The rediscovered sea view

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Slide 1: Slide
Art and designPrimary EducationAge 8-12

This lesson contains 19 slides, with interactive quiz and text slides.

time-iconLesson duration is: 75 min

Introduction

After learning about Van Gogh's View of the Sea at Scheveningen, the students will draw or paint 'sea views' of their own.

Instructions

General learning objective
With two sea views as models – one by Vincent van Gogh, and one by his teacher Anton Mauve – the students will make sea views of their own that create the illusion of depth.

Time required
Introduction/explanation: c. 15 minutes
Drawing or painting: c. 45 minutes
Final discussion and clean-up: c. 15 minutes

Preparation
- Decide which technique the class will use: drawing or painting. If drawing, the lesson may be shortened.
- Set out the materials.

Materials
These depend on the chosen technique.
For painting:
- Art paper
- Various colours of paint
- Mixing boards or empty egg cartons
- Brushes
- Rags or towels for drying brushes
- Jars of water
For drawing:
- Drawing paper
- Pencils or charcoal sticks

Optional variations
- You can extend the lesson by having the students make a preparatory drawing of the sea view followed by a painting. The drawing could be either a preliminary sketch or an underdrawing for the painting.
- You can also extend the lesson by telling the class about the theft of this painting. See the short lesson 'Two stolen paintings'.

Background information
After 14 years, two paintings by Vincent van Gogh – thought to be lost – were rediscovered. These paintings had been stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in 2002. One of them was View of the Sea at Scheveningen (1882). Van Gogh painted it on the beach on a windy day, so quite a bit of sand blew into in the paint.
For more information about these paintings, see the story on the Van Gogh Museum website or the lesson 'Two stolen paintings'.

Items in this lesson

Slide 1 - Slide

Tell the class: This painting of the sea near Scheveningen has become world-famous. Does anyone know why?
Now go on to the next slide, which gives two reasons.
It was made by Vincent van Gogh.
It was stolen from the Van Gogh Museum (along with another painting) and was missing for 14 years. When the painting was rediscovered, it was big news.

Slide 2 - Slide

Click on the hotspots to show the answers.
Extra information: Vincent painted this on paper. The paper was later pasted to a wooden board, and much later it was pasted on canvas. During the theft, one of the thieves seriously damaged the painting. In the lower left corner, a strip of paint was lost.

Slide 3 - Slide

Tell the class: The painting is called View of the Sea at Scheveningen. A sea view is a painting or drawing of a landscape that includes the sea.

Slide 4 - Slide

Continue: Vincent is now world-famous. He is best known for very colourful paintings, like this self-portrait.
Question: Who can figure out the year that Vincent painted this self-portrait?

> Under the signature is the number '88'. That stands for 1888. (But we know that Vincent started work on the painting in 1887.)
What do you think?
Did Vincent paint this sea view BEFORE or AFTER the self-portrait?

A
BEFORE
B
AFTER
C
DON'T KNOW

Slide 5 - Quiz

The next slide explains the answer to this question.
Vincent painted the sea view in 1882. It's one of his earliest oil paintings.

Slide 6 - Slide

First click on the hotspot to show the explanation.

Then tell the class: Vincent became an artist fairly late in his life: in 1880, when he was 27 years old. At first, he spent a lot of time practicing his drawing. He took drawing and painting lessons from one of his relatives, Anton Mauve.

Slide 7 - Slide

Continue: Anton Mauve was married to one of Vincent's cousins. He was a well-known artist. Here is one of his paintings.

Slide 8 - Slide

Can you describe some differences between these two paintings? For example: few people / many people; bad weather / good weather; calm sea / waves; donkeys / horses.
Now have the class identify some similarities.
For example: the location (the beach in Scheveningen), the colours, a clear horizon.

Slide 9 - Slide

Ask the students to take a very close look at the painting. Question: Anton Mauve painted over something in this painting. Who can see what that was?
Have the students point out what they see.

> To the left of the donkey, you can see a boat that was painted over (detail view on the next slide).

Slide 10 - Slide


Slide 11 - Slide

That boat is similar in shape to the boat in Vincent's painting.

Slide 12 - Slide

Ask the class what else they notice in this detail view of the painting.
  
> Thick blobs of paint
> A bird (a seagull? a crow? There are other birds like this in the picture.)
> A 'grainy' texture: Vincent painted this on the beach. The wind blew sand into the paint.
1882
1888

Slide 13 - Slide

Tell the class: Vincent also painted on the beach in southern France, where he lived later in his life. Can you see the differences? > Use of colour. / The painting from 1882 includes the beach. The one from 1888 does not. / We see a storm on the left and sunny weather on the right (you can use the sound samples to illustrate the difference between a stormy and a calm sea). / Vincent was standing further away (in the dunes) when he made the painting on the left. He was close to the waves when he made the painting on the right.

Slide 14 - Slide

Sand also blew into the paint in the south of France, just as it had in Scheveningen. This detail photograph was taken under a microscope.

Slide 15 - Slide

Now discuss the position of the horizon. In the next slide, a white line marks the horizon in each painting.
You could also briefly discuss the concept of a bird's-eye view (looking down from above) and the opposite, a worm's-eye view (looking up from below).

Slide 16 - Slide

A low horizon leaves more room in the painting for the sky, while a high horizon means that less of the sky is visible.
You can also divide the part of the painting under the horizon into different layers. Ask a few students to mark the different layers in the paintings, using the drawing tool.

Slide 17 - Slide

Lastly, you can discuss how the size of the forms in the paintings creates the appearance of depth. Things that were further away from the painter are made to look smaller than things that were close by. You can illustrate this rule using the figures on the left or the boats on the right.
You may wish to mention the term 'perspective'.
Now let's get to work! Make your own sea view. First draw a line for the horizon. Would you like a lot of sky (a low horizon) or a lot of sea (a high horizon)? Do you want to show the beach too?

Would you like to show a calm sea or stormy weather? You can also think about including people, boats, birds, donkeys, horsecarts, or other things. 

Slide 18 - Slide

Now tell the class about the assignment. Let them know whether they will be drawing or painting and how much time they will have.
Please keep in mind that painting will take more time.
Tell the class about your
sea view

Slide 19 - Slide

At the end of the lesson, invite some of the students to talk about the drawings or paintings that they made. 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.