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King Edward's School BATH

The national gallery in London set to exhibit artwork by year 5 artists

The national gallery in London set to exhibit artwork by year 5 artists

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8 March 2019

Year 5 artists at the Junior School are very excited, having just found out that their work will be exhibited at the National Gallery in London later this year, as part of the Take One Picture initiative, the National Gallery’s flagship scheme for primary schools. 

Each year the Take One Picture scheme focuses on one painting from the Gallery’s collection to inspire cross-curricular work in classrooms.  This year children across the UK were asked to respond to an 18th century painting, An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, by Joseph Wright of Derby.

At the start of the project KES artists were introduced to Wright’s oil painting.  Some were interested in the fate of the bird (would it die?), whilst others were drawn to the dramatic night time nature of the scene.  Pupils were also interested to learn that Wright spent two years in Bath, where he lived just outside the Royal Crescent and made a living as a portrait painter.  In response the children created a series of batiks, relief prints, self-portraits, ceramic birds and acrylic paintings and submitted them to the National Gallery for consideration for this year’s exhibition.

Excitingly, the Gallery has just confirmed it would like to exhibit the relief prints of Brock Street in Bath, created by Year 5 children after they decided to focus on Joseph’s time spent living in Brock Street. In creating their artworks, the children visited the street in the city, photographed every house on the north side of the street, and then created relief prints of each building using ‘reduction printing’.  Each print was then assembled to create a long streetscape.

The National Gallery has also confirmed that digital copies of the tonal self-portraits created by another set of Year 5 children, reflecting Wright’s career as a portrait artist, will also be on view at the exhibition run from the 9 May – 11 August.

Commenting on the Junior School’s ongoing involvement with the Take One Initiative, Head of Art, Mr Roberts-Wray said: “We have participated in Take One Picture for a number of years and have found it an excellent way of keeping the curriculum fresh and involving something challenging and new.”

Year 5 will visit the exhibition in London during the Summer Term.

 

ABOUT TAKE ONE PICTURE

Launched in 1995, Take One Picture is the National Gallery’s countrywide scheme for primary schools which aims to inspire a lifelong love of art and learning by promoting the role of visual arts within education

Each year the National Gallery encourages primary school teachers and children to focus on one painting from the collection and respond creatively to its themes and subject matter, historical context, or composition. The resulting artwork by children must link to subjects across the curriculum and involve the wider community. A shortlist of entries are then exhibited at the Gallery, showcasing the children’s responses to focus paintings.

 

ABOUT THIS YEAR’S TAKE ONE PICTURE FOCUS PAINTING - JOSEPH WRIGHT ‘OF DERBY’, AN EXPERIMENT ON A BIRD IN THE AIR PUMP, 1768)

A travelling scientist is shown demonstrating the formation of a vacuum by withdrawing air from a flask containing a white cockatoo, though common birds like sparrows would normally have been used. Air pumps were developed in the 17th century and were relatively familiar by Wright's day. The artist's subject is not scientific invention, but a human drama in a night-time setting.

The bird will die if the demonstrator continues to deprive it of oxygen, and Wright leaves us in doubt as to whether or not the cockatoo will be reprieved. The painting reveals a wide range of individual reactions, from the frightened children, through the reflective philosopher, the excited interest of the youth on the left, to the indifferent young lovers concerned only with each other.

The figures are dramatically lit by a single candle, while in the window the moon appears. On the table in front of the candle is a glass containing a skull.

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