Heartfelt/Handmade Activities: Genre Painting
Purpose: To help the students understand how genre paintings were composed, how gentlemen
farmers of the 19th century lived in Illinois, and relate genre to life today in our own neighborhood.
Illinois State Museum Web site used: http://www.museum.state.il.us/vrmuseum/muslink/art/htmls/
Objectives: After studying the
period and viewing the web site, the
student will be able to tell the
characteristics of a genre painting,
tell what activities would be
happening on an Illinois farm in the
1850s, and compose a painting
illustrating everyday activities
today as a genre painting.
Grade Levels: K-8
Time Required: two 50-60 minute
Materials: drawing paper
painting paper
paint of your choice
Motivation: Discuss with the class what they have learned about farming in 19th century Illinois,
or your area. Brainstorm to compile a list or idea web of plants and crops, animals, people, clothing,
jobs, games, duties, buildings and their styles, and transport of that time. Compare these activities
with what activities go on now in a household and its surroundings. Emphasize that the painter
wants to show as many of these activities as possible going on at the same time. Tell the students
that they will be composing a "modern" genre painting.
Talk about how this type of painting can help us find out a little about life in the nineteenth century.
Compare several genre paintings you find online or in art or history resources. What similarities in
lifestyle are there among the paintings? What differences? What causes these differences? (climate,
ethnic background, time period, economic means).
Students decide what their scene will look like and make a list of the people, animals,
objects, and landscape they want to include in their painting.
Heartfelt/Handmade Activities - Genre Painting,
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