Pupils from The Paragon School in Bath were delighted to hear that their work will be displayed in the National Gallery in London this summer. Year 4, working with Miss Alexandra Hucks, Head of Art, took part in the Take One Picture Exhibition. The picture, Pintoricchio’s Penelope with the Suitors, which was painted around 1509, was the source of inspiration. Although many schools take part in the Take One initiative, only a few are selected to be displayed. The Paragon is the only school in Bath to be selected.
The eight and nine year olds spent time looking at the themes within the Pintoricchio painting. The children were interested in the image of Penelope weaving and the view of the boat through the window. They identified these two main themes and discussed the idea of voyages and journeys as a lead for the project. The children had lots of ideas about Penelope weaving or stitching a story about the voyage of Odysseus boat, where it had come from, why it was returning home, what the sailors had seen on their travels.
The children also investigated the work of St Ives artist Alfred Wallis and engaged really well with his naive style of painting seascapes. They worked from observation from a range of model boats to create the forms for the ships and sail boats in their own seascapes. Maps of Cornwall were used to collage the backgrounds for the paintings and the children focused on mixing a range of blues for the sea. They had fun naming and recognising places on the maps that they knew and decided that the boats in seascapes they had painted could be traveling to different places on the map.
The idea of sewing a journey was inspired from a discussion on mapping journeys and the aboriginal use of journey lines as a visual record. The children thought it would be fun to connect places on the maps with a woven or stitched line. Many of the children had not sewn before and they enjoyed experimenting with the new technique.
“We learnt about how the importance of the colour blue had been used in the painting of Penelope and we then experimented with mixing shades of blue in our art lessons,” explained Eve, aged 8. “I loved creating a stormy sea using a range of blue shades. I also liked drawing from the model boats my teacher had. The best part was stitching journeys from one place on the map to another.”
The display takes place in the Sunely Room at The National Gallery from Wednesday 9 May until Sunday 12 August. Admission is free.