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HOMEWORK HELP: PETER BLAKE

Posted 13 May 2015 by Kat

Meet Peter Blake. Do you like his badges?

Peter Blake, Self-Portrait with Badges 1961 © Peter Blake 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

Peter Blake, Self-Portrait with Badges 1961 © Peter Blake 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

There are lots of clues in this self-portrait that tell us about Peter. Which pop star do you think he likes? And where do you think he comes from?

Blake is wearing a denim jacket, jeans and baseball boots in his self-portrait. Lots of people wear clothes like that now, but in the early 1960s only young people in Britain dressed like this.

Peter Blake was born in Kent in 1932 and is sometimes called the Godfather of British Pop Art. This is because he was one of a group of artists in the 1950s who started to paint pictures and make sculptures about the things they liked. Like films, comic books, and pop music. A lot of the things they liked came from America.

Like this painting of the Beach Boys, who were a pop group from California who were very popular at the time. Pop artists also made art about objects that were mass-produced, like Coca-Cola and cornflakes. They wanted to celebrate the things we think of as ordinary and show that they could be art too.

Peter Blake, Beach Boys 1964 © Peter Blake 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

Peter Blake, Beach Boys 1964 © Peter Blake 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

Blake was seen as a radical artist who only painted new things. But actually, his paintings are very traditional and were inspired by artists like Samuel Palmer and William Blake who lived in the 1700s and many of his artworks were based on classical paintings by British artists like the Georgian painter Thomas Gainsborough.

In the late 1960s Peter Blake founded an art group called The Ruralists who wanted to paint pictures about the beauty and magic of everyday life. They left London and moved to the countryside where they hoped to create paintings that were joyful and inventive.

This picture was made while Blake was a Ruralist. It is one of a series of paintings based on Alice’s Adventures of Wonderland, which is a very magical book. All sorts of enchanting things happen to Alice. Blake used his daughter as the model for Alice.

Peter Blake ‘But isn’t it old!’ Tweedledum cried 1970, © Peter Blake 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

Peter Blake ‘But isn’t it old!’ Tweedledum cried 1970, © Peter Blake 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

Blake enjoyed living in the countryside, but he returned to London in 1979 after the Ruralists broke up.

But that didn’t stop him from looking for fantastical things in everyday life. This picture is called ‘I May Not Be a Ruralist Anymore but Today I Saw a Fairy in My Garden in Chiswick’.

What a fantastic name for an artwork! What else could this be called?

We applaud you Peter Blake for taking the ordinary and making is extraordinary!

Peter Blake, I may not be a Ruralist anymore, but this morning I saw a fairy in my garden in Chiswick 2008 © Peter Blake 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

Peter Blake, I may not be a Ruralist anymore, but this morning I saw a fairy in my garden in Chiswick 2008 © Peter Blake 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

PSSSST to all you guys that love Minecraft! We have a very special Minecraft map which includes Peter Blake’s Toyshop – check it out with a grown up and go play! 

What do you think of our homework helps? Have you used them for your homework? How could we make them better? Let us know in the comments below! ;-)

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HOMEWORK HELP: SALVADOR DALI

Posted 6 May 2015 by Kat

Salvador Dalí made paintings, sculptures and films about the dreams he had. He painted melting clocks and floating eyes, clouds that looked like faces and rocks that looked like bodies. Sounds weird right? Think about what your paintings would look like if you painted your dreams? I bet they would be pretty weird too!

Dalí was involved with Surrealism, which is an art movement where painters made dream-like scenes and showed situations that would be bizarre or impossible in real life. Look at his painting below – don’t you think the lake is also the shape of a fish??

Salvador Dalí, Mountain Lake 1938, © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

Salvador Dalí, Mountain Lake 1938, © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

The Surrealist artists were influenced by a man called Sigmund Freud. He was a psychoanalyst, which is the name for a doctor who studies the human mind and tries to understand it. Freud believed our mind was divided into two parts: the conscious part and the unconscious part. The conscious mind is what we use to make decisions everyday, like whether we walk or ride a bike to school. The unconscious mind is where our memories are stored. Most of the time we are not aware of our unconscious mind, but sometimes the memories stored there get mixed up in our dreams and this is what Dalí tried to paint.

Dalí was born in 1904 in Figueres, Spain which is near the Pyrenees Mountains. Surrounded by this landscape as he was growing up, Dalí often included the scenery he saw as a boy in his paintings. Below is one of his paintings. Can you see the Spanish landscape in the background? The hand holding the egg mirrors the man sitting in the water. There are a lot of odd things going on in the background that don’t seem to be connected. What else can you see?

Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus, 1937. © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus, 1937. © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

Salvador Dalí was a very eccentric man. Here is a picture of him…

Salvador Dalí on the set of the film Spellbound Source: BFI Image Rights of Salvador Dali reserved. Fundación Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, 2007

Salvador Dalí on the set of the film Spellbound
Source: BFI
Image Rights of Salvador Dali reserved. Fundación Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, 2007

You can always recognise him because he has a funny moustache. He liked to dress in flamboyant clothes and have long hair which people found very shocking at the time. Dalí was even expelled from art school just before his final exams because he said that none of the teachers were qualified to examine him. Cheeky!

After he left art school he went to Paris where he met the Surrealists. The Surrealists appealed to his wild sense of humour, they invented surrealist games and enjoyed putting different objects together to make something playful and disturbing at the same time. Here is Dalí’s version of a surrealist sculpture. It is called Lobster Telephone. You couldn’t call anything on that! What two objects could you put together which would be as surreal as this?

Salvador Dalí, Lobster Telephone 1936, © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

Salvador Dalí, Lobster Telephone 1936, © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

In 1936 the Spanish Civil War broke out and Dalí was greatly affected by it. Here is Dalí’s painting about the war.

Salvador Dalí, Autumnal Cannibalism 1936, © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

Salvador Dalí, Autumnal Cannibalism 1936, © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

The background is mainly brown, yellow and black, representing the Spanish landscape. The strange forms in the foreground represent a man and a woman. It’s pretty gross, but they are eating bits of each other’s flesh with a knife, a fork and a spoon. Dalí is actually saying something very simple with this painting; that by fighting, the Spanish people are destroying their country and each other.

When Dalí was in Paris he also made a film with the director Luis Buñuel called Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog). It was the first surrealist film and had no plot, just a series of scenes that only slightly link together. Later, Dalí went to Hollywood and worked on other films with famous directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Walt Disney.

Dalí liked to use lots of different materials to make art, including paint, sculpture and film. He even designed furniture, jewels and scenery for theatre production. He was a man of many talents and he is still seen as one of the great artists who influences many artists today!

What do you think of Dalí’s artwork? Is it funny, weird, scary? Let us know in the comments below!

Could you make a surreal drawing on one of the Tate Kids games? What would you draw?…

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HOMEWORK HELP: PABLO PICASSO

Posted 30 April 2015 by Kat

Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous artist of the twentieth-century. Why? Because he was brilliant at drawing. Yeah people really loved his doodles. What do you think of the drawing below? Look at his use of colour…how many colours can you see? What objects are in the picture?

Pablo Picasso, Composition, 1948, © Succession Picasso/DACS 2015

Pablo Picasso, Composition, 1948, © Succession Picasso/DACS 2015

Even as a child he was better at drawing than many adults. He could draw and paint just about anything, and in any style. He liked to experiment and try out new ideas, which is important if you are an artist, because the world is always changing. Picasso helped us see the world in new ways.

Picasso was so experimental, and created so many different kinds of art that historians have divided his life into periods; the Blue period, the Rose period, Primitivism, Cubism, Classicalism and Surrealism, Wartime and Late works.

One of his most famous periods is the Cubist period. This is when the artist paints an object, like a bottle, from lots of different angles all in the same picture. So you see the front, the back and the sides of the bottle. In a way, it’s a bit like having Xray eyes.

Pablo Picasso, Bowl of Fruit, Violin and Bottle 1914. © Succession Picasso/DACS 2015

Pablo Picasso, Bowl of Fruit, Violin and Bottle 1914. © Succession Picasso/DACS 2015

Picasso was born in Malaga in Spain in 1881, but in 1904, when he was 23 he moved to Paris. This is because Paris was the capital of the avant-garde, which means cutting-edge and very cool. Picasso became friends with lots of artists and writers, like Georges Braque who invented Cubism and a writer called Gertrude Stein who tried writing a cubist book. He became interested in art from other continents too. You can see some of these influences in his paintings. Look how expressive this artwork is!

Pablo Picasso, The Three Dancers 1925, © Succession Picasso/DACS 2015

Pablo Picasso, The Three Dancers 1925, © Succession Picasso/DACS 2015

In 1937 the Spanish Civil War broke out. This pictures is called The Weeping Woman, and it was painted in protest to the bombing of a town called Guernica. The woman is crying, but her face is all mixed up. This is because it is a cubist painting. If you look closely you can see that Picasso has painted both the front of the woman’s face and the side of her face. Hold your hand up to the picture and cover the left side of her face. Can you see that she is now in profile? Picasso was trying to show us what pain and unhappiness looks like, but he has also painted hope. The woman’s right ear has turned into a bird that is drinking her tears away and there is a pretty flower in her hat, showing us that new life is just round the corner.

Pablo Picasso, Weeping Woman 1937 © Succession Picasso/DACS 2015

Pablo Picasso, Weeping Woman 1937 © Succession Picasso/DACS 2015

What do you think of Pablo’s work? If you were to draw a portrait of your best friend in the style of Picasso how would it look? Why not have a go on one of the Games?

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HOMEWORK HELP: J.M.W TURNER

Posted 21 April 2015 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.

There is a famous story about Turner that he once had himself tied to the mast of a ship during a very bad storm so that he could experience what it was like to have the waves crashing about him. No one really knows if this is true, but we like the story because Turner was such an extraordinary artist it sounds just the sort of thing he would do.

Now the reason Turner was so extraordinary was because he liked to paint ‘plein air’, which means out in the open. Which was unusual, because in Turner’s day, artists painted in their studios. Turner would take his paints and his canvas and paint what he saw. He did this at different times of the day and in all weathers. He painted sunrises, sunsets, mist, rain and snow. Which is why he is sometimes called the painter of light. He wanted to experience the terrible beauty of nature. And it is for this reason he is known as a Romantic artist.

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 have a Discovering Turner game 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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HOMEWORK HELP: BRIDGET RILEY

Posted 14 April 2015 by Kat

Have a look at this painting. Does it make your eyes feel funny?

Bridget Riley, Fall, 1963, © Bridget Riley

Bridget Riley, Fall, 1963, © Bridget Riley

When Bridget Riley first exhibited her black and white abstract paintings in the 1960s, people were amazed at how they seemed to move. It was like she was painting with electricity and the patterns were live wires!

This style of painting is known as Op art, which is when the artist overlaps colours and patterns to make an optical illusion. This can make it look like its moving when you move!

Bridget Riley was born in 1931 in London, but when World War II broke out, she left the city and moved to Cornwall. She would walk along the coastline and explore the caves where she would sit and watch the reflections in rock pools. She also liked looking at the sea and how the light made it change colour during the day.

In 1960, she went to Venice where she saw sculptures by the Italian artist Umberto Boccioni. Here is one of his sculptures.

Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space 1913, cast 1972.  c. Tate

Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space 1913, cast 1972. c. Tate

Riley wanted to make paintings that had curves like Boccioni’s sculptures, like this one here.

Bridget Riley, Fragment 2/10 1965 © Bridget Riley 2014. All rights reserved, courtesy Karsten Schubert, London

Bridget Riley, Fragment 2/10 1965 © Bridget Riley 2014. All rights reserved, courtesy Karsten Schubert, London

She also started experimenting with colour, mixing warm and cold colours together, like red and blue, in order to make the paintings vibrant. She travelled to many different countries, like Egypt and India, and looked closely at the way the artists in those countries used colour. She was interested in the way hot countries used very bright colours to stop them fading in the sun.

This painting is called Nataraja and is inspired by a trip she made to India. Nataraja means Lord of the Dance, and refers to the Hindu god Shiva.

Bridget Riley, Nataraja 1993. © Bridget Riley 2014. All rights reserved, courtesy Karsten Schubert, London

Bridget Riley, Nataraja 1993. © Bridget Riley 2014. All rights reserved, courtesy Karsten Schubert, London

She thought this painting looked a bit like a dance too, with its diagonal lines and bright colours. Do you think it does? The composition of the painting is quite simple, just a lot of rectangles, but sometimes the simplest things can seem complex.

What do you think of Riley’s work? Do you think you could make some Op Art in Spin or Tate Paint?

Let us know in the comments! :)

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