paintings today and why?

Compare and contrast artists

Choose two artists in the exhibition whose work interests you.

Select at least two paintings by each artist that you feel represent the key aspects of each artist’s work and their individual style, including use of materials and techniques.

Briefly describe what is represented in each painting, how it is represented and what ideas, feelings or moods each painting expresses, and how.

Compare and contrast the work of the two artists you have selected. Suggest reasons for the similarities and differences you observe.

Art industry context

Studio Arts

Consider the presentation and promotion of the exhibition Australian Impressionism.

What does the exhibition Australian Impressionism reveal about the role of a major public gallery, such as the National Gallery of Victoria?

Discuss curatorial, exhibition design, promotional methods and considerations evident in the presentation of the exhibition (e.g. thematic groupings of works, sequencing and placement of works, placement and role of labels and wall text, use of visual elements such as colour, range and placement of promotional material etc).

Originals and reproductions

Find a painting that you have seen in a reproduction before visiting the exhibition.

How has your understanding of the painting changed by viewing it in the original? Explain why.

AARDVARK
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum.
ANTELOPE
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum.
ANTIPASTO
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum.
ANTIPODEAN
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum.