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Who is…J.M.W Turner?

Posted 11 September 2014 by Kat

Meet J.M.W Turner (the J.M.W stands for Joseph Mallord William by the way), he was born in London in 1775, his dad was a barber and many people consider him the first modern painter! The art critic, John Ruskin said he was ‘the greatest of the age’. Let’s see what you think!

J.M.W Turner, Self-Portrait c.1799 c. Tate

J.M.W Turner, Self-Portrait c.1799 c. Tate

Turner was a landscape painter, traveller, poet and teacher. When he was just fourteen years old he became a student at the Royal Academy of Art in London.

He painted great moments in history and fantastic stories, which often challenged the styles of older painters. Turner was known as “the painter of light”. Lots of Turner’s paintings are romantic and dream-like. Many of Turner’s later artworks resemble the Impressionist style of painting which happened in France in the years to come. Can you see how they are similar?

J.M.W Turner, Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus exhibited 1839, c. Tate

J.M.W Turner, Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus, exhibited 1839, c. Tate

He also made dark, epic paintings, which had great atmosphere, like the below artwork Snow Storm: Hannibal  and his Army Crossing the Alps. Do you prefer his light or dark paintings?

J.M.W Turner, Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps exhibited 1812, c. Tate

J.M.W Turner, Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps, exhibited 1812, c. Tate

Even when he was older, Turner was a radical artist. He painted scenes which commented on the government at the time. He also painted new industries and technology, like ships and trains.

J.M.W Turner, Steamer and Lightship; a study for ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ c.1838–9 c Tate

J.M.W Turner, Steamer and Lightship; a study for ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ c.1838–9 c Tate

What do you think he would paint today to show new technology?

Turner still inspires modern artists. Olafur Eliasson has recently made Turner Colour Experiments which look at the colour and atmosphere in Turner’s paintings. This one is inspired by one of Turner’s first oil paintings, Fishermen at Sea. Can you see the similar colours in both of them? Which one do you prefer? Do they both make you feel the same?

Olafur Eliasson Colour experiment no. 60 2014 © 2013 Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson
Colour experiment no. 60 2014
© 2013 Olafur Eliasson

J.M.W Turner, Fishermen at Sea, exhibited 1796 c. Tate

J.M.W Turner, Fishermen at Sea, exhibited 1796 c. Tate

We are very excited about our new Turner exhibition which opened yesterday at Tate Britain. We have a Discovering Turner game, a Turner Tate Tales and a Tate Create, all just a click away to make your own great Turner-inspired creations. We just think Turner is great! What do you think?

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The final days of summer!

Posted 27 August 2014 by Kat

Brrrr it’s getting colder in London (where I am writing this blog from)! The nights are drawing in and there are a few less trips to the beach and the park in the diary!

I wanted to just say that it’s ok! We’ve had a great summer with the Matisse Family Day (our Matisse exhibition is still open for a few more weeks!) and Tate’s trip to Camp Bestival. Here are some of our snaps!

photo credit. Felicity Crawshaw

photo credit. Felicity Crawshaw

Above is Lorraine Leaves (the lovely lady in the green) who led the workshop on making headpieces about family rituals.

photo credit. Felicity Crawshaw

photo credit. Felicity Crawshaw

photo credit. Felicity Crawshaw

photo credit. Felicity Crawshaw

We used lots of different plants and ferns in the headdresses.

photo credit. Felicity Crawshaw

photo credit. Felicity Crawshaw

Plus plenty of glitter!

photo credit. Felicity Crawshaw

photo credit. Felicity Crawshaw

Looks like a great time and some fantastic creations were made!

We also had a huge Matisse Family Day at Tate Modern with giant fruit, live jazz, collages and lots of drawing!

photo credit: Tate

photo credit: Tate

Mastering the art of doodling!

photo credit: Tate

photo credit: Tate

Fantastic giant collages inspired by the Matisse cut-outs.

photo credit: Tate

photo credit: Tate

Now we are in the final days of summer, what are you doing in your last few days? Have you made any artwork over the summer months? We’d love to see it! Email in your creations to: kids@tate.org.uk

Psssst! It’s not all doom and gloom, there are lots of exciting things coming up in autumn on Tate Kids and all will be revealed in upcoming blog posts! Can’t wait!

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What is…Impressionism?

Posted 22 August 2014 by Kat

I’ve been doing my research and your favourite Tate Kids blog posts are ‘Who is…Henry Moore?’, ‘Who is…Andy Warhol?’ and ‘Who is…Kazimir Malevich?’. It seems you guys are keen to learn more about artists – which is great! – but I was wondering what about art movements?! Don’t start yawning just yet!

I’ve been thinking about ‘isms’! No, I haven’t gone crazy. This is the little word at the end of important movements in art, like Surrealism, Romanticism and Realism. These can all be thought of as particular styles of art at particular points in time. But why are they important? Which artists are in these ‘isms’? What makes them so special?

To start this blog series I’m picking Impressionism! Let’s go!

Impressionism started in France in the 19th Century and it’s all about painting landscapes and scenes of everyday life, like cooking, sleeping and bathing. Artists painted outdoors and ‘on the spot’, rather than in a studio from sketches. As they were outside, they looked at how light and colour changed the scenes. What time of day do you think Monet painted the trees below? What do you think the weather was like?

Poplars on the Epte, Claude Monet, 1891, c Tate

Claude Monet, Poplars on the Epte, 1891, c Tate

These artists were not trying to paint a realistic picture but an ‘impression’ of what the person, object or landscape looked like to them. They often painted thickly and used short brush strokes.

Some of the artists to know!
Claude Monet
Camille Pissarro
Alfred Sisley
Auguste Renoir
Edgar Degas

It wasn’t just in France that Impressionism existed. There was also British Impressionism, like this painting by Philip Wilson Steer. Lots of people didn’t like this style of art and thought it should have been ignored. What do you think?

Philip Wilson Steer, Girls Running, Walberswick Pier, 1888–94 c. Tate

Philip Wilson Steer, Girls Running, Walberswick Pier, 1888–94 c. Tate

Let’s take a closer look at one painting by artist, Alfred Sisley:

Alfred Sisley, The Bridge at Sèvres, 1877 c. Tate

Alfred Sisley, The Bridge at Sèvres, 1877 c. Tate

Don’t you think the weather looks lovely?
Sisley, like the other Impressionists, liked to paint sunlight. He really liked painting this bridge and painted it all the time, from different viewpoints and at different times of day. Could you paint the same scene over and over again? What about painting in the morning and at sunset? How would they look different?

There are lots of people fishing!
At the very moment Sisley was painting, people were just relaxing, strolling and doing normal things. Impressionism was meant to show the simple things in life. Looks nice doesn’t it? Maybe have a look around you when you are next on a walk in a park. Maybe grab a sketch book and draw what people are up to. Are they playing sports? Feeding the ducks? Or just going for a walk with friends?

Have you seen any Impressionist paintings recently? What do you think? Have you tried to make an Impressionist-inspired painting on one of the Tate Kids games? Let me know if there are any other ‘isms’ you’d like me to look at in the comments or email me: kids@tate.org.uk

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The robots are coming…

Posted 12 August 2014 by Kat
After Dark

They’re coming…

Have you ever wished you could have a secret robot alter ego? Or that you could wander around a gallery alone late at night? Well, now you can combine both these fantasies in one as After Dark is launched at Tate Britain!

This week, you can peek through the eyes of four robots who will be roaming the darkened galleries after all the visitors have left. They will be controlled by anyone across the world who logs on through this website.

This Friday 15 August is the best night to get involved, when the robots will be taking a turn about the galleries starting at 7.30pm (between 19.30 BST and 00.30 BST).

This is an amazing chance to control robots roaming around Tate from the comfort of your sofa! If you aren’t lucky enough to control a robot, as we expect they’ll be very popular, you can still tune-in to robot-cam and see what the robots see, and hear what they hear, in the museum after dark!

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TOP 5 SCULPTURES

Posted 8 August 2014 by Kat

What exactly are sculptures? You could think of it as art in 3D (three dimensions)! Sculptures can be made by carving, modelling or placing materials together. They can be made out of stone, wood, clay or any other material the artist wants to use!

Interestingly the artist Lawrence Weiner calls himself a sculptor (someone that makes sculptures), although he mainly make artworks with words on walls. Do you think this is sculpture?

Lawrence Weiner, TIED UP IN KNOTS 1988 © Lawrence Weiner

Lawrence Weiner, TIED UP IN KNOTS 1988 © Lawrence Weiner

So sculpture can be lots of things. It could even be you! I’ve picked my Top 5. What do you think?

5. Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, Edward Degas

Edgar Degas Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, 1880–1, cast c.1922 c. Tate

Edgar Degas, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, 1880–1, cast c.1922 c. Tate

Degas often drew and painted ballet dancers and then he made this sculpture of his favourite ballet student at the Paris Opera. He made her out of bronze and dressed her in silk and made her a tutu. This is one of the most popular artworks at Tate. We’ve even made a film about her!

4. Spring, Dame Barbara Hepworth

Dame Barbara Hepworth Spring 1965, cast 1966 © Bowness, Hepworth Estate

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Spring ,1965, cast 1966 © Bowness, Hepworth Estate

This artwork is called Spring. Dame Barbara Hepworth based many of her sculptures on shapes found in nature. She was inspired by pebbles, shells, cliffs and the sea. She was interested, not only in how a sculpture looks, but how it feels and even how it smells. If this sculpture smelt like spring, what would it smell like?

3. Mobile, Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder, Mobile c.1932, © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2014

Alexander Calder, Mobile, c.1932, © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2014

Imagine Alexander’s Calder’s Mobile gracefully floating above you. He uses primary colours and basic shapes to make his abstract sculptures. Movement was important to Alexander and he loved music and dance. We’re very excited as we have an entire Alexander Calder exhibition coming to Tate next year! Can’t wait!

2. Stack, Tony Cragg

Tony Cragg, Stack, 1975 © DACS 2014

Tony Cragg, Stack, 1975 © DACS 2014

Lots of artists make sculptures out of scrap or found materials. Stack is a perfect example of this. Look at all those layers! That’s a lot of materials in a tight cube! How do you think it was made?

1. Sahara Circle, Richard Long

Richard Long, Sahara Circle, 1988 © Richard Long

Richard Long, Sahara Circle, 1988 © Richard Long

Sahara Circle was made by Richard Long during a very long walk in Algeria. Richard Long makes his art in the landscape using natural materials likes rocks and twigs. He often places his materials in circles or in straight lines. Next time you are on a walk, maybe you could make a sculpture with the materials you find?

Is your favourite in my Top 5? Let me know what your favourite sculpture is in the comments below!

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