On the 16th January 2018, with a sun “ au rendez-vous”, Spruce and Juniper went to the Courtauld Gallery in Central London and discovered an amazing collection of French Post- Impressionists Paintings.
On arrival, we were greeted by Annabelle, our very knowledgeable and very pleasant guide.
She led us to admire and study several paintings from Cezanne, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Gaugin.
The children were very engaged in all the discussions related to the possible meanings and the various new painting techniques. Annabelle also explained to us how depth of field could be created by the contrast of various colours; we debated whether the Lady in the Folie –Bergère Painting had the same or a different reflection in the mirror and its possible significance; we looked at the ‘Joueurs de Cartes’ and learnt about this very popular card game of the time, called ‘la Bataille’.
The children discovered various aspects of Parisian and French modern and social History of that time. They participated in mini-workshops on colour mixing, sketches and cartoons with speech bubbles in French and did translation exercises.
‘Are they all originals’? asked one of the pupils. ‘Of course’, said Annabelle. This collection was only a minute part of what the Gallery had to offer and we saw an auto-portrait of Van Gogh on our way out.
There were follow-up activities at school in the form of a mini-booklet with pairing-up exercises, quiz, questions and answers, colouring a palette, playing the ‘bataille’ card game, and for some, drawing the Portrait of a bird, following the instructions given by the very famous French Jacques Prévert.
This trip enabled the pupils to recognise the links between the different subjects of the curriculum and apply the language in a meaningful context, as well as providing an opportunity to see the ‘real’ paintings.