Fireflies: Art Appreciation: Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose         

Apr 23, 2012

Art Appreciation: Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose

"Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose"
John Singer Sargent -- American painter
Tate Gallery, London, England
Oil on canvas
174 x 153.8 cm (68 1/2 x 60 1/2 in.)

From the moment you set eyes on this famous painting by John Singer Sargent, aren't you simply filled with wonder? It is classic. Elegant. A work that took him over a year to complete. Look at the glow of the lanterns and the perfect lighting in the scene which is at dusk, the delicate nature of flowers, faces, and hair on the little girls and the flow of the fabric. The historical use of lanterns is an integral part of capturing the essence of a Japanese garden. It creates a focal point not only in a living garden but is the emphasis in our delightful masterpiece. Our master artist John Singer Sargent recreated this scene using in England using British models. It is not only a look into history, it is a look at many homes and gardens today.  

This is not painted in typical kid-friendly bright colors, cartoon figures with googly eyes, or even, for that matter, any sort of familiar dress from our time period! How can we engage our young children and share this amazing painting in a meaningful way? How can we be sure they appreciate really "good" art?  

Here are some interactive questions to ask:

What are the children wearing?
Most children will answer long, white dresses.
Why are the children wearing long white dresses or gowns? 
Because that's what the style for little girls was in 1887, over 113 years ago.
Could they be pajamas? 
Answers will vary.
Why might they be pajamas? 
Because it is at dusk, right before bedtime.

What are they holding in their hands? 
Japanese lanterns.
Have you ever seen a Japanese lantern? 
Answers will vary.
Where would you see a Japanese lantern?  
The students may say Japan. In Japan, the people have used these artistic and creative lanterns as a focal point in their gardens since ancient times. They add a soft, peaceful mood that gives the viewer a sense of serenity and gives just enough light to help them make their way through the garden. 
Where else would you see Japanese lanterns?  
Yes, right here in America many people use Japanese lanterns in their gardens and homes. 
What are the girls doing with them? 
They are lighting them.
What are they lighting them with? 
It looks like they are probably long-handled matches or long lit sticks. Here is a teachable moment to bring in health and safety for young people regarding age-appropriate use of matches and fire safety rules!

Where are the girls? 
In a garden.
What type of flowers are in the garden? 
Lilies, carnations, and roses.
Why might the girls be facing each other? 
To create a feeling of closeness in the piece, to show that they are either close friends or sisters, etc.

How do you feel when you look at this piece? 
Answers will vary. Many young students may say they feel happy, and some will say they feel strange. The dusk lighting makes some children feel uncomfortable but others feel excitement and express it as "happy." To expand their vocabularies, you may wish to repeat what they say and add some new vocabulary words for them.

Hope you have been "en"-lightened by these gorgeous Japanese lanterns and inspired by this incredible master artist, John Singer Sargent!  To learn more about this piece by John Singer Sargent and/or to engage your older students click HERE:  

Don't miss my next Fireflies post where I will show you how to recreate these lanterns with your children. 

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

We sincerely thank you for taking the time to respond. You are an encouragement to the Fireflies Team.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home