Possible Classroom Concepts: Science– Engineering (Kinds of Bridges)
Social Studies – Countries Around the World (France, Japan)
Possible Art Concepts: Art History – Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Ukieyo-e prints
Classifications of Paintings – Landscapes, Cityscapes, Media – Painting, Printmaking
In my last post, I talked about bridges and storytelling. While researching bridge artworks, I noticed a recurring theme. Impressionists/ Post Impressionists, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley loved their bridges and painted not only one kind of bridge but varying types of bridges. This can easily be explained. The Impressionists were shunning the traditions of the past. Traditional artists painted history and mythological paintings. The Impressionists wanted to paint everyday people and modern life. They went out to the countryside and into the city and painted what they saw. There they would see both the old cart/foot bridges and the newly built train bridges. It makes sense that they would include them in their paintings.
Wouldn’t it be great fun to include some of these paintings as part of an introduction to, a review of or as part of an assessment of different kinds of bridges. I was thinking that the teacher could either make a powerpoint of some examples or print out reproductions of Impressionist train paintings. Students could then identify the arched , beam, draw and suspension bridges. Yes, there were draw bridges and suspension bridges way back in the late 1800s.
Side Note: An art teacher friend shared with me recently that Leonardo da Vinci designed a suspension bridge way back in the 1400s. Check out information about it here along with some of his other inventions.
Okay, back to business. I prefer the reproduction cards, so students could also categorize the paintings in other ways. (i.e. by artist, by bridge)
These artists tended to paint the same bridge over and over. Monet would paint a bridge at different times of day or in different kinds of atmospheric conditions. In the past, I talked about Monet painting in all kinds of weather here. Pissarro also painted different atmospheric conditions. All of them painted the same bridges from different points of view. Which Impressionist painted the most bridges? Here are Impressionist bridge paintings that I found. Simply click on their title to see them. I wasn’t kidding when I said they liked to paint bridges, so pick and choose which paintings best match your curriculum.
Vincent Van Gogh’s Pont du Carrousel with Louvre
Claude Monet’s Le Pont de Bois
Alfred Sisley’s The Bridge at Moret at Sunset
Alfred Sisley’s The Bridge at St Cloud
Alfred Sisley’s The Bridge at Argenteuil
Alfred Sisley’s Under the Bridge at Hampton Court
Alfred Sisley’s The Bridge at Saint-Mammès This bridge is half arched and half beamed.
Camille Pissarro’s Little Bridge on Voisne, Osny
Camille Pissarro’s Pont Royal and the Pavillon De Flore
Claude Monet’s Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil
Claude Monet’s The Grande Creuse at Pont de Vervy
Vincent Van Gogh’s The Bridge at Trinquetaille
Vincent Van Gogh’s Bridges across the Seine at Asnières This painting also shows an arched bridge in the background. This painting is also featured in the new movie, Loving Vincent, which is animated totally with paintings. A beautiful tribute to Van Gogh.
Vincent Van Gogh’s Railroad Bridge Over Avenue Montmajour This painting is also in Loving Vincent!
Vincent Van Gogh’s The Promenade With the Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil
Camille Pissarro’s Charing Cross Bridge, London, 1890
Camille Pissarro’s Old Chelsea Bridge, London 1871
Camille Pissarro’s The Railway Bridge, Pontoise There is also an arched bridge in the background.
Alfred Sisley’s The Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne
Students could also draw/paint their own bridge example to show their understanding of bridge types. Simply write down the different kinds of bridges on slips of paper, have students choose one and draw the basic characteristics on a piece of paper. Students could then follow blogger, Art With Mr. Hall’s lesson, that can be found here. This is a great way to assess visual learners.
Before I close, I’d like to talk about one more influence on Impressionists/ Post Impressionists. It was the Japanese. Yes, I said the Japanese. At this point in time, all things Japanese, including Ukieyo-e prints were very popular in Paris. This Japanese influence was called Japonism. Blogger, www. Art Smarts for Kids.com, explains Japonism very well here. Many artists owned Ukieyo-e prints, especially Monet and Van Gogh. Van Gogh copied his own version of Hiroshige’s Sudden Shower over Shin-Ōhashi bridge and Atake.
Monet went a step further and built a Japanese arched bridge similar to Hiroshige’s “Wisteria at Kameido Tenjin Shrine” #65 (seen above left) on his property at Giverny. Monet’s painting, The Japanese Footbridge , is probably one of his most recognizable works. Another bridge art project you could do with your students is a styrofoam print. See steps below.
For more bridge art examples, check out my Pinterest page here.
So, if you are studying different kinds of bridges, why not let the Impressionists help you out? What do you think? I’d love to hear. Simply click on the post’s title and scroll down to the comment section. If you like what you’ve seen here, please feel free to toss me a “like” or better still become a follower.
Thanks so much for reading. Hope you’ll stop by again real soon!