The second phase of my curriculum unit will be designed to prepare a historical foundation for my students to be grounded in before viewing authentic artwork from the permanent collections of the Yale Center for British Art and the Yale Art Gallery in New Haven. Through the use of replicated images of artwork from the period of the mid 1700s to the early 1900s from Britain and America, I will begin to introduce to my students to the world these paintings came from and the key historical developments of this day and age.
The introduction will begin with a student–generated discussion of observations, questions and connections they have about a particular piece of artwork entitled,
by George Morland. I will ask questions like:
What do you notice in this image?
What does this figure remind you of? Why?
How do the colors in this painting make you feel? Why?
What are you wondering about this image?
What do you think the painter may have been trying to show us? Why?
Once the children have made a personal connection to the images and/or had their curiosity piqued, I will provide relevant historical information about the time period in which select paintings were created through the use of a power–point presentation. The presentation will include world maps, several paintings and prints from the period, photographs, and a timeline to help foster an interest in this period in history as well as its connection to the present. The events I will focus on will carry the themes of how gender, race and class were affected by the turbulent times of war and discord among nations both vying for power and recognition.
The time line will include such events as:
1770s The War of American Independence and the onset of the Industrial Revolution
1780s The United States of America is recognized by Britain
The Slave trade ships 100,000 slaves to North America each year, following a triangular trade path from Europe (especially Britain and France) to Africa, to America and back to Europe. Anti–slavery attitudes grow.
1790s In America, the cotton engine or "cotton gin" was patented, and slavery in the South began its comeback.
1800s The labor practices during The Industrial Revolution make life hellish for common people, especially women and children, who are the cheapest workers.
1830s The Act of Slavery laws are abolished and the child labor laws protect children to a greater degree and provide children under 13 with schooling.
1860s The American Civil War made evident the split between the popular anti–slavery views between those who aligned themselves with the Union versus the Confederacy.
1870s The inventions of the telephone, phonograph and incandescent light bulb.
1890s The invention of the railroad and the Jim Crow laws in America.