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Van Gogh Infrared

Infrared
What are you going to learn today?
In this lesson you will learn:
  • what infrared is
  • what a conservator does
  • who Vincent van Gogh was
  • about a trick he used when he was painting
And you will see how infrared can help the conservator get a closer look at Vincent’s paintings.

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Slide 1: Tekstslide
Art and designDesign and technology+2Primary EducationLower Secondary Education (GCSE)

In deze les zitten 19 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 infrared radiation 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 infrared radiation is
  • Students get to know Vincent van Gogh
  • Students see how a conservator uses infrared radiation 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, which uses the interdisciplinary benefits of inquiry-based learning (experimentation, testing, looking, comparing etc.). Masterminds & Masterpieces is a collaborative project of the Van Gogh Museum and ASML.

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

Variation
  • This lesson can be combined with the lessons UV - Van Gogh’s enemy / UV - Van Gogh's friend, and with the lesson on x-rays.
  • For students who can handle slightly more difficult material, the related lessons for higher-level students can be used.
Additional preparation
If the students aren’t quite sure who Vincent van Gogh was, watch the video Who was Vincent van Gogh?

Onderdelen in deze les

Infrared
What are you going to learn today?
In this lesson you will learn:
  • what infrared is
  • what a conservator does
  • who Vincent van Gogh was
  • about a trick he used when he was painting
And you will see how infrared can help the conservator get a closer look at Vincent’s paintings.

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

What’s happening here?
A conservator is getting Vincent’s painting Horse Chestnut Tree in Blossom ready to be looked at with infrared light. Later on you will find out more about it.
So what is a conservator actually?
A conservator
  • keeps a check on and looks after works of art or old objects
  • repairs damage (if this is necessary)
Here a conservator is checking over a painting by Vincent.
Museums have to make sure they look after their collection very well, so that people can come and see it in the future. So conservators have a very important job.
Who was 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

What is infrared?
Infrared (IR) is ‘thermal radiation’. You can’t see it just with your eyes, but you can feel it, because it is warm. Everything gives off infrared, even people! But of course some things are warmer than others. The warmer something is, the more infrared radiation it gives off. The sun gives off the most IR.

Slide 3 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

At the museum they use IR to get a closer look at Vincent’s paintings. Watch the video on the next slide to find out how they do that.
See if you can answer the questions afterwards!

Slide 4 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

Slide 5 - Video

The video lasts 5m 54s
How can IR help you
check out a painting?
You can...
A
see all the layers of paint with it
B
find out if the colours of the paint are still allright
C
discover drawings underneath
D
measure how big the painting is

Slide 6 - Quizvraag

Two of these answers are right.
What gives off the most IR?
Write down your answer!

Slide 7 - Open vraag

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

Is there anything
in our universe
that doesn’t give off IR?
A
Yes, there are a few things
B
No, absolutely everything gives off IR

Slide 8 - Quizvraag

Everything in the universe gives off IR, whether it’s just a tiny bit, or a really huge amount.
Difficult words! Which two go best with infrared?
BEST
REST
absorption
reflection
option
fraction
absention
tradition
attention
commotion

Slide 9 - Sleepvraag

The next slide is about the meaning of the two words associated with infrared. Have the kids look up the meaning of the other words later if they wish, or discuss them briefly now.
absorption of IR
reflection of IR
Means that something soaks up infrared radiation, so it stays inside the thing.
Means that infrared radiation bounces off something.
What does it mean?

Slide 10 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

When inspecting a painting, they look at what material lets IR through, what absorbs it, and what material reflects IR. You can even make a special picture of it.

Slide 11 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

Which things belong together?
Drag them to the right place!
This material lets IR through.
This material reflects IR (IR bounces off it).
This material absorbs IR
(it soaks IR up).

Slide 12 - Sleepvraag

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

What object at home uses IR?
Do you know?

Do you know?
Your TV remote works with an infrared beam.
Experiment
If you hold something in front of a remote control, you can find out whether it lets IR through. If the TV turns on or the channel changes when you press the button, then the material lets IR through. Try it yourself at home or at school. But don’t forget to ask permission!

Slide 13 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

What do you see here?
This is a detail, a small piece of Vincent’s painting under IR. Can you see the lines of the drawing underneath the paint?
Back to the horse chestnut tree...

Slide 14 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

How did Vincent start
making his painting
‘Horse Chestnut Tree in Blossom’?
A
He started painting straight away
B
He made a drawing on the canvas first
C
He coloured in a photo
D
He traced a picture

Slide 15 - Quizvraag

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What did Vincent use to help him make this painting?
Vincent used a perspective frame. You can see that even better on the next slide.

Slide 16 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

Vincent first drew the lines from the perspective frame when he made this painting, too. But you can’t see them anymore just by looking with your eyes.

Slide 17 - Tekstslide

View from Theo's Apartment, 1887
You can find out more about this painting on our app Unravel Van Gogh
So now you know...
  • what infrared is
  • who Vincent van Gogh was and what he sometimes used to help him paint
  • how conservators use infrared in their work
  • that you can discover underdrawings with infrared

Slide 18 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

But why did Vincent need a perspective frame when he painted the chestnut tree? Was it really so difficult to paint? What do you think..?

Slide 19 - Tekstslide

Deze slide heeft geen instructies