Let’s Discover the artist EDVARD MUNCH!!! (Pronounced “Moonk”, not Munch)
What is this person screaming about?
“I was walking along a path with two friends. The sun was setting. Suddenly the sky turned blood red. I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence. There was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city. My friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.”
About Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch was born in Ekely, Norway on December 12, 1863 – the son of a military doctor. As a youngster, the tuberculosis deaths of both his mother and his teenage sister, left a profound mark on Edvard – the youngest of the Munch family. At the age of seventeen, after beginning to pursue a career in engineering, young Munch decided to give it all up to devote himself to painting. After studying at the Oslo Academy and under leading Norwegian artist Christian Krohg, he began showing his work – at times causing quite a stir. Spending summers in Norway and dividing the rest of his year between Paris and Germany, Munch attended literary circle meetings, exhibited regularly and experimented with woodcuts and etchings (in addition to paintings). As with most artists, much of Munch’s subject matter came directly from his life experiences. From the death of family members to love lost, the images in his art were at times too much for the general public to bear. Often called the first of the expressionists, Munch left an indelible mark on the history of art.
Why the sky was red in Munch Article from Space & Science Magazine explaining red sky in painting.
Humpty Dumpty’s Explanation
“You seem very clever at explaining words, Sir”, said Alice. “Would you kindly tell me the meaning of the poem ‘Jabberwocky’?”
“Let’s hear it”, said Humpty Dumpty. “I can explain all the poems that ever were invented–and a good many that haven’t been invented just yet.”
This sounded very hopeful, so Alice repeated the first verse:
‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
“That’s enough to begin with”, Humpty Dumpty interrupted: “there are plenty of hard words there. ‘Brillig‘ means four o’clock in the afternoon–the time when you begin broiling things for dinner.”
“That’ll do very well”, said Alice: “and ‘slithy‘?”
“Well, ‘slithy‘ means ‘lithe and slimy’. ‘Lithe’ is the same as ‘active’. You see it’s like a portmanteau–there are two meanings packed up into one word.”
I see it now”, Alice remarked thoughfully: “and what are ‘toves‘?”
“Well, ‘toves‘ are something like badgers–they’re something like lizards–and they’re something like corkscrews.”
“They must be very curious creatures.”
“They are that”, said Humpty Dumpty: “also they make their nests under sun-dials–also they live on cheese.”
“And what’s to ‘gyre‘ and to ‘gimble‘?”
“To ‘gyre‘ is to go round and round like a gyroscope. To ‘gimble‘ is to make holes like a gimlet.”
“And ‘the wabe‘ is the grass plot round a sun-dial, I suppose?” said Alice, surprised at her own ingenuity.
“Of course it is. It’s called ‘wabe‘, you know, because it goes a long way before it, and a long way behind it–”
“And a long way beyond it on each side”, Alice added.
“Exactly so. Well then, ‘mimsy‘ is ‘flimsy and miserable’ (there’s another portmanteau for you). And a ‘borogove‘ is a thin shabby-looking bird with its feathers sticking out all round–something like a live mop.”
“And then ‘mome raths‘?” said Alice. “If I’m not giving you too much trouble.”
“Well a ‘rath‘ is a sort of green pig, but ‘mome‘ I’m not certain about. I think it’s sort for ‘from home’–meaning that they’d lost their way, you know.”
“And what does ‘outgrabe‘ mean?”
“Well, ‘outgribing‘ is something between bellowing an whistling, with a kind of sneeze in the middle: however, you’ll hear it done, maybe–down in the wood yonder–and when you’ve once heard it, you’ll be quite content. Who’s been repeating all that hard stuff to you?”
“I read it in a book”, said Alice.
—Through The Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll
What do you think the Jabberwocky looks like?
Get practice paper and sketch 2 versions of this creature.
Make sure you are adding TEXTURE to your art!
EMPHASIS is important in this lesson….try to show that the jaws & claws are a major focal point by ENLARGING them and adding great detail!
Sometimes we use thin marker along with watercolor paint/pencils/chalk pastels to create VALUE in our art , other times, we will be using oil pastels on dark paper for this project. To help inspire you, below are some examples of secret art done by THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL (Dr. Seuss)
Now we’re onto the world-famous artist Pablo Picasso!!!
LOGIN TO BRAINPOP BELOW TO INVESTIGATE CUBISM
Make a Cubist-style portrait with picassohead.com! Screenshot your image when done.
CLICK PICTURE BELOW FOR A MUSICAL INTRODUCTION TO OUR NEXT ARTIST DALE CHIHULY!!!
What a whimsical way to learn about LANDSCAPES!!!! Thank-you Ted Geisel!!
“Surrealism encompassed a literary, intellectual, and artistic movement that developed in the 1920s and continued through the 1960s. Surrealist artists proposed that art should free the individual from the “rational” to express personal desires and release the mind from the shackles of conventional thought.
Surrealists were influenced by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud’s theories of the struggle in the human mind between the conscious and the unconscious.” (From the Art Curator for Kids)
The Surrealist movement didn’t limit itself to just the art world. Literature and music were also important components of Surrealism.
Writers of surrealist literature used a process called automatic writing, in which they wrote in a completely spontaneous fashion. They sat down and wrote as fast as they could, writing everything that popped into their heads as soon as they thought of it. In 1921, André Breton and Philippe Soupault published a book written automatically. Called Magnetic Fields, its chapters end at the points at which the authors simply stopped writing on a given day.
Another type of Surrealist writing took the form of an old children’s game. A group of people would get together with each person writing a line of poetry, a phrase, or a clause without looking at what the others had written. In the end, these seemingly random pieces would be cobbled together into poetry or prose.
Yet another technique involved cutting up a newspaper article into individual words, dropping them into a hat, picking one out after another, and re-assembling them into a poem.
As for Surrealist music, it used the same bizarre juxtapositions that Surrealist artists used in their paintings, and several composers created major works based on these themes. Composer Edgard Varése claimed he based a piece calledArcana on a dream, and a ballet scored by composer Erik Satie actually led a French critic to coin the word “surreal.”
Perhaps the most famous piece of Surrealist music, though, was George Antheil’sBallet Mecanique, which included parts written for electric buzzers and airplane propellers (pictured). When it was first performed, the audience rioted!
Exquisite Corpse was a Surrealist game developed in the 1920s, in which sentences or drawings were created by a group of people – each person unaware of what previous players had written or drawn. The result is a collaborative, inspiring work of art.
To play, have each member of a group come up with a random word. One student comes up with an adjective, the next a noun, the next a verb, and so on. Then, have them put them all together to create crazy sentences. Take it a step further and have students design artworks about their new crazy sentences.
Click here to download a free printable of the exquisite corpse activity! If you’d like my full Surrealism PowerPoint, please join The Art Curator for Kids Resource Library.
Definitions / Questions & Answer
Similar to Exquisite Corpse, have one person write a word on a piece of paper and then fold the paper to disguise the original word. The next person then writes a definition.
An alternate version of this is for one person to write a question and the next person write an answer.
Did you know you were practicing a Surrealist technique when you played Telephone growing up? Sit in a circle in a group, and have one person whisper a phrase to the person next to them. Each person then whispers what they hear until it makes it around.
I’ve also played a related board game with my friends called Telestrations. It’s a drawing version of telephone. You draw a phrase from the card and then pass it. The person you pass it to guesses what you drew. Then, they pass it for the next person to draw. You continue until the original artists gets their booklet back. At the end, you compare the guesses and drawings to see how close to the original phrase you got. We had a great time with this! Lots of laughs. This game is rated for ages 12 and up.
One strategy surrealists used was automatic drawing. On a blank piece of paper, have students draw continuously for several minutes without thinking about what they are going to draw. Let their hands flow freely over the paper without self-censorship.
André Mason, Automatic Drawing, 1924
Surrealist artists did this to let the subconscious take over. Hopefully by freeing yourself from planning and censorship, you true psyche can be revealed.
You can also do automatic writing and automatic sculpture!
Dadaists and Surrealists loved to use collage techniques to unlock new meaning in the world. I love this artwork by Hannah Hoch which comments on gender in the media. Even in 1919, we were revolting against unrealistic standards of beauty.
Notice how Hoch uses both text and images in her artwork.
Another Surrealist activity you could do is to write a dadaist poem. These instructions straight from Tristan Tzara, one of the leaders of the dada movement:
Take a newspaper.
Take a pair of scissors.
Choose an article as long as you are planning to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Then cut out each of the words that make up this article and put them in a bag.
Shake it gently.
Then take out the scraps one after the other in the order in which they left the bag.
The poem will be like you.
And here you are a writer, infinitely original and endowed with a sensibility that is charming though beyond the understanding of the vulgar.
– Tristan Tzara
Create New Myths, Superstitions, and Proverbs
Surrealists enjoyed playing with reality and shattering expectations. For this activity, create a new myth, superstition, or proverb.
BONUS ACTIVITY: Turn your proverb into a meme!
What’s Wrong with this Picture?
“In a well-known game children are invited to examine a picture and find elements in it that are somehow “wrong”: A person standing in midair; a dog reading a book, etc. In our surrealist version of the game, first played on July 1988 at La Choza Restaurant on Paulina Street in Chicago, each player identifies the “wrong”, or anomalous elements in a ordinary, mass-circulation picture.” (Source: Arsenal: Surrealist Subversion, No. 4 by Franklin Rosemont, quoted at surrealistrevolution.com)
Try the game with this picture. Be inspired by Surrealist artists and go for the ridiculous.
More Surrealist Games
A Book of Surrealist Games is a great collection of over 100 Surrealist games! I recently purchased it, and I’ve been having a fun time flipping through.
Surrealism (and Dada!) Lesson Downloads
I have a Surrealism lesson and a Dada lesson in The Art Curator for Kids Resource Library which includes some of these Surrealist games. If you are a member, click here to access these files. If you are not, please join!