Your group are invited to become portrait detectives, taking an enquiry-based approach to find clues in three different portraits. Discussion is highly interactive and takes what the children can see and their thoughts and feelings about the paintings as a starting point. Portrait detectives also involves practical activities, giving children the chance to develop their technical and communication skills.
The Walker Art Gallery’s Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque displays (Rooms 1-4) are closed to visitors from 6 January 2020 until spring 2021. The closure is to facilitate a major refurbishment of these galleries, funded by the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
This workshop is not available to book from January until April 2020 due to the refurbishment.
Portrait detectives begins with a warm welcome from a member of the gallery’s education team and questions and answers about what the children might expect to see during their visit.
We then discuss the definition of portraits. The children are invited to become portrait detectives, taking an enquiry-based approach to find clues in three different portraits. Discussion is highly interactive and takes what the children can see and their thoughts and feelings about the paintings as starting points. Areas discussed can include the difference between a portrait and self portrait, the differences in works of art, why people commission portraits, the role of the artist, how wealth is represented in paintings, what we can learn about the sitter by what is included in a painting, why artists paint self portraits, and the differences between the past and today.
The discussion is guided by skillful questioning that encourages the children to focus, observe, and interpret the paintings for themselves. During this process, the children’s confidence in interpreting paintings, their visual literacy and critical thinking skills are developed.
Portrait detectives also involves practical activities, giving children the chance to develop their technical and communication skills. They create a mind map, thinking about their identity and how it could be represented through portraiture, allowing them to develop their creativity and communicate their ideas.
The session concludes with the children creating their own portraits using techniques demonstrated to them by the session leader during a group ‘shared’ drawing exercise. This helps them understand the structure of a face and how to map it out for drawing a portrait. During the individual drawing task, pupils use the skills they have learnt and the ideas they have had looking at the paintings.
This session is a unique opportunity for pupils to engage meaningfully with, and be inspired by, internationally important art collections in the Walker Art Gallery.
Pupils will be introduced to: