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Collisions in Portraiture

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Social Studies +1 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

Collisions in Portraiture highlights the ways in which artists and sitters use portraiture to reveal what happens when cultures collide. By analyzing portraiture, students will consider how cultural collisions are visualized from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries. Students will explore the powerful contributions to the history and culture of the United States through portraiture.

Objectives: After completing this lesson, students will be better able to: 

  • Examine how modern and contemporary artists use portraiture to reveal aspects of a sitter’s individual, community/cultural, and national identity. 
  • Identify key components of a portrait and discuss what one can learn about the sitter through these components. 
  • Discuss the artistic choices that portrait artists make and consider how such decisions can reveal the artists’ viewpoints and also influence the viewers’ understanding of the sitters’ identity. 
  • Use the museum’s collection as a gateway to investigating and exploring of the visualization of colliding cultures.

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Keywords

Portraiture, Collisions, Harriet Tubman, Civil War, Stonewall, Roger Shimomura, Chief Joseph, Robert Rauschenberg, United Farm Workers

Harriet Tubman

National Portrait Gallery

Harriet Tubman

National Portrait Gallery

Carte-de-visite portrait of Harriet Tubman

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Chief Joseph

National Portrait Gallery

Chief Joseph

National Portrait Gallery

Chief Joseph

National Portrait Gallery

Signs

National Portrait Gallery

Janis Joplin

National Portrait Gallery

Robert F. Kennedy

National Portrait Gallery

John F. Kennedy

National Portrait Gallery

Martin Luther King, Jr.

National Portrait Gallery

Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin

National Portrait Gallery

Larry Kramer

National Portrait Gallery

The Return to Aztlan

National Portrait Gallery

César Chávez

National Portrait Gallery

Dolores Huerta

National Portrait Gallery

Zapata's Stables

Alfredo Arreguin

Non-Violent Action of UFWOC AFL-CIO

National Museum of American History

Boycott Grapes--Viva La Causa

National Museum of American History

Shimomura Crossing the Delaware

National Portrait Gallery

Collisions in Art

Nicole Vance

Super Buddahead

National Portrait Gallery

American Pikachu

Roger Shimomura​​

American Hello Kitty

Roger Simomura

Roger Shimomura

Archives of American Art