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Van Gogh under X-ray

X-RAY
What are you going to learn today?
In this lesson you will learn:
  • what x-rays are
  • what a conservator does
  • who Vincent van Gogh was
And you will see how x-rays can help the conservator get a closer look at Vincent’s paintings.
So, x-rays?
They are what doctors use at the hospital to see if you have broken your arm or leg. But why do people use them on paintings too?
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Slide 1: Tekstslide
Art and designDesign and technology+2Primary EducationLower Secondary Education (GCSE)

In deze les zitten 15 slides, met interactieve quizzen, tekstslides en 1 video.

time-iconLesduur is: 30 min

Introductie

Masterminds & Masterpieces – An interactive lesson in which students discover how conservators use x-rays to study paintings by Vincent van Gogh. The lesson is suitable for independent study, or whole-class teaching.

Instructies

General learning objectives
• Students learn what x-rays are
• Students get to know Vincent van Gogh
• Students see how a conservator uses x-rays to examine paintings

A curious and inquiring mind is vital for the preservation and conservation of art, and for science and technology in general. This lesson is part of the Masterminds & Masterpieces series, that uses the interdisciplinary benefits of inquiry-based learning (experimenting, trying out, looking, comparing, etc.). Masterminds & Masterpieces is a collaboration between the Van Gogh Museum and ASML.

Link to curriculum
This lesson ties in with the subjects art, physics and science.

Additional preparation
If the students aren’t quite sure who Vincent van Gogh was, watch the video Who was Vincent van Gogh?

Variation
  • This lesson can be combined with the lessons on UV – Van Gogh’s enemy / friend, and with the lesson on infrared radiation.
  • For students who can handle slightly more difficult material, the related lessons for higher-level students can be used.
Extra
Colouring sheet of the painting Head of a skeleton with a burning cigarette (see attachment)

Onderdelen in deze les

X-RAY
What are you going to learn today?
In this lesson you will learn:
  • what x-rays are
  • what a conservator does
  • who Vincent van Gogh was
And you will see how x-rays can help the conservator get a closer look at Vincent’s paintings.
So, x-rays?
They are what doctors use at the hospital to see if you have broken your arm or leg. But why do people use them on paintings too?

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

What’s happening here?
A conservator is looking at x-rays of a painting by Vincent van Gogh: Horse Chestnut Tree in Blossom
So what does a conservator do?
A conservator keeps a check on and looks after works of art or old objects in the museum, and repairs them if they are broken or damaged. It’s a very important job! At the Van Gogh Museum we take good care of the work of Vincent van Gogh, so that people can keep coming to see it in the future.
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh
  • lived from 1853 to 1890
  • grew up in the Netherlands
  • lived in four countries (Netherlands, Britain, Belgium and France)
  • decided to be an artist when he was 27
  • made almost 900 paintings, over 1000 drawings and wrote hundreds of letters
  • was not famous during his life
  • is now a very famous artist

Slide 2 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

Invisible...
You can’t see x-rays, just like you can’t see infrared (IR) or ultraviolet (UV) light.
What can you do with x-rays?
You can use x-rays to see something that you can’t see just with your eyes. You can take a picture of your bones, for example, like you’re looking straight through your skin. X-rays go through skin very easily, but they don’t go through bone so easily. You need a special machine to make x-rays.
Who’s this scary guy?
This is part of a painting called Head of a Skeleton with a Burning Cigarette which Vincent painted in 1886.
X-rays had not been invented then, so Vincent used a real skeleton as his model.

Slide 3 - Tekstslide

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered x-rays in 1895 – five years after Van Gogh died. So Vincent had never heard of them.


How do you use x-rays to inspect a painting?
Watch the video on the next slide to find out.
 

Slide 4 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

Slide 5 - Video

Deze slide heeft geen instructies




Now answer the questions on the following slides.

Slide 6 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered x-rays in...
A
1886
B
1890
C
1895
D
1973

Slide 7 - Quizvraag

1886 - Vincent painted Head of a Skeleton with a Burning Cigarette
1890 - Vincent died
1973 - The Van Gogh Museum opened
 Drag the pictures to the right boxes
This x-ray comes from a museum
This x-ray comes from an airport
This x-ray comes from a hospital

Slide 8 - Sleepvraag

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

A painting of a place in the countryside is usually called a landscape. If it is of something in a town or city, it is a cityscape or urban landscape. A painting of a face is a portrait or self-portrait.
 Drag the pictures to the right boxes
These paintings were checked in the video...
... and these were NOT

Slide 9 - Sleepvraag

These pictures are inspected in the video:
X-rays help us to inspect
paintings because you can
use them to...
A
measure how big the painting is
B
discover paintings underneath
C
see invisible cracks and holes
D
see all the different layers of paint

Slide 10 - Quizvraag

You can choose more than one answer!
 Drag the words to the right boxes
... easily let(s)
x-rays through
... do(es) not let
x-rays through at all, or not easily
Lead
Your skin
Your bones
A nail
Canvas

Slide 11 - Sleepvraag

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

You can’t see the patches
in the circle with just your eyes.
What do they tell us?

Slide 12 - Open vraag

Discuss the pupils’ answers. Use the pencil function to write keywords on the board. If some of the kids have smartphones, switch on ‘devices’.
It’s sometimes difficult
to understand an x-ray
of a painting.
Do you know why?
A
It only shows the green paint
B
The nails make it difficult to keep your mind on the painting
C
You see all the layers of paint on top of each other
D
You need special glasses

Slide 13 - Quizvraag

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

... that a storm makes visible light (lightning) and invisible x-rays? Nature doesn’t need a machine for it...
... that x-rays are used in industry too? You can use them to see if there are any mistakes in a weld that holds two pieces of metal together. Then you know if it’s strong enough.
Did you know...

Slide 14 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

Now you know:
  • who Vincent van Gogh is
  • that x-rays are not only used in hospitals
  • that a painting has more than one layer
  • that you can look under the top layer of paint using x-rays
  • that you can discover old layers of paint using x-rays
Would you like to find out more?
Look on these websites:

Slide 15 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies