Van Gogh, Picasso, Rousseau and Monet!

Posted: 23rd February 2024

Take One Picture is a project organised by the National Gallery which seeks to capture children’s imaginations and develop their visual literacy through the ‘up close’ exploration of paintings in the classroom and, for those who are able to travel there, in the gallery itself. Therefore, on Wednesday, Year 5 set off to Trafalgar Square, the home not only of lions, fountains and Nelson’s Column, but also the magnificent National Gallery.

We aimed to see several paintings we had already studied in the classroom, among them The Ambassadors, by Holbein, one of the Tudor period’s most symbolically interesting paintings and Bathers at Asnières, by Seurat, which perfectly captures the languid and lazy nature of a hot day. The Take One Picture painting, A Courtyard of a House in Delft, by de Hooch, had already sparked Year 5’s imagination in the classroom, and we excitedly followed our trail to Room 16 to see this painting ’up close’ in real life!

As these photos of our visit verify – a picture really does tell a story – Year 5 were captivated by everything they saw. They eagerly sketched, looked at, reflected upon, discussed, admired and absorbed everything they saw, not only our ‘target’ paintings, but also others that caught their eye as well as the architectural details of the gallery’s spaces.

I cannot begin to express how proud I was to see the boys conduct themselves with such focus, curiosity and respectful awareness of other visitors around them. The National Gallery is a busy place, so it was intensely gratifying to have people approach me to say how impressed they were to see the class behave so beautifully in this space. Two retired art teachers from the USA particularly sang Year 5’s praises remarking that in all their years visiting the worlds’ galleries and museums they had never seen a school group so immersed in their surroundings!

Thank you to each and every one of you in Year 5 for working together and inspiring each other so well on this trip. Miss Ohl, Mrs Parameswaran and I all feel privileged to have taken you there.

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