Vincent's self-portraits

Ken jij deze man?




































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Wie weet wie deze wereldberoemde man is?
There are almost no photos of Vincent van Gogh. He did not like photography or having his picture taken. In this photo, he is 19 years old. We don't have any photos from later in his life.
When this photo was taken, Vincent was not yet an artist.
But that had obviously changed by the time he painted this portrait.
1 / 14
next
Slide 1: Slide
Art and designLower Secondary Education (GCSE)

This lesson contains 14 slides, with text slides.

time-iconLesson duration is: 90 min

Introduction

Using Vincent van Gogh's self-portraits, the class will learn about the basic proportions of the face. Then they will paint their own self-portraits.

Instructions

General learning objectives
Students will:
- learn more about Vincent van Gogh's self-portraits
- find out about the basic proportions of the face
- and paint their own self-portraits using a mirror.


Materials required
- One copy per student of the worksheet Self-portraits.
- Mirrors
- Paper for drawing or painting (A2 format)
- Old newspapers
- Pencils or charcoal sticks
- Brushes
- Paint
- Jars, cups or other containers for water
- Rags or towels for drying brushes while painting
- Ruler or straight-edge (optional).

Optional variations
1. Instead of painting self-portraits, the students can work in pairs, painting portraits of each other.
2. Instead of mirrors, the students can use copies of their school photos. Then they can draw the schematic lines for the portrait directly onto the copies.

Background information
Dozens of self-portraits of Vincent van Gogh have been preserved – both paintings and drawings. He made most of them in Paris. At the time, he was experimenting with lighter colours and new painting techniques, different from the ones he had learned in the Netherlands.

Items in this lesson

Ken jij deze man?




































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Wie weet wie deze wereldberoemde man is?
There are almost no photos of Vincent van Gogh. He did not like photography or having his picture taken. In this photo, he is 19 years old. We don't have any photos from later in his life.
When this photo was taken, Vincent was not yet an artist.
But that had obviously changed by the time he painted this portrait.

Slide 1 - Slide

This item has no instructions

1887 - 1888









































































Vincent van Gogh
One important piece of equipment that Vincent used in making this portrait is not shown in the painting. What piece of equipment is that?
Vincent hoped to earn money by painting portraits. So he needed a lot of practice. It cost less to paint his own portrait than to hire a model.

Slide 2 - Slide

Vincent also used a mirror.

Slide 3 - Link

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has 20 of Vincent's self-portraits: 19 paintings and one drawing. You can use the link to look at them. Today we'll look at two of the portraits in this overview.
How would you describe the expression on Vincent's face?
In this portrait, you can see Vincent's face from the side, in three-quarter face. That means his face is turned slightly toward us.
Which side of Vincent's face can we see?

Slide 4 - Slide

Vincent is looking into the mirror with deep concentration. He painted his mirror image, so we're seeing the left side of his face.

Here you can see Vincent's face from almost directly in front of him. When you have a full frontal view of a face, you call it a full-face portrait.

Slide 5 - Slide

This item has no instructions

If you compare the two portraits (one in three-quarter face and one almost in full face), what difference do you notice between the two different angles?

Slide 6 - Slide

In the portrait that is almost full face, you can see both ears.

You've seen two great examples of self-portraits.



Now it's your turn...

Slide 7 - Slide

Tell the class that they're going to make their own self-portraits.

The next few slides explain the process step by step.

The basic shape of a face is a kind of oval, like an upside-down egg. You can draw one vertical and one horizontal line, each straight through the centre of the oval. Then you can divide the bottom half into two parts with another horizontal line. That makes it easy to see where to put the eyes, ears, nose and mouth.

Slide 8 - Slide

This item has no instructions

Slide 9 - Slide

If  your whiteboard has a touchscreen, you can draw the outline and the dividing lines on the face in this portrait, or have a student do it. The first step is to select the pencil icon from the menu in the bottom right corner. There's no need to draw the eyes, nose and  mouth, but it's important to outline the ears, the head, the chin and the neck. No touchscreen? Go on to the next slide.

We find those same basic proportions in Vincent's self-portrait. Since it's not entirely full face, his nose, eyes and mouth are not exactly in the middle.

Slide 10 - Slide

This item has no instructions

Exercise

Slide 11 - Slide

Tell the students that, before they make their own self-portraits, it's time for an exercise about the proportions of the face. Meanwhile, have the worksheets handed out.
Can you complete the drawing and make it symmetrical? Use the pencil in the menu in the lower right corner.
When the two halves of an object are mirror images, we call that symmetry.

Slide 12 - Slide

Give the students about five minutes to draw the missing half of the face. (Do you have a touchscreen? Then you can ask a student to do this on the board. Select the pencil to start drawing.) To make the exercise a little harder, you can have the students fold the sheet down the middle. After studying the completed half, they can try to draw the other half without a model. When they're done, go back to slide 10 and briefly discuss their work.

Make your own self-portrait


  • First sketch the proportions of your face and neck, using the worksheet as a model.
  • Then pick the colours for your portrait.
  • Think about the expression on your face: serious, gloomy, cheerful or something else?
  • Don't forget your clothing and the background.

You have about 50 minutes. Have fun!

Slide 13 - Slide

Then tell the students about the painting assignment. The comments on the board apply whether they use mirrors or photographs. While they work, leave this slide on the board.

Slide 14 - Slide

At the end of the lesson, you can invite some of the students to talk about their self-portraits. How did it go? What was hard? And what was easy? If some students aren't done, you can give them a chance to finish another time.