Master Collection activity 15: Christ and the Fishermen
Understanding of how artists use perspective lines and position figures to draw the eye and focus attention on the most important elements of a painting.
KS1-2 Art (understanding perspective, and identifying the focal point of a painting)
Explore the painting Christ and the Fishermen on the interactive whiteboard with the whole class. See Learn with Objects Master Collection 15: Christ and the fishermen. Ask the following questions:
- Where do the lines meet on this sketch?
- Who is the main focus in the drawing?
- Is this the finished painting?
- Are the lines meant to be part of the finished picture?
Constructing a composition:
- Explore with pupils the way the artist has constructed the composition with perspective lines converging at the centre, and where he has placed his figures in relation to the lines. Discuss where it places the emphasis in the story.
- Although Jesus is not at the centre, our eyes are drawn to him through the fishermen’s focus on Jesus, and their hand gestures as well as their feet. By placing Jesus on the left and walking out of the picture, though turned inwards, the artist draws our attention to follow Jesus to the next episode of the story.
- Ask pupils to draw real or imaginary lines on images of drawings and paintings to determine where the central focus lies and how the artist has placed other things around it. Ask them to look for geometrical patterns in compositional construction.
Compare the appearance of the fishermen in this drawing with the pictures of real fishermen by Dura and Prout. See Learn with Objects Master Collection 5: fishing.
- Are these fishermen believable? What signifies that at least one is a fisherman?
- Why might the artist have dressed his figures the way he or she has?
Ask children to write a story based on the drawing. Topics could include:
- What are the three figures on the right (the fishermen) thinking?
- What are the figures behind Jesus thinking?
- What happened immediately before this scene? How has the fishing expedition gone?
- What happens next?
Ask pupils to compose a picture using real or imaginary lines leading in to a central focus point (inspired by the techniques used by the artist in Christ and the Fishermen).
- Who’s the centre of attention and why?
- And who’s looking in from the periphery?
Learn with Objects links
Use Learn with Objects Master 15: Christ and the Fishermen