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Presidential Backgrounds as Portraiture

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Visual Arts +1 Age Levels Primary (5 to 8 years old), Elementary (9 to 12 years old)

In this collection, I take a look at the objects and the atmospheric space as the major components to portraiture as opposed to the figure.  This approach allows the participants to draw conclusions of the subject when no prior knowledge may be known of the subjects themselves. This activity tests the viewer to first look beyond the traditional portrait and begin to have a conversation about the setting and the situation that the portrait holds. 

Portraits with multifaceted backgrounds with objects are most effective when using this strategy. Thus, the rationale that the 44 portraits in Americans President’s is used for this collection, not everyone knows everything there is to know about the Presidents of the United States of America but this collection will give viewers a snapshot of their lives in a particular moment. 

 The five Presidents highlighted in this particular collection are: George Washington, Martin Van Buren, Grover Cleveland, Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama


Bryan Hill

George Washington (Lansdowne Portrait)

National Portrait Gallery

Martin Van Buren, (painting)

Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums

Grover Cleveland

National Portrait Gallery

Herbert Hoover

National Portrait Gallery

John F. Kennedy

National Portrait Gallery