Powerful Portraits

Powerful Portraits

Powerful Portraits

Explore powerful portraits through a museum visit or an outreach session delivered in your school.

Powerful Portraits is adaptable for pre-formal, informal, semi-formal and formal curriculum pathways and is designed to develop skills and cultural capital.

This session can support the National Curriculum for Art and Design, Arts Award: Discover and Explore, and the Engagement Model. Sessions are led by SEND specialists, with Makaton support and Widgit symbols where helpful.

We will work with you to tailor the session, which is supported by handling materials and sensory resources.

For students on a pre-formal or informal curriculum pathway, for onsite visits or outreach

Experience a Portrait 

Explore one portrait in depth through shapes, colours, fabrics, and light. Students and staff are empowered to make their own responses to a painting and responses, sounds, and movements can be repeated to strengthen in-the-moment experiences.

  • Experience textures and colourful clothing: try on hats and get wrapped up in fabulous fabrics. Celebrate with a photo opportunity and create new class portraits.
  • Explore facial features with mirrors, touch and soft brushes.
  • Experiment with mark making and create an artwork, working hand over hand with bristly brushes, sponges and pastels.

For students on a semi-formal or formal curriculum pathway, for onsite visits or outreach

We have a range of entry points and recommend exploring 2-3 per session, plus the option of a creative activity.

Entry points include:

What is a Portrait?

  • Compare and contrast portraits in the museum with portraits in familiar contexts, including coins, group photos, and selfies.

Symbol Pairs

  • Work in groups to match symbols with associated ideas.

Body and Expression

  • Consider how poses and expressions can mean different things. How do we know if someone is angry/happy/sad without words?

Art Detectives:

  • Explore portraits linked by a theme, including Power and Royalty, Fame and Celebrity, Symbols and Meanings, People and Faces, Self Portraits.

Creative Activities:

  • Modroc Portraits – many artists use mirrors when creating self-portraits but are there other ways we can get a sense of ourselves? This activity focuses on our sense of touch to create a 3D self-portrait.
  • Locket for a Loved One – miniatures in the form of brooches, pendants and lockets were given as a display of affection or loyalty. Create a miniature self-portrait to give as a gift.

We provide booklets for students to log their museum visit and what they have discovered. These can be continued in school, used in class displays, or taken home.