Looking Deeper Within the Picture

The Great Wave of Kanagawa, 1829, 1833

Source I’m sure most (if not all) of you have seen this iconic painting by Katsushika Hokusai. During the Edo period, Hokusai was the best known author in the woodblock print series Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji. In the picture we see the giant wave, three boats, and Mount Fuji in the distance.

Ice breaker prompt: Think about and write down questions you have about this picture. Rank them of individual curiosity

Response: 1) What do you feel when you look at this picture? 2) How is this different than other artists in Europe? 3) What was Hokusai’s intention when he made this picture?

Wheat Field, 1889

Source Personally this is one of my favorites from Vincent Van Gogh. This one has a vast number of different colors and unique brush strokes. Yes, you can argue that every artist has their own style, but it’s just something about Van Gogh that screams “immaculate.”

Ice breaker prompt: Analyze the image and write down the things that surprised you.

Response: Look at the different shades of colors that Van Gogh used. I also wonder what kind of material Van Gogh used when he illustrated this picture? I noticed that there is a very small detail of red at the bottom that represents flowers.

The Last Supper, 1498

Source Leonardo Da Vinci, a man that is still one of the greatest painters of all time. He created this masterpiece from one of the most well known books in history: the Bible. In the picture called “The Last Supper,” Jesus Christ is with is apostles right before he is about to die.

Ice breaker prompt: Create 3 thought bubbles about what the apostles might be saying.

Response: 1)We are finally here together with Jesus. 2) What is about to happen now? 3) Am I the one who will betray Jesus?

3 Replies to “Looking Deeper Within the Picture”

  1. A great collection of outstanding paintings. So different in style, country and time period. But together they make a fine comparison. And you choose some interesting ice breakers to explore them with.

    I’ve been to the Hokusai museum in Tokyo. It’s in his old neighborhood and even includes a installation with mechanical figures that replicated the space he worked in. I especially like the Great Wave image. The wave is so large, it even towers over Mt Fuji. And you hardly see the boats. Such a statement about the power of nature over humans.

    I’m having trouble getting your source links to work. Wonder what is up?

  2. Hi Cris! I think using famous artwork is a really great application of these icebreakers. It would be really interesting to caption the apostles’ thoughts. I think that would allow the students to get a fresh new take on traditional sources. Great job!

    1. Yes that was my intention! Even if I am in a classroom that doesn’t allow Catholicism, I would share it just because it is still considered history.

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