Yves Tanguy, Through Birds,
through Fire, but Not through Glass
How would you describe the mood of this painting? How does it
make you feel? How is that mood created? In what way is this painting
an expression of the inner word of the artist?
Do any of these objects look:
- as if they are covering something else?
- as if they are very far away?
- as if they are mechanical?
- as if they might be from an animal of some kind?
- as if you could eat them?
What do you think inspired Tanguy to create a painting like this?
Do you think these objects are real? If the artist has never really
seen them, how can he paint them?
Tanguy gave this painting a title that sounds like a riddle: Through
Birds, through Fire, but Not through Glass. What do you think
the title means? Can you find any clues in the painting which might
help solve the mystery of this strange title? Do you see any birds,
glass, or fire? Could you pass through any parts of the painting?
| ART ACTIVITY
Let It Flow!
Surrealists such as Tanguy wanted to utilize the subconscious in their
artwork through the use of a technique called "automatism."
Do a drawing using this technique, letting lines flow and trying not
to control where your hand moves on the paper. When you are done,
look at your drawing: Do you see any recognizable forms? Give your
drawing a title.
| LANGUAGE ARTS ACTIVITY
Write a story about the place pictured in Tanguy's painting. Will
your story be science fiction, adventure, romance, biography? Who
are the inhabitants of this strange land? What do they look like?
What do they think?
| MUSIC ACTIVITY
Instruments of the Imagination
Imagine Tanguy's image is a musical instrument. What kinds of sounds
would it make? Do you think it would be a wind, percussion, or string
instrument? What kind of music would you play? Write a piece of music
to be played on this instrument. Keep in mind the appearance of the
forms and the mood of the painting as you write your music.
- Incredible Inventions
Have you ever seen ads on television for amazing new gadgets that
do incredible, useful things? Study Tanguy's form in the painting
carefully. What could it be used for? What kind of amazing new
gadget might it be?
Construct an amazing new gadget of your own. How will you construct
it? Will it have moving parts? What kind of energy will be needed
to power it?
- Geology for Dreamers
Tanguy studied unusual rock formations as inspiration for his
surreal landscapes. Research unusual rock formations throughout
the world. Study them and do a surreal landscape
painting based on the formations. (Ideas: dolmens, stalactites,
stalagmites, geodes, Grand Canyon, the Badlands in South Dakota,
Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.)
of creating a work of art without the use of thought or the conscious
painting, drawing, or other depiction of natural scenery.
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