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Flashcard Activity: Defining Portraiture

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Language Arts And English Age Levels Primary (5 to 8 years old), Elementary (9 to 12 years old)

This collection can be used online or printed out so that each student receives a portrait to examine. In looking closely at their assigned portraits, students might ask questions, such as: Can a portrait be of a character vs. a real person? Does a portrait have to include a person's face? Does the sitter have to know the portrait is being created? What forms can a portrait take? These questions might help them in creating a list of attributes of portraiture. Students can then compare with their classmates and compare and contrast how their lists of characteristics might differ. By first examining one of the portraits in depth and then examining a breadth of portraits together, the class might work together to create a common definition for "portraiture". Students may be interested in comparing their common definition with a National Portrait Gallery curator's take on "Defining Portraiture: How are portraits both fact and fiction?" in the video included at the end of this collection https://learninglab.si.edu/resources/view/60783#more-info

This activity works equally well online or using printed flashcards (see the resource tile). 

Self-Portrait

Smithsonian American Art Museum

George Lucas

National Portrait Gallery

Weegee Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery

Portrait

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Self-Portrait

Smithsonian American Art Museum

George Washington Carver

National Portrait Gallery

Elvis Presley

National Portrait Gallery

George Washington (Lansdowne Portrait)

National Portrait Gallery

Martin Van Buren

National Portrait Gallery

Langston Hughes

National Portrait Gallery

Marian Anderson #1

Smithsonian American Art Museum

César Chávez

National Portrait Gallery

Dolores Huerta

National Portrait Gallery

Two women with spoons on back

National Museum of American History

Medal, Amelia Earhart

National Air and Space Museum

Babe Ruth and other Red Sox pitchers

National Portrait Gallery

Franklin D. Roosevelt

National Portrait Gallery

Eva Longoria

National Portrait Gallery

Hawaiian Air We Are Hawaii

National Air and Space Museum

Men of Progress

National Portrait Gallery

Portrait of a Man

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Portrait of unidentified man

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Isaac Mizrahi: Model in black dress

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Painting of Duke Ellington

National Museum of American History

Clasped Hands of Dr. and Mrs. Allen M. Sumner

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Studio portriat of a baby

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Portrait

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Cherokee Dancer (Portrait of Iron Eyes Cody)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Portrait of Seated Lady

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Portrait of Sarah Cooper Hewitt in French Costume

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Lunch Box

National Museum of American History

Portrait of Man (Back View) n.d

National Anthropological Archives

Edward Penfield Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery

Indian Boy (Joe Archelita)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Self Portrait

National Museum of the American Indian

Joe E. Brown in "Fireman Save My Child"

National Portrait Gallery

Dog lying across two chairs

National Museum of American History

Mold of a Child's Hand

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Faith Ringgold Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery

Self-Portrait

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Tony Hawk

National Portrait Gallery

Alexander J. Cassatt, Equestrian Portrait in Relief [sculpture] / (photographer unknown)

Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Family Portrait

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Self-Portrait

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Cosmonauts Examine Apollo Camera

National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian Staff Skating on the National Mall

Smithsonian Archives - History Div

Gertrude Stein

National Portrait Gallery