Seeing with a
Lesson by Van Gogh Museum
This lesson contains 13 slides, with interactive quizzes, text slides and 1 video.
General learning objectives
- The pupils get to know about Vincent van Gogh
- The pupils will be able to identify and describe the impact of Japanese printmaking on the work of Van Gogh.
- Mobile phones (optional)
To save time, one or more projects can be skipped.
More information about Van Gogh and Japan.
Seeing with a
Tell: Vincent collected hundreds of Japanese prints. You can see some of the ones in his collection on this slide. He often decorated his living spaces with them. He also mounted an exhibition of Japanese prints in a Parisian café. Some of the prints even have thumbtack holes in them.
Ask the pupils to name the similarities between these prints. You could also ask what they decorate their own rooms with.
• Flat planes of colour
• Striking diagonals
• Subjects cut off at the picture edges
• Prominent contours
• Distinctive spatial arrangements with the emphasis on foreground and background.
• Little use of shading
Did Vincent’s contemporaries, Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, also look with a Japanese eye?
Tell: As already mentioned, Vincent’s contemporaries were also inspired by Japan.
Go to the next slide and let the pupils answer the question on their phones.
A is the right answer. Discuss the answers with the pupils.
Answer: you can see that Bernard and Gauguin were also inspired by Japanese prints, most clearly evident in their big, bright, flat planes of colour and clear contour lines.
Discuss the pupils’ answers.
Tell: Here you see The harvest, which Vincent made in Arles. Discuss with the pupils how Vincent used Japanese prints to modernise his work.
You can refer to slide 6 for possible answers.
Discuss the answers and bring the lesson to a close