Find the five differences: The Yellow House (2)

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Slide 1: Slide
Art and designPrimary EducationLower Secondary (Key Stage 3)

This lesson contains 19 slides, with text slides.

time-iconLesson duration is: 15 min


In this brief game, the class will take a close look at Vincent van Gogh's painting 'The Yellow House' and then find the differences in five modified versions. Set 2.


General learning objectives
- The lesson will introduce the class to Vincent van Gogh and one of his most famous paintings.
- By looking closely at details, the children will discover what makes five modified versions of The Yellow House different from the original.
No materials needed.
1. Have the children work separately or in pairs. For each modified version, they can write down the difference from the original. Afterwards, you can see who has the most correct answers.
2. Combine this lesson with another one about the same painting: 'Find the five differences: The Yellow House (1)' or 'A painting in eleven words'.
3. After talking about the last difference, discuss whether the changes affected the mood or atmosphere of the painting. Which difference made the painting seem very different? And is it really OK to change a work of art, making it different from the artist's original idea or creation?
Background information
This painting from 1888 shows the yellow house that Vincent rented in the southern French city of Arles, in a square called Place Lamartine. In that house, he painted famous works of art such as The Bedroom and Sunflowers.

Items in this lesson

Slide 1 - Slide

Briefly tell the class something about the painting The Yellow House and the artist, or ask them what they think of it. Then let them know that you're all going to play a game and they should look at the painting very carefully. We look at things every day, but taking a careful look is not nearly as easy as it seems. 

If you've already done 'Find the five differences: The Yellow House (1)', you can remind the class of that lesson.

Slide 2 - Slide

Tell the class: When you look at a painting, try to take time to look at every single part. You may want to imagine that you're tracing the lines in the painting with your eyes. Can you see that Vincent placed the main subject, his house, right in the centre?
You could trace some of the lines in the painting that guide the viewer's eyes, such as the edges of the roofs or the streets. Or you could ask one of the children to do this.

Slide 3 - Slide

Tell the class: When you 'trace over' the painting with your eyes, you see more and more details. Ask the children what details they see. Then explain the assignment: After [a certain number of] seconds, the picture will disappear from the board. When it reappears, something about the painting will be different. Then explain how the class discussion will work.
Did you look closely?
Now find the difference!

Slide 4 - Slide

Slide 5 - Slide

To avoid confusion, every modified version is marked with the words 'What is wrong with this painting?' You can ask the children to tell you their answers or to circle the details on the board using the drawing function.

Answer: The second railway bridge has one more pillar than in the original painting.

Slide 6 - Slide

After every modified version, the original painting will appear again on the board. This will make it clear what was different about the previous version. It also allows the class to take another look at the original in preparation for the next version.
Did you look closely?
Now find the difference!

Slide 7 - Slide

Slide 8 - Slide

Answer: The lamp post on the left of the  painting is missing.

Slide 9 - Slide

Did you look closely?
Now find the difference!

Slide 10 - Slide

Slide 11 - Slide

Answer: Compared to the original painting, the train is going in the opposite direction.

Slide 12 - Slide

Did you look closely?
Now find the difference!

Slide 13 - Slide

Slide 14 - Slide

Answer: The large heap of sand in the lower left is missing.

Slide 15 - Slide

Did you look closely?
Now find the difference!

Slide 16 - Slide

Slide 17 - Slide

Answer: In the dark window on the top floor of the house behind Vincent's, a white dot is missing. Ask the class if they have ideas about what that white dot could be.

It looks as though the window is open and someone inside is wearing a white cap. But it could also be something very different.

Slide 18 - Slide

Afterwards, you can briefly discuss the game. Was it easy or hard? Which difference was the hardest one to find? Did the differences make the painting completely different, or did they not really matter very much?

Slide 19 - Link

If there's still time, the class can take an even closer look at the painting. On the Van Gogh Museum website, you can zoom in on details of The Yellow House.