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  1. 1. Art Talk During the 15 th century in Florence, Italy, painter Sandro Botticelli was commissioned by a member of the wealth Medici family to paint a picture for his country villa. That picture was Birth of Venus, which shows the goddess emerging from the sea on a shell. ======== If you could commission an artist to create a painting for your home, whom would you choose? What would be the subject?
  2. 2. Art Talk Vincent van Gogh's talent was not recognized in his lifetime. His intense colour and swirling brushstrokes did not appeal to popular tastes. Desperately poor, Van Gogh tried unsuccessfully to sell his paintings. In 1987, nearly 100 years after his death, his Sunflowers sold for a record – almost $40 million. ======= Have you ever done or made something that wasn't appreciated until later? What was it?
  3. 3. Art Talk Artisans in ancient Greece made vases that were used for storing oil and wine. They were often intricately decorated with scenes from Greek mythology. British poet John Keats wrote his poem ' Ode on a Grecian Urn' about the experience of looking at the scene captured on an elegant Greek vase. ======= If you could write a poem about a work of art, what piece would you choose? Why?
  4. 4. Art Talk The favourite subject of portrait painter Gilbert Stuart was George Washington. stuart did three portaits of the president: a bust, a full-lenght study, and an unfinished head. The incomplete head, which was committed by Washington's wife Martha, is the most popular - it appears on the dollar bill. ======= If you could meet any leader and then create his or her portrait, whom would you select?
  5. 5. Art Talk One colossal piece of sculture, the Statue of Liberty, was a gift given from France to the U.S. In 1884. It was designed by Auguste Bartholdi. The 306-foot statue was shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in 210 crates. ======= If you were given the task of creating a sculpture of liberty, what would your statue look like?
  6. 6. Art Talk The original title of James McNeill Whistler's most famous work is 'Arrangement in Grey and Black'. But the artist's simple, austere profile of his parent is popularly known as 'Whistler's Mother'. This distinctly American portrait is in the collection of the Louvre in Paris. ======= If you could immortalize one member of your family in a portrait, whom would you paint and why?
  7. 7. Art Talk Not all painting were the work of a single artist. Many painters had assistants who did the bulk of the work. Sir Anthony van Dyck, a 17th-century portrait painter, had quite a system. He would paint the head of the sitter, and his assistants would do the rest. ======= If you could hire an assistant for your work, whom would you choose? What would you have that person do for you?
  8. 8. Art Talk The first photographic image was made in 1827 and required eight hours of exposure time. Today pictures can be taken instantly. In 1975, a scientist photographed a bullet shooting through an apple at one three-millionths of a second. ======= If you could take a picture of something that happens in a split second, what would you photograph? Why?
  9. 9. Art Talk One Sunday in 1886, George Seurat captured a scene of people relaxing beside the Seine. His painting, 'A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte', inspired a musical, Sunday in the Park with George'. The picture comes to life on stage. ======== If you wrote a play based on a work of art, which work would it be? What would the play be about?
  10. 10. Art Talk In 1905 French painter Henri Matisse and several artists exhibited a new style of painting in Paris. Their works had vibrant patches of colours and distorted forms. One art critic who found this style shocking called them fauves , a French term meaning 'wild beasts'. Matisse found this insult hilarious. ======= Have you ever been called a name that you found funny? Who called you that? Why?
  11. 11. Art Talk Although portrait painters often posed their subjects in formal settings, Thomas Gainsborough sometimes depicted them relaxing at home, surrounded by favourite possessions. These informal portraits are called 'conversation pieces'. ======= If a painter were to create a conversation piece for you, how would you pose? What favourite objects would you include in the picture?
  12. 12. Art Talk Some art is meant to be worn directly on the body. A few tribal cultures in Africa beautify themselves with scars. Sikh brides use a natural dye to paint delicate patterns on their hands. And tattoos are prevalent in many cultures. ======= How do you decorate your face and body?