Trying out the Rommelpot. Staged Photos from the UK

I receive the newsletter of The National Gallery, London each month and the May issue had some information on their annual project for young school children called Take One. Every year the NG chooses a picture from their collection and teachers and pupils across the UK are then asked to be inspired by the picture in their lessons. Cross-curicular work as they call it. The products of this will be viewed by the Gallery officials and a selection will be exhibited. It could be pictures the children painted, poems they wrote, videos, photos, sculpture, etc.

How about these marvellous cheetahs by the children of Saint Nicholas Junior School, Bath:

Inspired by Bacchus and Ariadne (1521-23) by Titian:
Bacchus & Ariadne

Wonderful. But what caught my eye in the first place was a staged photo. And as you know Marie and I are always trying to be on the ball about staged photos. This year the National Gallery handed out a painting by the Dutch painter Jan Molenaer (1610-1668):

Two Boys and a Girl making Music
Two Boys and a Girl making Music, 1629

And here is the most hilarious staged photo – isn’t it precious?

Children from the Bishop Tufnell Infant School.

If you go here you can read more on this year’s picture, the exhibition and watch a nice little film about the children participating.

Last year the picture was Pierre Mignard’s Marquise de Seignelay and Two of her Sons, 1691.

Marquise de Seignelay and Two of her Sons

And here’s another staged photo – an updated version showing a father with his two daughters. I think it is very touching.

Seems like a very good project. Once again the Brits beat the rest of us at reaching children with art.



May 4, 2007. Art, Staged photos.


  1. confidentialattachees replied:

    What a great project! I love it. And those chairs that one of the classes did (as seen in the video)? Totally Robert Wilson!!

    I like it that they invite the children to be so randomly inspired by art, and to associate so freely. What I regret the most about my own early education when it came to art, was that this point was lost to me most of the time, this of art essentially being whatever what you want it to be – whatever you make of it. When I was in primary school, what my teachers would usually do was that they would present us to Monet’s water lillies (always with the water lillies!! What is up with that?? Surely more inspired and interesting works of art have been made?), and then make us look at them up close and realise that part of the genius of Monet was that he was able to depict his impression of his motif, rather than simply reproduce it in art. Which, ok, cool thing. But it always left me with the feeling that art was something esoteric that grown-ups possessed the power to explain to me, and not that it was something that I, as an individual, might approach myself and deal with my own way.

    It’s so great to see that the practise of education and pedagogy is improved all the time. Hurrah for National Gallery, London! And for the children, for being so resourceful and bright.


  2. confidentialattachees replied:

    I really do believe the educational departments of British art galleries (and other museums) have been ahead of the rest of Europe for many years. They are the champs. Fortunately we are learning. Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen has just opened an exhibition that supports exactly that idea – that art is what you make of it and that art is made out of imagination. The exhibition is for the 6-12-year-olds and is called 2+2=7.
    In school 7 is the wrong answer, but when it comes to art this may be much more correct than 4.
    The calculation also refers to the items in the exhibition being collages of every kind. Go here to see more.

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