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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.

Self-Portraits: Identity, Emotion and Symbolism

Self-Portraits: Identity, Emotion and Symbolism.
This gallery explores a wide variety of self-portraits that display identity through symbolism, line, color and emotion.

Questions to Generate Student Reflection:

-What do you see?

-What do you wonder?
-How does the artist use color and line to convey emotion?

-How does the artist use symbols to express identity?

-Does a self-portrait have to be realistic and look exactly like the person?

Field Trip Scavenger Hunt:

-What artist used animals as symbols to express her identity?

-What artist was fascinated by magic and the circus?

-What artist used a flag to express her identity? What country is the
flag from?

-What artists included other people in his/her self-portrait?

-Which artist used her family tree to show her identity?

-Which artist used photography and a silhouette to show their identity?

-Which artist is looking at himself in a mirror?

-What are some emotions that you feel from looking at these self
portraits? Why?

-Choose 2-3 self-portraits and discuss how the backgrounds tell a
story about the artist. There are no wrong answers.

Enduring Understandings:

Art conveys mood and emotion with lines, shapes and colors.

Artists are inspired by personal experiences.

Essential Questions

How is feeling or mood conveyed visually?

Where do artists get their ideas?