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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Children in Art

This gallery focuses on a diverse set of works from the MFA's collection in which children are featured. The tour presents images of children from a wide range of historical time periods and regions- from Ancient Rome to twentieth-century Boston. The images in this gallery encourage students to draw connections and comparisons between various works of art and their own lives.

Grade level: Elementary or General Interest

Learning Goals:

Exploring this gallery, you will discover:

•The artistic representations of children from different places that reflect their cultures and the artistic styles and trends of the day

•Throughout history, children have been represented in art, and how they are portrayed gives clues to how they might have lived, their position in society, and their unfolding stories.

•The way children are painted and sculpted can engender emotions in the observer — often different, unique, and personal.

•The MFA offers a diverse collection of world-class artworks spanning the Ancient World, Europe, and the Americas (including Boston) featuring depictions of young people.

This discovery will require students to:

•Look closely and make visual observations about art

•Express their ideas and share them with their peers

•Contemplate the role of children in society and how it has changed throughout time and across cultures

•Consider the progression of the history of art, especially portraiture and the depiction of people

•Observe the results of an artists’ stylistic choices on the overall effect of a work

•Compare and contrast the lives of children in from diverse eras and regions with their own lives

Using this resource:

•Social Studies teachers will be interested in how the images in this gallery reflect the culture and historical time of a specific moment in history, and how the collection of works together presents a progression though history.

•Language Arts teachers will be interested in potential for personal and creative writing inspired by these intimate images of people in their daily lives and cultural roles.

•Art teachers will be interested in the various styles and media demonstrated in this gallery as well as the distinction between formal portraits and more candid images of everyday life.

The objects in this tour are just a beginning. We encourage you to explore the Museum's online collection through this web resource—or even better, to visit the Museum and walk through the physical galleries—to look for other objects that will provide further insights into the relationship between words and images.

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