Why study poetry?
Complete this worksheet as you watch the clip below.
Symbols and Poetry
Complete this table to analyse the possible meanings of symbols.
Applying our understanding of ekphrasis
Download this document.
- List the first words that come to mind when you look at this artwork.
- What is happening in this artwork? What story is being told?
- Who or what is the subject of the painting? How would you describe them?
- What is the mood of the artwork? What sounds, smells, feelings, tastes could you associate with it?
- How does this artwork connect with you personally? Why did you choose it?
- Now that you have closely observed the artwork, how would you summarize its main idea?
- complete the activity in the document you downloaded on ONE of the paintings supplied. This will include both analysis and writing an original poem.
An Artist’s Life
Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Don McLean’s Starry Starry Night
- Examine the painting. Cover the picture. Write down as many features (buildings, colours, shapes etc) as you can remember. Discuss as a class: why are they memorable?
- Students work in small groups to analyse the painting, using this worksheet.View the Starry, Starry Night Animation
- PARAGRAPH RESPONSE: How has McLean used the language of visual art to create his poem?
- Step 1: Listen to Don McLean perform Starry, Starry Night. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxHnRfhDmrk
- Step 2: Annotate the poem paying particular attention to language, form and features. Ask students to identify the words in the poem related to painting.
- Step 3: Students create a Venn diagram: Similarities between Visual and Verbal Arts. Ask students to consider word choice, brushstrokes, colour, medium, point of view, perspective, purpose, main idea, subject, setting, period etc.
- Step 4: Student complete a hamburger paragraph answering this question: What are the similarities and differences between the arts of painting and writing poems?
- Read the Feature Article: Don McLean interview: Why I had to write ‘Vincent’.
- How does McLean’s work pay homage to van Gogh?
- Imagine you are McLean and write a fan letter to Vincent Van Gogh. What do you think McLean would want to say to Vincent?
- How would he explain his song and why he wrote it?
- PARAGRAPH RESPONSE: How has McLean used music and words to capture the essence of the painting?
Vincent Van Gogh’s Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles and Jane Flanders’ poem Van Gogh’s Bed
Jane Flanders’ approach to this painting is based on the assumption of the reader’s familiarity with the painting. As van Gogh is a well-known artist when the poem was written (1985), some assumption can be made, but not to the depth of Flanders’ very personal poem.
- Around the painting ask students to write their comments on the painting. Using the painting terminology they have acquired in their analysis of Starry, Starry Night.
- Read the article in The New York Times: Van Gogh’s True Palette Revealed by Nina Seigal (April 29th 2013). In her article Seigal asks does our experience of this painting change upon learning that van Gogh had originally depicted those walls in violet, not blue, or that he was less a painter wrestling with his demons and more of a deliberate, goal-oriented artist?
- What does the article reveal about van Gogh’s painting and his original intention?
3. Read and annotate Flanders’ poem Van Gogh’s Bed (alredy pasted into your books). Has reading the poem changed your perspective on the painting?
How does your bedroom room reflect who you are? The pale blues, golden yellows, and cool greens in the painting connote a sense of tranquility. Van Gogh wrote to his brother describing the colours he chose: “The pale, lilac walls, the uneven, faded red of the floor, the chrome-yellow chairs and bed, the pillows and sheet in very pale lime green, the blood-red blanket, the orange-colored wash stand, the blue wash basin, and the green window,” stating, “I wanted to express absolute repose with these different colors.”1
DOL: Visual Representation
Your task is to paint, sketch or create a collage that represents your own bedroom. Try to think like van Gogh. Why have you chosen certain colours? What do they reveal about your personality? Include your explanation of your painting on the back of your work.
On the back of your work, write a 100-200w explanation of why you have chosen the colours and symbols that are part of your representation.