Gilded Age Industrialists v. The Founding Fathers Portrait Battle (and Analysis)
This collection/lesson is designed to compare and evaluate portraiture of Gilded Age Industrialists and of the Founding Fathers. Students will explore different mediums of portraiture and attempt to place these examples of artwork into the legacy that Gilded Age Industrialists hoped to create for themselves. This lesson plan involves close analysis of specific portraits of Andrew Carnegie, a sorting activity, a Google Doc graphic organizer to help students inquire information, and some overarching discussion and analysis questions to help foster class discourse. Each of the sources used in this collection are owned by the National Portrait Gallery, and many - as of 6/27/19 - are currently on display. Some questions to consider as you and/or your students peruse this collection: What does it mean to have a legacy? How are portraiture and legacy connected or related to each other? Why, in an era when photography is en vogue, would an individual choose to have a painting done of them? What would you want a portrait of you to look like?
Lesson Overview: (See Collection or the link below for Full Google Doc Lesson Plan)
CLASS (SUBJECT & LEVEL): High School American History - for an 80 minute block
- Students will closely analyze Gilded Age industrialist portraits in both painting and photograph formats, attempting to understand the legacy that these leaders were trying to create for themselves in the future.
- Students will compare and contrast portrayals of Gilded Age industrialists and the Founding Fathers.
- Students will argue different ideas about portraiture in U.S. History and reach their own conclusions.
CONTENT: Gilded Age Industrialists, Founding Fathers, Portraits and Photos, Source Analysis
This collection was created in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 2019 Learning to Look Summer Teacher Institute.
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