- Although the painting is Victorian, the costumes and architecture relate to earlier times; it was an historical painting harking back to the 16th century. The costumes and architecture are used to set the context the painting. Look at the concept of time and history, linking to some of the attainment targets present in the history programme of study.
- The extravagance of the clothing that some of the guests are wearing suggests great wealth. Examine the different types of clothing and other accessories evident in the painting to understand the differences in social standing amongst the guests and staff. Compare this to what people would wear today if they wanted to demonstrate great wealth, with links to the history programme of study.
- Ask the children to re-appropriate the painting by updating either to the Victorian period (when the painting was made) and/or to a modern day setting. This could be part of a design technology project whereby children produce pieces of clothing appropriate to the era. The end result could be documented and presented through the use of digital photography and graphic design incorporating ICT.
- There is a clever use of perspective as demonstrated by the way the floor tiles have been depicted to give an illusion of space. Look at other Artistic Movements that also have championed three-dimensional depictions of the world and compare to the works of other artists who in contrast, have chosen to depict the world stylistically different. What are these artists trying to achieve in their different approaches? Links with art and design.
- On the curtain hanging behind the hosts, is the family coat of arms. Look at the history of Heraldry; compare to the use of logos today. Ask children to design their own family Coat of Arms, linking art and design.
- Look at the use of performance, staging and dance in the painting with links to physical education and drama.
- Devise character’s back stories: what interesting stories do the characters have to tell the viewer? Children have a number of characters to choose from: the dancer, the soldier, the musicians and even the monkey. Linking to English.
- What moment in time is the painting capturing? Ask the children to look for clues. It is clearly a banquet, but where is the food? Has the food already been eaten? If so, has the dancer appeared as part of the after dinner festivities? Ask the children to devise stories based on what happened to the guests before or after they attended the banquet. Ideas could be generated through hot seating and role play with links to English but also incorporating drama.
- Ask children what food may be have been presented and eaten at the banquet. Look at the history of food presentation. Ask the children to devise a menu for the banquet: perhaps cook some of the dishes that would have been served, linking to science.
- When looking at the painting in the context of the gallery, the frame of the painting can be as impressive as the painting itself. Encourage children to think about frames and the effects that a frame can have on an image. As the children to make their own frames and encourage the children to look at the world around them through their frame. Do people and places look different? What do they choose to frame? Linking to art and design.
- Think about the music that is being played. Listen to different types of music and ask the children to decide which type of music is the most appropriate. Look at the musical instruments.
- Look at the mathematical tasks that the artist has undertaken such as: tessellation, angles (in the pillars and columns), height, weight, depth, symmetry and perspective. Perhaps try some co-ordinates based on the painting.
- Look at the geographical and geological setting of the painting: what is the weather like? How do we know this? What type of plants are growing?
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