Other Question

This is a unit assessment for an ethnic studies class. There is a lot of material i need to attach, I will provide all the links and material to help you out. PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS OF THE ASSIGNMENT CAREFULLY. I will also provide previous feedback from assessment to help you out.

4 Peer Mentor Companion: Chapter 3 & 4 Student’s Name Professor’s Name


Peer Mentor Companion: Chapter 3 & 4

Student’s Name

Professor’s Name

Institution Affiliation


Due Date

Peer Mentor Companion

Chapter 3

Chapter three of the “Peer Mentor Companion” is introduced by a case study of a student named Josh. Josh is feeling burdened by the fact that his father intends to divorce his mother, only that the mother does not know. His father requires that Josh should not tell anyone, including his mother, until the time is ‘right.’ As time goes, both parents are complaining about each other to Josh, burdening him more (Sanft et al., 2007). He is angry, particularly to his father, for putting him in that situation. Chapter three highlights the roles of a mentor among college students. It emphasizes that college students go through hardship that requires supports from mentorship. Among the roles of mentors as highlighted in this book include being a trusted friend, being able to connect link, learning coach, advocating for student’s well-being, and being a peer leader. The chapter also highlights various strategies that a mentor needs to implement to attain the qualities that will help him play the roles mentioned above.

I will strive to be a trusted friend to my peers by creating an impactful first impression of my smiling and being warm towards my pers. In addition, I will become a good listener by using body movements such as nodding and asking questions. I will also develop charisma, courtesy, gratitude, and become confident and enthusiastic. I will also become a connecting link through identifying meaningful activities to my peers and introducing them, participating in college activities, understanding the dynamics of college, and be aware of the available opportunities. In the effort to become a learning coach, I will become aware of the learning styles, develop run study groups, schedule time for monitoring, create and set goals, and make necessary presentations where need. I will also become a student advocate through knowing people on the campus and exercise and promote ethical characters.

Chapter 4

The fourth chapter of “Peer Mentor Companion” talks about “Establishing and Maintaining Relationships.” The chapter is introduced with a case study of a girl named Renee. Renee is a fresh-men in college, popular, smartly dressed, and bright. She had an argument with her parents, who kicked her out. She has been missing her classes regularly and looks tired and untidy. Chapter four of the book highlights some of the things that make the relationships with mentors unique (Sanft et al., 2007). The chapter relates the uniqueness of mentors’ relationship with attributes such as showing enthusiasm, showing empathy, being initiative, and sharing personal experiences. The chapter also discusses stages of mentorship, which include knowing who I am? Why am I where I am? Where am I going? Am I there yet? Answering these questions will help me to identify my stage of mentoring.

From the content I have learned in this chapter, I will strive to establish a unique relationship with my peers through getting to know each other through activities such as ice breaking, getting in contact with my peers and keeping in touch through emails and class, taking pictures together, sharing with my peers about our interests, among other activities. Also, to establish a unique relationship, I will adhere to some basic but important rules such as honesty, maintaining boundaries, showing commitment, maintaining confidentiality, and expectations. In addition, I will be available and willing to help my peers, sharing my contact information, connect my peers with various activities, and refer my peers to the resources necessary. A mentor should be a goal-oriented person. I will give my relationship with my peers a sense of direction through defining specific goals, keeping records of my peers’ goals, and being respectful.


Sanft, M., McMurray, E. L., & Jenkins, M. (2007). Peer mentor companion. Houghton Mifflin Company.[supanova_question]

19th Century Art Part 3—Impressionism Claude Monet, Impression Sunrise, 1872, oil on

19th Century Art Part 3—Impressionism

Claude Monet, Impression Sunrise, 1872, oil on canvas, 48 x 63 cm (Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris). This painting was exhibited at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874.

After reading the below essay on Impressionism, be able to identify 4 reasons why Impressionists were ground-breaking!  Be able to explain why your 4 reasons are ground-breaking.  Then, be able to take one impressionist work from this reading and explain, specifically, how it aligns with the 4 reasons you identified.  

Apart from the salon

The group of artists who became known as the Impressionists did something ground-breaking in addition to painting their sketchy, light-filled canvases: they established their own exhibition. This may not seem like much in an era like ours, when art galleries are everywhere in major cities, but in Paris at this time, there was one official, state-sponsored exhibition—called the Salon—and very few art galleries devoted to the work of living artists. For most of the nineteenth century then, the Salon was the only way to exhibit your work (and therefore the only way to establish your reputation and make a living as an artist). The works exhibited at the Salon were chosen by a jury—which could often be quite arbitrary. The artists we know today as Impressionists—Claude Monet, August Renoir, Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, Alfred Sisley (and several others)—could not afford to wait for France to accept their work. They all had experienced rejection by the Salon jury in recent years and felt that waiting an entire year between exhibitions was too long. They needed to show their work and they wanted to sell it.

Edgar Degas, The Ballet Class, 1871-1874, oil on canvas, 75 x 85 cm (Musée d’Orsay, Paris)

The artists pooled their money, rented a studio that belonged to the photographer Nadar, and set a date for their first collective exhibition. They called themselves the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Printmakers and their first show opened at about the same time as the annual Salon in May 1874. The Impressionists held eight exhibitions from 1874 through 1886.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Bal du moulin de la Galette, 1876, oil on canvas, 131 x 175 cm (Musée d’Orsay, Paris)

The impressionists regarded Manet as their inspiration and leader in their spirit of revolution, but Manet had no desire to join their cooperative venture into independent exhibitions. Manet had set up his own pavilion during the 1867 World’s Fair, but he was not interested in giving up on the Salon jury. He wanted Paris to come to him and accept him—even if he had to endure their ridicule in the process.

Lack of finish

Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Sisley had met through classes. Berthe Morisot was a friend of both Degas and Manet (she would marry Édouard Manet’s brother Eugène by the end of 1874). She had been accepted to the Salon, but her work had become more experimental since then. Degas invited Morisot to join their risky effort. The first exhibition did not repay the artists monetarily but it did draw the critics, some of whom decided their art was abominable. What they saw wasn’t finished in their eyes; these were mere “impressions.” This was not a compliment.

Berte Morisot, The Cradle, 1872, oil on canvas, 56 x 46 cm (Musée d’Orsay, Paris)

The paintings of Neoclassical and Romantic artists had a finished appearance. The Impressionists’  completed works looked like sketches, fast and preliminary “impressions” that artists would dash off to preserve an idea of what to paint more carefully at a later date. Normally, an artist’s “impressions” were not meant to be sold, but were meant to be aids for the memory—to take these ideas back to the studio for the masterpiece on canvas. The critics thought it was absurd to sell paintings that looked like slap-dash impressions and to present these paintings as finished works.

Landscape and contemporary life

Courbet, Manet and the Impressionists also challenged the Academy’s category codes. The Academy deemed that only “history painting” was great painting. These young Realists and Impressionists questioned the long established hierarchy of subject matter. They believed that landscapes and genres scenes (scenes of contemporary life) were worthy and important.

Claude Monet, Coquelicots, La promenade (Poppies), 1873, 50 x 65 cm (Musée d’Orsay, Paris)

Light and color

In their landscapes and genre scenes, the Impressionist tried to arrest a particular moment in time by pinpointing specific atmospheric conditions—light flickering on water, moving clouds, a burst of rain. Their technique tried to capture what they saw. They painted small commas of pure color one next to another. When a viewer stood at a reasonable distance their eyes would see a mix of individual marks; colors that had blended optically. This method created more vibrant colors than colors mixed as physical paint on a palette.

Claude Monet, La Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877, oil on canvas, 75 x 104 cm (Musée d’Orsay, Paris)

An important aspect of the Impressionist painting was the appearance of quickly shifting light on the surface of forms and the representation changing atmospheric conditions. The Impressionists wanted to create an art that was modern by capturing the rapid pace of contemporary life and the fleeting conditions of light. They painted outdoors (en plein air) to capture the appearance of the light as it flickered and faded while they worked.


By the 1880s, the Impressionists accepted the name the critics gave them, though their reception in France did not improve quickly. Other artists, such as Mary Cassatt, recognized the value of the Impressionist movement and were invited to join. American and other non-French collectors purchased numerous works by the Impressionists. Today, a large share of Impressionist work remains outside French collections.

Essay by Dr. Beth Gersh-Nesic

How the Impressionists got their name

Why is Impressionism both a good and, yet, potentially, insulting name?  Do you think that the classification of these artists/artworks as Impressionists/m was intended to be insulting?  Why or why not? 

Claude Monet, Boulevard des Capucines, 1873-74, oil on canvas, 80.3 x 60.3 cm (Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri)

The First Impressionist Exhibition, 1874

Although the idea originated with Claude Monet, Degas is largely responsible for organizing the very first Impressionist exhibition. After much debate, the artists—including Degas, Monet, Renoir, Morisot, Pissarro, Sisley, Boudin, and even the young Cézanne—along with many other lesser-known figures, chose to call themselves the Société Anonyme des Artistes. This group included painters, sculptors, printmakers, and others.

The exhibition opened in Paris on April 15, 1874. It was held at 35 Boulevard des Capucines, on the top floor and former studio of the photographer, Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, better known as Nadar. He was a friend of several of the artists and well-known for his portraits of the Parisian literati.

35 Boulevard des Capucines, workshop of Nadar and location of the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874

Serious criticism or Tongue-In-Cheek?

Although the first Impressionist exhibition was well attended, the critics were merciless. Trained to expect the polished illusions of the Salon painters, they were shocked by the raw, unblended, ill-defined paint used by Degas, Renoir, Monet and company. The satirical magazine, Le Charivari published an account of a visit with Joseph Vincent, an accomplished and conservative painter:

Upon entering the first room, Joseph Vincent received an initial shock in front of the Dancer by M. Renoir. 

‘What a pity,’ he said to me, ‘that the painter, who has a certain understanding of color, doesn’t draw better; his dancer’s legs are as cottony as the gauze of her skirts.’…

Unfortunately, I was imprudent enough to leave him [Joseph Vincent] in front of the “Boulevard des Capucines,” by [Monet]. 

‘Ah-ha! he sneered…. Is that brilliant enough, now!’ ‘There’s impression, or I don’t know what it means.’ ‘Only be so good as to tell me what those innumerable black tongue-lickings in the lower part of the picture represent?’ 

‘Why, those are people walking along,’ I replied. 

‘Then do I look like that when I’m walking along the Boulevard Capucines?’ ‘Blood and Thunder!’ ‘So you’re making fun of me!’ ‘…What does that painting depict?’ ‘Look at the Catalogue.’ ‘Impression Sunrise.’ ‘Impression–I was certain of it. I was just telling myself that, since I was impressed, there had to be some impression in it…and what freedom, what ease of workmanship! Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that seascape!'”*

Claude Monet, Impression, Sunrise, 1872, oil on canvas, 48 x 63 cm (Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris)

And on it goes, ever more sarcastically. The article was titled, “Exhibition of the Impressionists,” and the term stuck. From then on, these artists were called Impressionists.

Essay by Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker

*Linda Nochlin, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, 1874-1904: Sources and Documents (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1966), pp. 10-13.

How to Recognize a Monet

After watching the below video, what should you look for to identify a Monet painting?


Monet’s The Gare Saint-Lazare

Claude Monet, The Gare Saint-Lazare (or Interior View of the Gare Saint-Lazare, the Auteuil Line), 1877, oil on canvas, 75 x 104 cm (Musée d’Orsay)

Monet’s painting, The Gare Saint-Lazare, overwhelms the viewer not though its scale (a modest 29 ½ by 41 inches), but through the deep sea of steam and smoke that envelops the canvas. Indeed, as one contemporary reviewer remarked somewhat sarcastically, “Unfortunately thick smoke escaping from the canvas prevented our seeing the six paintings dedicated to this study.”[1]

The Gare Saint-Lazare (also known as Interior View of the Gare Saint-Lazare, the Auteuil Line), depicts one of the passenger platforms of the Gare Saint-Lazare, one of Paris’s largest and busiest train terminals. The painting is not so much a single view of a train platform, it is rather a component in larger project of a dozen canvases which attempts to portray all facets of the Gare Saint-Lazare. The paintings all have similar themes—including the play of light filtered through the smoke of the train shed, the billowing clouds of steam, and the locomotives that dominate the site. Of these twelve linked paintings, Monet exhibited between six and eight of them at the third Impressionist exhibition of 1877, where they were among the most discussed paintings exhibited by any of the artists. (Read more about the Impressionists and their exhibitions here).

Claude Monet, The Gare Saint-Lazare: Arrival of a Train, 1877, oil on canvas, 83 x 101.3 cm (Harvard Art Museums)

Light—the dominant formal element in so many Impressionist paintings—is given particularly close attention in The Gare Saint-Lazare, the Auteuil Line. Here, as in many of the Impressionists’ most celebrated paintings, Monet shows a bright day and labors to reproduce the closely observed effects of pure sunlight. The billowing clouds of steam add to the effect, creating layers of light that fill the canvas. Here however, we must pause as The Gare Saint-Lazare, the Auteuil Line is an exception within the full group—it is one of only two paintings of the train station shown on a bright bright, sunny, day. In contrast, the other ten paintings (for example the one at the Harvard Art Museums, above) show dark, hazy views of the Gare Saint-Lazare. Though an exception and anomaly in terms of its interest in sunlight, The Gare Saint-Lazare, the Auteuil Line shares a great deal in common with the other paintings at least in terms of subject and view.

Apartment buildings in the distance (detail), Claude Monet, The Gare Saint-Lazare (or Interior View of the Gare Saint-Lazare, the Auteuil Line), 1877, oil on canvas, 75 x 104 cm (Musée d’Orsay)

Monet’s achievement is extraordinary, and The Gare Saint-Lazare, the Auteuil Line has rightfully been singled out as among the most impressive paintings of Impressionism. Monet renders the steam with a range of blues, pinks, violets, tans, grays, whites, blacks, and yellows. He depicts not just the steam and light—which fill the canvas—but also their effect on the site—the large distant apartments, the Pont de l’Europe (a bridge that overlooked the train station), and the many locomotives—all of which peak through, and dematerialize into a thick industrial haze.

Train and shed as subject

Against the bright background, Monet represents the station’s vast iron roof in copper and tan tones that stand out against The Gare Saint-Lazare, the Auteuil Line’s low key palette, with its swirling blue, gray and purple background. The trains—here represented by no less than three locomotives and a large box car—are shown as both the source of the steam and distinct from it. However, in 1877, a number of critics were worried the smoke would completely engulf them. Gorges Maillard, writing in the conservative journal Le Pays, made just this point, describing the paintings as “the rails, lanterns, switchers, wagons, above all, always these flakes, these mists, clouds of white steam, are so thick they sometimes hide everything else.”[2]

Locomotives and tracks (detail), Claude Monet, The Gare Saint-Lazare (or Interior View of the Gare Saint-Lazare, the Auteuil Line), 1877, oil on canvas, 75 x 104 cm (Musée d’Orsay)

The Gare Saint-Lazare, the Auteuil Line and the other paintings of the Gare Saint-Lazare by Monet are hardly an isolated moment in the artist’s oeuvre. In the 1870s Monet—along with most of the other major Impressionists including, Caillebotte, Pissarro, Renoir, Degas, Guillaumin, Raffaëlli, and even Manet—had shown a steady interest in the railroad as a subject within their paintings of modern of life. In fact, the six to eight paintings Monet exhibited at the Third Impressionist Exhibition were shown along with Caillebotte’s monumental Le Pont de l’Europe (below) that likewise shows the train yards of the Gare Saint-Lazare. Caillebotte’s painting though shows the site from the great iron bridge that crossed over the yards—the Pont de l’Europe. Interestingly, Caillebotte’s painting of genteel strollers set in the bourgeois world of Paris’s grand boulevards drew praise, while Monet’s paintings of trains, steam and industrial activity were severely criticized.

Gustave Caillebotte, Le pont de l’Europe, c. 1876, oil on canvas (Musée du Petit Palais, Geneva)

Perhaps the criticism is due to the fact that Monet shows the locomotives as the main subject, rather than as background elements. He shows them unapologetically, in their natural element, among the steam, workers and activity of the bustling train station. Four paintings in the set of twelve, including The Gare Saint-Lazare, the Auteuil Line, show the large and distinctive cast iron spans that covered the platforms. However, the other paintings show the exterior, the yards, workers, tunnels, switches, sheds, and engines of the station. Indeed, even in The Gare Saint-Lazare, the Auteuil Line and the other so-called interiors of the of the train shed, Monet includes workers, steam, and industrial machines. In fact, what he does not show is the grand hotel, lavish entrance or sculpture of the station’s impressive façade. Even in the interiors, the paintings are very much the business end of the station.

A series?

These common subjects—train, steam, and industrial activity—raise the question of whether the works should be regarded as series. Though scholars have frequently discussed the works, and particularly the four interiors, as part of series, only two of the works show a repeated (or serial) view. When taken as a whole the group does not seem to be the manifestation of an interest in serial painting or an exploration of subtle changes only evident in repeated views (as Monet will later do with his series of grain stacks) bur rather as an effort to capture the varied aspects of the station by rendering its many faces in paint.

In The Gare Saint-Lazare, the Auteuil Line Monet shows his keen interest in light, color, and paint handling, yet The Gare Saint-Lazare, the Auteuil Line cannot be divorced from its subject—the locomotives, the steam, and the yard of the Gare Saint-Lazare. In this bright scene Monet gives us a new vision of modern life that does not shy away from its industrial side.

[1] Descubes, A. “L’Exposition des impressionnistes” Gazette des lettres, des sciences et des arts, vol. 1, no. 12 (20 April 1877), pp. 185-188.

[2] Maillard, “Chronique: Les Impressionnistes” Le Pays (April 9, 1877), pp. 2-3.

Monet Rouen Cathedral Series

After reading the above essay and watching the below video on Rouen Cathedral, why does Monet recreate scenes at different times of year/day?  Do you think doing so effectively aligns with the reasons you identified above for Impressionism being ground-breaking?



After watching the below 3 videos, explain what motivated Degas to exhibit with the Impressionists.  How is his work Impressionist?  What do you think is most unique about his work?




Mary Cassatt, Little Girl in a Blue Arm Chair

Mary Cassatt exhibited with the Impressionists, after reading the below essay, explain how is her work both similar to and different from that of the other, male, Impressionist artists?

Mary Cassatt, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, 1878, oil on canvas, 89.5 x 129.8 cm (National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.)

 A citizen of the world

If, as one art historian* recently stated, Camille Pissarro was the glue that held Impressionism together, then Mary Stevenson Cassatt had similarly adhesive qualities. Giving the lie to the stereotype that Americans were provincial—even barbarous—in their artistic tastes, Cassatt was anything but that; a cultured woman, educated in London, Paris and Berlin and fluent in French and German, she spent four years at the Pennsylvanian Academy of the Fine Arts before studying in France under Jean-Leon Gérôme, Thomas Couture and others.

Dog (detail), Mary Cassatt, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, 1878, oil on canvas, 89.5 x 129.8 cm (National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.)

After the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war she continued her travels, spending time in Italy and Spain, before settling in Paris once again in 1874, the year of the first Impressionist Exhibition. In the Salon of that year she exhibited a work that Degas, for one, admired. Over the following years, though, Salon success eluded her, largely, or so she judged, due to the prejudices of the all male selection jury.

It is understandable then that by 1877, when Degas invited her to join them, Cassatt would be drawn to this group of artists who were exhibiting independently and for whom gender did not appear to be a barrier for inclusion; certainly the quantity and quality of Berthe Morisot’s works in the first exhibitions were a match to those of the men. The same too can be said for the eleven paintings that Cassatt would exhibit in the fourth Impressionist Exhibition—included among them are some of her most celebrated paintings, notably Reading Le Figaro, Woman in a Loge, In the Loge and Little Girl in a Blue Armchair.

Little Girl in a Blue Armchair

Produced in 1878, it shows a girl sprawled on a blue armchair in a room with three other chairs of a matching design. She stares at the floor unaware or unconcerned about the portrait that is being painted of her. On the chair opposite her a lapdog dozes, a dark patch that neatly balances the dark tones of her clothing. There are no tables or ornaments, nothing to offer the viewer or the girl, who appears tired and bored, any distractions, only two large windows that are closed and heavily cropped by the upper edge of the canvas.

Girl sprawled on blue armchair (detail), Mary Cassatt, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, 1878, oil on canvas, 89.5 x 129.8 cm (National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.)

The dominance of the overstuffed furniture with its vibrant blue upholstery captures an odd sense of restlessness and languorousness, both matched by the girl’s pose. A parent would tell her to sit up properly and there is a rebellious, devil-may-care attitude in her comfortably lounging form. She has been dressed with due observance to fashion, the tartan shawl matching her socks and the bow in her carefully arranged hair; her shoes are spotless and the buckles sparkle; literally dolled up. All this primness however is of absolutely no concern to the girl whose unselfconscious pose presents as Petra Chu puts it: “a radically new image of childhood.”

Chair (detail), Mary Cassatt, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, 1878, oil on canvas, 89.5 x 129.8 cm (National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.)

That a woman produced the image is, of course, no coincidence. The nursery in middle class homes was a space that was rarely if ever visited by men; child-rearing being an exclusively female occupation, little wonder then that few male artists painted babies or young children. But, of course, it is not in a nursery that we find ourselves, but a drawing room, clean to the point of sanitized, a room in which, just like her costume, the girl seems out of place, swamped by the massive abundance of chairs, a point emphasized compositionally in that each overlaps the other. The upshot of all this is to create a feeling—if not so extreme as alienation—then certainly a sense of disorientation, one that seems to capture, as subtly and incisively as any artist before her, the huffing and puffing tiresomeness a child feels within the social constraints of an adult’s world, a world that seems almost oppressively gendered.

Girl (detail), Mary Cassatt, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, 1878, oil on canvas, 89.5 x 129.8 cm (National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.)

The girl herself was the daughter of a friend of Degas’s and the painting is often cited as an example of Degas’s influence on Cassatt. The two certainly had much in common, if only in terms of their backgrounds. Both were born into the upper-middle-class, the children of bankers, and both had strong connections to America, Degas’s mother and grandmother were American and he had stayed with his family in New Orleans in 1872-3.

The similarities in their work, certainly in this period, are also striking. In its asymmetrical composition, the casual, unposed treatment of the sitter, the weightiness and solidity of its forms in contrast to that grey mercurial dollop of negative space, its use of cropping and loose brushwork, as well as the interest in the private moment that we find so often in his pastels, the hallmarks of Degas’s work can clearly be found in Little Girl in a Blue Armchair.

Japanese Prints

The influence of Japanese prints is also a shared feature. Notice how in Degas’s famous L’Absinthe our eye is led in and up through the opposing diagonals of the marble-topped tables which seem almost to be floating. A similar effect is created by Cassatt in the blue furniture, to such an extent that we are left uncertain whose point of view we are looking from—a child’s at eye level or an adult’s from above. The composition, however, still coheres, the space and its various junctures having been carefully conceived to create a balanced whole.

Edgar Degas, L’Absinthe, 1876, oil on canvas, 92 x 68 cm (Musée d’Orsay, Paris)

These startling similarities may be accounted for by the fact that Degas had a hand in painting the background, a practice that seems shocking today. Cassatt seemed not to mind, though, writing several years later of how Degas “advised me on the background, he even worked on the background.” The last part she underlined suggesting that she even considered it a privilege. It was common practice for male artists to take a patronizing approach to their female counterparts. “Manet sermonizes me”, Berthe Morisot complained to her sister Edma. It is inconceivable, however, to think that either Degas or Manet, whose influence is certainly in evidence in Cassatt’s lavish use of cobalt blue and in the tonal treatment of the girl’s legs, would or could have painted such an image.

The Splendid Legacy

Like Manet and Degas, Cassatt spent time in Italy copying the great works there, including, in her case, those of Correggio. Perhaps there is something of that old master’s dreamy bambini in the pose of the little girl too. Either way, running alongside her distinctly modern artistic vision, the classical tradition she was trained in is never far away. She could be quite snobby about it in fact. She thought little of Paul Durand-Ruel, for instance, the greatest of the Impressionist dealers, for knowing next to nothing about Italian art. This did not put her off providing him with contacts when he travelled to New York with Impressionist works, including two of her own, which he exhibited in the spring of 1886. “Had it not been for Durand-Ruel, caviar would have been a good deal rarer,” Renoir once said to his son.

Yet, in the international success story of Impressionism, Cassatt is also owed her due. For among the contacts she gave Durand-Ruel was the sugar magnate Henry O. Havemeyer, whose wife Lousine was a close friend of hers, having studied art together in Paris. As the couple’s artistic consultant for the rest of her life Cassatt played a central role in the development of one of the greatest private collections ever amassed in America. Today New York’s Metropolitan holds hundreds of paintings bequeathed by the Havemeyer family, including, the Museum claims, “the most complete group of Degas’s works ever assembled” and twenty works by Mary Cassatt, a woman remarkable not only for helping shape contemporary tastes in American connoisseurship, but also, over the course of her long artistic career, for producing work of extraordinary quality that helped transform American art itself into a world-class enterprise.

Text by Ben Pollitt

*Waldemar Januszcak

How to Recognize a Renoir

After watching the below videos, be able to explain what you look for to recognize a Renoir painting.  In addition, explain how the Bal du Moulin de Galette aligns with the ways in which you identified Impressionism to be ground-breaking.



Ethnic Studies Question

Writing Assignment Help I have three pretty simple assignments due today. For the first one use the slides to answer the questions it is for a psychology class. for the second one it an ethnic studies assessment and a self assessment that goes with how you did. There is a lot of material i need to attach for this one, I will provide all the links and material to help you out. PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS OF THE ASSIGNMENT CAREFULLY. I will also provide previous feedback from assessment to help you out. https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/mcat/society-and-culture/social-structures/v/social-theories-overview
https://youtu.be/t40-uku8rl8https://www.pbs.org/video/talk-race-america-talk-race-america/https://www.bartleby.com/114/1.htmlhttps://youtu.be/xGFXAqUMM24 I will also need you to respond to two classmates posts but I cannot provide the posts and the self assessment until I turn in the assessment. I will continue providing material to help you out. It is very important to read directions carefully and to read my instructions carefully thank youu.

Assignment Cover Sheet Teach First Programme 2019 – 2020 Complete all sections

Assignment Cover Sheet

Teach First Programme 2019 – 2020

Complete all sections of this cover sheet for each assignment

Incorporate a completed copy of this cover sheet as the first page of your assignment

Click the checkbox at the bottom of the sheet to confirm that you have read and understood the declaration

Assignment Details

Title of Assignment:

Emerging philosophy of teaching and learning

Word Count (excl. references & appendices):


Submission deadline:



I hereby confirm that:

This essay is solely my own work

Any ideas in this coursework which are not attributed to another author are my own original ideas, and that I have cited all ideas from other authors using correct citation conventions

I have indicated with quotation marks or indentation, and correct citation conventions, all direct quotations from other authors

I have read and observed UCL guidelines on plagiarism at:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/current-students/guidelines/plagiarism and have used the UCL document on how to cite your references and referencing styles: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/docs/guides/references-plagiarism

I have read and used the Assignment Guidelines provided by my subject

I confirm that I have read and understood the above declaration





Please DO NOT include your name or student number within the assignment or filename

Overall Comment: You need to rework the assignment to address both the mathematical and theoretical aspects. There are in-line comments on the text and bullet points below to help you to do this.

Go into more depth about the mathematics

Make a connection between problems with algebraic notation and the challenges and mindset

Critically evaluate what you did to address mindset

The questionnaire is all about maths attainment; how does your work in the classroom work to change their answers to these questions?

You need to talk about the specific problems of learning algebra and how addressing the difficulties might support reorientation of mindset.

A good book to read would be “The Learning and Teaching of Algebra: Ideas, Insights and Activities (IMPACT: Interweaving Mathematics Pedagogy and Content for Teaching)” By Abraham Arcavi, Paul Drijvers, Kaye Stacey.

Ensure you have support for your arguments especially ideas about developing mindset. To develop a growth mindset you need to develop their ability to keep trying; this is not just about celebrating errors. Have a look, in more detail, at Jo Boaler’s interventions and relate it to your own.


Through the exploration of phase and/or subject specific pedagogies, discuss the theoretical perspectives and research that have influenced your practice. Contrast the planning, teaching and assessing of a series of lessons, and evaluate the impact on your developing philosophy of leading learning.


I have chosen to research the positive psychology learning theory. I will explore how this learning theory affects the mindset, attitudes and learning of the individuals in my year 9 class. I will search the literature for readings on positive psychology and the applications for teaching. I will then plan a series of lessons incorporating this literature. I will evaluate the similarity and/or the difference between what the literature says will and what actually happens in my year 9 classroom.

Literature Review

One of the most natural human desires is the search for a life of happiness, well-being and goodness (Psycnet.apa.org, 2020). Positive psychology, at its heart, is about the subjective positive experience of well-being and satisfaction. At the individual level, positive psychology has its value in personal traits such as those of courage, perseverance, originality, forgiveness and wisdom. At the group level, positive psychology places its value towards better citizenship: being responsible, altruistic, nurturing and work ethic (Gillham and Seligman, 1999).

It used to be believed that the brains that we are born with develop in a certain way and there is nothing we can really do about this. However, this was disproved with the emergence of the idea of the scientific concept called ‘brain plasticity’. Studies have shown that brains have the capability and capacity to grow and change within a short period of time (Woollett and Maguire, 2011; Kolb, 2013). In learning a new concept or idea, our brains conduct an electrical current across several synapses and thus connecting different areas of the brain (Owens and Tanner, 2017). It is consequently important to learn something deeply so that the activity within synapses form everlasting connections rather than just visiting a concept or idea once, where the connections can essentially ‘wash away’ (Mayford, Siegelbaum and Kandel, 2012).

This evidence about our brains suggests that with the right teaching, everyone can be successful in mathematics. There is the exception where some children have special educational needs which makes learning mathematics difficult, but for the majority, around 95% of people, school mathematics is within their reach and capabilities (Dweck, 2014).

This leads us to the idea of a growth mindset framework. A growth mindset, as defined by (Dweck, 2015), is a belief that people’s most basic abilities can be enhanced and developed through effort, dedication and hard work. This mindset creates an increased love for learning. The counterpart of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset. This is where people believe that their basic qualities, such as their intelligence or their talents, are simply their fixed traits (Dweck 2015). Students with a fixed mindset are more likely to give up, whereas those with a growth mindset are more likely to persevere (Duckworth and Quinn 2009).

In a study by (Blackwell, Trzesniewski and Dweck, 2007), seventh grade students were given a survey to measure their mindset. The students were then monitored by researchers over two years to track their mathematics attainment. The studies found a dramatic difference between the people with a growth mindset and those with a fixed mindset. The mathematical attainment of those with a fixed mindset stayed constant over the two years, whereas the achievement of those with a growth mindset greatly increased (figure 1 – see appendix).

To add to this study, two further studies by (Blackwell, Trzesniewski and Dweck, 2007 and (Good, Aronson and Inzlicht, 2003) created interventions for pupils, also in seventh grade, many of whom were already receiving declining grades. The aim of these studies was to change the pupils’ mindsets. They created workshops where seventh graders were taught how to develop a growth mindset. In these workshops, students were taught that the brain is a muscle that becomes stronger with every use, and that every time they stretch and challenge themselves, they form new connections in their brains. It was found that in the control group, math attainment continued to decline, whereas, the grades within the experimental group increased. In the study by Good et al, in the next math achievement test given to all of the pupils, the pupils who were in the growth mindset group significantly outperformed the pupils in the control group. This shows that a growth mindset is important for mathematical achievement (Boaler and Dweck, 2015).

A culture of error in our classrooms

Another important aspect of establishing a growth mindset in education is to incorporate a culture of error into your classrooms. A psychologist, Jason Moser, studied what happens in your brain when you make a mistake. (Moser et al., 2011) found that when we make a mistake, there are two potential responses by the brain. The first response, which is called an ERN response, allows for an increase in electrical activity in the brain. The second response, which is called a Pe response, produces a signal in the brain which is thought to reflect the time when one gives conscious attention to mistakes. This occurs when there is an awareness of the mistake someone has just made and a conscious effort to correct the mistake.

In the study by Jason Moser and colleagues, it was found that there was greater brain activity and growth during these mistakes when people had a growth mindset compared to when people had a fixed mindset. This helps us to understand why a growth mindset is associated to greater math achievement as it shows that a growth mindset is very important in brain activity when mistakes occur (Moser et al., 2011).

To add to this, in studies done by Boaler, it was found that when students are aware that mistakes are helpful for their brains, it changes their mindsets significantly (Jo Boaler, 2014). If pupils are told that mistakes are important in their learning, they are more willing to struggle, to persevere and to try new challenges in mathematics. Often, when a pupil makes a mistake, they can feel horrible about it. This is because we have been brought up in a culture and society where mistakes are not celebrated, rather, they are sometimes punished. Therefore, it is critical for pupils to understand that making mistakes is not only a normal human attribute, but it is also important for increased brain activity and brain growth, and therefore important for our education (Jo Boaler, 2014).

Applications of the positive psychology learning theory in education and in the classroom:

In education, positive psychology focuses on how schools can promote positive characteristics to allow a sense of purpose in school pupils and to eventually lead to more achievements and accomplishments.

The following are applications within teaching to promote a growth mindset: avoiding person centred praise, mindset interventions and measuring a growth mindset. In the following paragraphs, I will give a description of each of the applications of positive psychology in education and how they promote a growth mindset. I will mention the benefits to each of the applications and the limitations that they may hold.

Avoiding person centred praise

Carol Dweck says that ‘fundamental aspects of intelligence can be enhanced through learning; and that dedication and persistence in the face of obstacles are key ingredients in outstanding achievement’ (Dweck, 2007). Therefore, Dweck suggests that teachers phrase their feedback and praise in terms of the effort involved or the process used instead of praising for intelligence. Praising students’ intelligence gives them a short-lived burst of happiness. This pushes the child to believe that intelligence is innate which will then make them more fearful of not doing well and less willing to learn new skills and less adventurous with challenges. However, recent attempts to replicate these findings have led some researchers to question the reliability of this technique. (Li and Bates, 2017) conducted experiments to try to replicate Dweck’s theory on mindset. They did their series of studies on a total of 624 10-12-year olds. Their results were mixed but they generally found that believing you could improve your capabilities was not linked to an improvement of grades. The positive effects of having a growth mindset were not as significant in this study as it was with the work done by Dweck (Li and Bates, 2017).

Mindset interventions

Mindset interventions are using short interventions and targeted feedback to encourage a growth mindset. There have been studies that show that using mindset interventions have successfully helped students (BOALER, 2013). However, these programmes are short lived, and the lasting effects are questionable.

Measuring a growth mindset

Measuring a growth mindset can be done using a questionnaire to assess the attributions of pupils. The benefit of using such technique allows one to improve their self-insight and to assess how pupils really feel about learning and education (Dweck, 2007). However, the critique regarding this application is that if pupils perceive ‘growth mindset’ responses as the answer that is the most desirable, they may mark that they have these attributions.

Lesson Sequence

The studies described above demonstrate that those with a growth mindset are more likely to achieve success in school. The applications of adapting a growth mindset within education is what has informed my planning for teaching. I will be using these interventions and techniques in my own classroom and will subsequently analyse the findings.

Research on the chosen topic (factorising quadratic expressions):

Before starting the sequence of lessons on factorising quadratic trinomials, I did some research on the teaching and learning of this chosen topic.

There are different categories of errors when factorising quadratic expressions. One example of this is a systematic error. According to Cox (1975), an error is systematic when the error is a repeated occurring incorrect response that is evident when the person is working through a specific problem.

For example, in the case that a pupil is asked to factorise

and the answer given is: (.

This is considered a systematic error as the person is only considering the numbers which would multiply to give -15, rather than considering the middle term of +2 (Makonye and Nhlanhla, 2014).

Lessons at London academy are 1 hour and 15 minutes long. I will therefore adopt the positive psychology learning theory across four lessons. I will begin the sequence of lessons by evaluating the pupils’ current mindset by giving pupils a questionnaire on their mindset on a scale from (strongly agree) to (strongly disagree) (figure 2 – see appendix). I will evaluate these questionnaires and choose 5 people who present fixed mindsets to follow for the next four lessons.

At the beginning of each of the lessons, pupils were told to write three things that they were grateful for and/or three good things that had happened to them in that day. This would start off the lesson positively. This is thought to help with a growth mindset (Dweck, 2007) and a small intervention that I thought would be a good idea (figure 4 – see appendix)

Before this research on positive psychology and a growth mindset, I would praise students for their successes. In one lesson, for example, I was giving back the pupils their recent tests back. Just before giving back the test of the pupil who received one of the best grades, I said to her ‘well done on your score’. Another pupil sitting close by heard me praise her and asked, ‘why did you not say well done to me too?’. This took me by surprise and made me reflect on my practice as a teacher. It is the reason I chose the positive psychology learning theory to do research on. On top of this, in my own school experience, I have fallen prey to a fixed mindset and subsequently I was projecting my own mindset onto my pupils.

Therefore, in each of the lessons in the series, I incorporated a different way of praising – rather than praising successes, I praised effort. I also repositioned the way I addressed mistakes in the classroom. Dweck suggests praising mistakes by saying the words ‘it is great that you made this mistake; this is a really important opportunity for learning, and I am glad you are thinking about this’ (BOALER, 2013).

The topic that I chose to teach across these four lessons was factorising quadratic expressions. I used the ‘factorising by inspection’ method to teach how to factorise quadratic expressions. As this method relies heavily on trial and error, the topic itself allows the incorporation of mistakes and then success eventually which allows the building of a culture of error into my classroom lessons (BOALER, 2013).

Lesson One – Before teaching this lesson, I was conscious of the fact that I was going to do things a bit differently to what I was used to. For example, I was going to praise effort as well as success and further to this, I was going to congratulate mistakes rather than disregarding them. Before the start of every one of my lessons, I acknowledge the importance of understanding pupils’ prior knowledge on a topic as several topics in mathematics require a good foundation of other topics. In previous lessons, pupils learnt the meanings of mathematical terminology such as term, expressions, identity and equation. This allowed me to teach factorising quadratic expressions with some ease. The first lesson focussed on understanding what a quadratic expression is and noticing when an expression is indeed a quadratic expression or not. I gave pupils examples and non-examples, and using mini whiteboards, I was able to inspect whether pupils fully understood what a quadratic expression was. Following on from this, I taught pupils how to factorise simple quadratic trinomials. In previous lessons, pupils learnt how to expand double brackets. However, this was the pupils’ first introduction to factorising quadratic expressions. It was important that they had a solid fluency when expanding double brackets as this paved the way to factorising. The most important part of the lesson that I instilled in my pupils was recognising that the quadratic expressions they were seeing came from expanding double brackets (figure 3 – see appendix)

I started off with quadratic trinomials where the terms were only separated by plus signs. I taught this using the ‘I do, we do, you do’ model of learning. My aim, by using the simplest quadratics to factorise, was to allow pupils to gain an understanding of the procedure used to factorise, therefore, gaining a procedural fluency (Rittle-Johnson, Schneider and Star, 2015). This would help before they moved onto factorising harder quadratic expressions.

I taught the procedure by showing pupils that a quadratic expression, and specifically a quadratic trinomial first comes from expanding double brackets (figure 3 – see appendix). This helped the pupils to understand where the first, second and third terms came from. After this example, as a class, we did one together. This allowed me to cold call on several different pupils. Undoubtedly, someone would make a mistake. This meant that I could thank them, not only for the contribution and effort they have just put into the lesson, but also for the mistake that they had just made, and I emphasised that making mistakes is how we learn.

Lesson Two – I started the second lesson with a ‘DO NOW’ assessing previous knowledge. This ‘DO NOW’ also included questions on factorising quadratics with only plus signs and where the coefficient of is 1. After the ‘DO NOW’, I asked pupils to write down three good things that had happened to them in that day or three things which they are grateful for. Figure 4 shows a very nice compliment received by one of my pupils in the three things that they had written. I then began the lesson. In this lesson, I showed pupils examples of quadratic trinomials where the terms were separated by minus signs as well as plus signs. This was a bit more challenging, but again, using the ‘I do, we do, you do’ learning method, I was able to implement techniques used to build a growth mindset. I was able to praise effort. For example, a common mistake when introducing the negative sign into the quadratic expression, is to disregard the middle term and focus on the numbers that would multiply to make the last term as mentioned previously in this essay. This time, I took hands up during the ‘we do’ part of learning. I found that the pupil who volunteered their answer actually made an error in this. I was then able to say ‘thank you for making that mistake, actually that’s a very common mistake and I am glad that you made that mistake, because not only does it aid your learning, but it aids the learning of the rest of the pupils in the classroom’. I phrased my feedback like this with the intention of making the pupil feel better about their mistake. I also intended for the feedback to have a positive ripple effect. As it was public praise, other pupils would have heard the feedback, thus producing a positive and safe environment within the classroom where mistakes are made and encouraged.

Lesson Three – Lesson three started with a ‘DO NOW’ which consolidated the learning done on factorising quadratic expressions in the two previous lessons (figure 5 – see appendix). This combined the different types of quadratic trinomials where the coefficient of is 1. This helped with the transition of moving onto quadratic trinomials where the coefficient of is a prime number rather than 1. Factorising quadratic expressions when the coefficient of is a prime number requires a lot more trial and error than when the coefficient of is 1. Therefore, it was important for me while doing this to show pupils my thought process, and to show them that I would make several errors while factorising these quadratics before coming to the right answer. In building a culture of error, I recognised the importance of showing my pupils that I also make mistakes. Factorising quadratics by inspection was the best topic to do this on as success was dependent on trial and error.

Lesson Four – As always, I started off this lesson with a ‘DO NOW’ to consolidate prior learning. After the ‘DO NOW’, I asked pupils to write down three good things which happened to them that day or three things which they were grateful. Some of the pupils were eager to share their three things so I spent a bit of time on this. Hearing some of the things they were grateful for was heart-warming to me. For example, one of my pupils said that they were grateful to be alive for another day. In my final lesson on factorising quadratic expressions, I showed pupils how to factorise quadratic expressions where the coefficient of is neither a primer number nor was it 1. This was more difficult than previous factorising quadratic expression questions and would inevitably lead to more errors and more trials. However, it pushed pupils to persevere for their subsequent success. Further to this, I showed pupils a special type of factorising quadratic question; the difference of two squares. It was important to show the pupils when to know where the difference of two squares comes from, and to recognise a question as the difference of two squares. Once the pupils were familiar with this, they found factorising the difference of two squares very easy and seemingly enjoyable. During their independent task, I consolidated their learning using a worksheet that contained different types of quadratic expressions to interleave their practice. Interleaved practice is thought to be harder than blocked practice as it requires students to continuously retrieve their knowledge as each question is different from the previous one that was attempted (Academic Affairs, 2020).

I ended this lesson with the same questionnaire that I started this series of lessons with. This was with the aim of assessing whether the pupils’ mindsets had changed at all after the small interventions that I carried out in the series of four lessons. I will discuss this in the next section of this essay.

Discussion of my classroom findings

Before conducting these experiments on my year 9 class, the way that I would address someone making a mistake in class would be to say ‘that is not correct’ which not only made the pupil receiving my feedback uncomfortable, but it also made me uncomfortable. Something within me did not sit well with delivering my feedback in that way. I am glad that I now have a new way of addressing a mistake that someone in my class may make. I will continue to encourage and congratulate mistakes as this will be our way of increasing brain activity, brain growth and not to mention to have a positive impact on our mindsets, thus developing a growth mindset. Moreover, I used to praise pupils only when they encountered successes, rather than praising the effort and contributions made by pupils. I now praise pupils using phrases like ‘thank you for your contribution and effort’. I feel blessed that I was able to come across the work of Dweck, Boaler and the like. Researching the literature described by them has changed the way that I view learning and education in a better way.

To add to this, I followed 5 pupils over the four lessons who initially presented to have a fixed mindset. I found this by analysing the results from the first questionnaire. For the statement, ‘you have a certain amount of maths ability and you can’t do much about it’, 3 of the 5 pupils marked ‘strongly agree’ and 2 of the 5 marked ‘agree’. After the four lessons, 2 of the 5 marked ‘somewhat agree’ and 3 of the 5 marked ‘somewhat disagree’. This highlights the difference a small change in the language that is used to deliver feedback/phrase can have a positive impact on pupils. This evidence coincides with the studies that were explained in the literature review.

For the statement, ‘how intelligent you are mostly depends on how well you do in maths’- before the four lessons, 3 of the 5 pupils marked ‘agree’ and 2 of the 5 pupils marked ‘somewhat agree’. After the four lessons, there was no change to the questionnaires of these 5 people. This shows that there was no improvement for this statement in terms of the pupils’ mindsets. This result was similar to the statement ‘the percentage of correct answers on a maths test is a good measure of maths ability’ where the majority of the 5 people marked this statement as ‘agree’ and this statement mark did not change after the four lessons.

In regard to the statement, ‘you can greatly change how intelligent you are’- before the series of lessons and my small interventions, all 5 people had marked disagree. This came as a shock to me as I had generally seen my year 9 class as enthusiastic about maths and very willing to learn. However, these 5 pupils saw their intelligence as fixed. This is similar to my experience as a school pupil, as I would always put myself down for not being smart enough, but I also felt as though I couldn’t do anything about it and I couldn’t change how intelligent I was. After the four lessons, 3 out of 5 of these pupils marked this statement as ‘somewhat agree’. This is a big shift from their original ‘disagree’ statement. I believe that rephrasing the way I gave feedback and repositioning the way I viewed mistakes was impactful for this outcome.

Finally, in regard to the statement, ‘trying new things is stressful for me and I avoid it’, 1 out of 5 of these pupils marked this statement as ‘disagree’, 2 out of 5 of these pupils marked ‘agree’ and 2 out of 5 marked ‘strongly agree’. After the four lessons, out of the 5 pupils, the same 2 pupils marked ‘agree’, however, 3 pupils marked ‘disagree’. This shows a change for some of the pupils, but not for all. This could be due to the limitation that my experiment posed. A limitation of this experiment would be that it was done on a short time scale. This experiment was carried out over one week. I believe that to produce more promising and reliable results; I would need to implement this learning theory over a longer period of time.


To conclude, we have seen that the positive psychology learning theory sets out with the aim of improving the well-being and goodness in people’s lives by promoting a growth mind-set as opposed to a fixed mindset. People with a growth mindset believe that with practise, our abilities can improve, and they are more willing to try new challenges. However, those with a fixed mindset believe that you are born with a certain amount of skill and there is not much that can be done about that. Studies conducted by several scientists show that pupils who have a growth mindset are more likely to succeed in mathematics as they are more likely to challenge themselves and in turn, improve their skills. We have also seen the importance of making mistakes to improve learning. Studies by Moser et al have shown that making mistakes increases brain activity and can help with brain growth. Therefore, instead of viewing mistakes as something to feel bad about, mistakes should be encouraged and congratulated. This will encourage pupils to not be afraid when making mistakes and will lead to them willing to participate in more challenging work. I specifically chose a topic, factorising quadratic trinomials, where mistakes would have to be made before arriving to a final answer. This allowed me to change the way that I feedback to a pupil when they made a mistake. To add to this, I changed the way I praised pupils as described by Dweck. To enable a growth mindset, it was important for me to praise effort made by pupils. Praising effort helped to build a growth mindset, it evoked a sense of pride and satisfaction, and would allow the pupil to not be afraid of trying new challenges. Having implemented the applications of building a growth mindset within my year 9 class over the course of a week, I have seen improvements in the attitudes to learning evident through the starting and ending questionnaires. I have also seen more pupils willing to put their hands up in the attempts to answer questions in class, and not being afraid to get the wrong answer, as they know that mistakes are important and provide a learning opportunity. I highly believe it is important to build a culture of error in the classroom, not only to build connections in our brains and to increase brain activity, but also for a safe and happy learning environment. I will continue to implement all of these ideas, not just to my year 9 class who I have experimented with, but to all of my classes. Just think about the difference that could be made to the achievement of math students if more teachers promoted a growth mindset.


Academic Affairs. (2020). L2L Strategy – Interleaving. [online] Available at: https://academicaffairs.arizona.edu/l2l-strategy-interleaving

Blackwell, L., Trzesniewski, K. and Dweck, C. (2007). Implicit Theories of Intelligence Predict Achievement Across an Adolescent Transition: A Longitudinal Study and an Intervention. Child Development, 78(1), pp.246-263.

BOALER, J. (2013). Ability and Mathematics: the mindset revolution that is reshaping education. FORUM, 55(1), p.143.

Boaler, J. and Dweck, C. (2015). Mathematical mindsets. San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass.

Duckworth, A. and Quinn, P. (2009). Development and Validation of the Short Grit Scale (Grit–S). Journal of Personality Assessment, 91(2), pp.166-174

Dweck, C. (2007). Mindset.

Dweck, C. (2007). The Perils and Promises of Praise. 65, pp.34-39.

Dweck, C. (2014). Teachers’ Mindsets: “Every Student has Something to Teach Me”. Educational Horizons, 93(2), pp.10-15.

 Dweck, C. (2015). The Remarkable Reach of Growth Mind-Sets. Scientific American Mind, 27(1), pp.36-41.

Gillham, J. and Seligman, M. (1999). Footsteps on the road to a positive psychology. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 37, pp. S163-S173.

Good, C., Aronson, J. and Inzlicht, M. (2003). Improving adolescents’ standardized test performance: An intervention to reduce the effects of stereotype threat. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 24(6), pp.645-662.

Jo Boaler (2014). Research Suggests that Timed Tests Cause Math Anxiety. Teaching Children Mathematics, 20(8), p.469.

Kolb, B. (2013). Brain Plasticity and Behavior.

Li, Y. and Bates, T. (2017). Does growth mindset improve children’s IQ, educational attainment or response to setbacks? Active-control interventions and data on children’s own mindsets.

Makonye, J. and Nhlanhla, S. (2014). Exploring ‘Non-Science’ Grade 11 Learners’ Errors in Solving Quadratic Equations. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences.

Moser, J., Schroder, H., Heeter, C., Moran, T. and Lee, Y. (2011). Mind Your Errors. Psychological Science, 22(12), pp.1484-1489.

Owens, M. and Tanner, K. (2017). Teaching as Brain Changing: Exploring Connections between Neuroscience and Innovative Teaching. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 16(2), p.fe2.

Psycnet.apa.org. (2020). [online] Available at: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2005-07142-000 [Accessed 5 Jan. 2020].

Rittle-Johnson, B., Schneider, M. and Star, J. (2015). Not a One-Way Street: Bidirectional Relations Between Procedural and Conceptual Knowledge of Mathematics. Educational Psychology Review, 27(4), pp.587-597.

Woollett, K. and Maguire, E. (2011). Acquiring “the Knowledge” of London’s Layout Drives Structural Brain Changes. Current Biology, 21(24), pp.2109-2114.


Figure 1 – students with a growth mindset have greater achievements in maths than those with a fixed mindset sourced from (Boaler and Dweck, 2015)

Figure 2 – starting questionnaire to assess the pupils’ mindsets before carrying out small interventions

Figure 3 – understanding where the three terms of the quadratic trinomials come from

Figure 4 – a pupil who has written three things which they were grateful for at the start of the second lesson in the series of lessons

Figure 5 – DO NOW for the start of the third lesson revisiting and consolidating prior learning


18th Century Art in Europe Part 1 An Introduction to Neo-Classicism Nicolas

18th Century Art in Europe Part 1

An Introduction to Neo-Classicism

Nicolas Poussin, Et in Arcadia Ego, 1637-38, oil on canvas, 185 cm × 121 cm (72.8 in × 47.6 in) (Louvre)

In opposition to the frivolous sensuality of Rococo painters like Jean-Honoré Fragonard and François Boucher, the Neoclassicists looked back to the French painter Nicolas Poussin for their inspiration (Poussin’s work exemplifies the interest in classicism in French art of the 17th century ). The decision to promote “Poussiniste” painting became an ethical consideration—they believed that strong drawing was rational, therefore morally better. They believed that art should be cerebral, not sensual.

The Classical Ideal

After reading the below section, be able to explain how the excavations at Pompeii and the philosophies of Johann Winckelmann lead to the art movement called Neoclassicism.

The achievements of the Renaissance from the period of Raphael (1483–1520) to that of Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665) and Claude Lorrain (1604/5?–1682) served as a conduit for a renewed interest in harmony, simplicity, and proportion, an interest that gained momentum as the new science of archaeology brought forth spectacular remnants of a buried world of great beauty. Giovanni Paolo Panini’s Ancient Rome (1757; 52.63.1) is representative of the movement, a tour-de-force painting encompassing many of the monuments in and around Rome, including the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Trajan’s Column, the Medici Vase, the Farnese Hercules, and the Laocoön. In the midst of a grand gallery, students copy the great works of antiquity. The Neoclassical style arose from such first-hand observation and reproduction of antique works and came to dominate European architecture, painting, sculpture, and decorative arts.

It was not until the eighteenth century that a concerted effort to systematically retrieve the glories of lost civilizations began. Illustrations of freshly discovered archaeological ruins in Athens, Naples (Herculaneum and Pompeii), Paestum, Palmyra (Syria), Baalbek (Lebanon), and the Dalmatian coast were disseminated throughout Europe in treatises with detailed descriptions, picturesque landscape views, reproductions of frescoes, and measured drawings of temples, theaters, mausoleums, and sculptures. Reports of extensive travel expeditions such as those by Robert Wood, John Bouverie, Giovanni Battista Borra, and James Dawkins, with their Ruins of Palmyra (1753) and The Ruins of Balbec (1757), James “Athenian” Stuart and Nicholas Revett’s Antiquities of Athens (1762), and Robert Adam’s Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia (1764) broadened the public’s historical perspective and stimulated a passion for all things savoring of the ancient past.

Travelers were also important students of Roman and Greek antiquity. In the early eighteenth century, painted visions of Greco-Roman monuments already could be found in continental palaces and English country homes. Soon, persons of culture and sensibility known to the Italians as cognoscenti were descending upon the peninsula to embark on the Grand Tour. In Rome, they were sometimes accompanied by a cicerone, a docent who guided them through the mazes of museums, churches, and marmoreal monuments. Famous artists such as Antonio Canova (1757–1822) and Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770–1844) opened their studios where they kept works on display permanently for potential clients. Tourists prized not only souvenir portraits of themselves by painters such as Pompeo Batoni (1708–1787; 03.37.1), hardstone cabinets, or Palladio’s Four Books of Architecture with which to furnish their libraries, but also the exquisite ancient objects they encountered. Faced with the threat of the catastrophic dispersal of this legacy, the popes intervened. Cardinal Alessandro Albani’s collection of antique marbles was acquired by Clement XII in 1733, despite lucrative offers from abroad. Whereas over the two previous centuries the reigning pope would have bought such treasures for himself and his family, they were purchased for the city of Rome itself and placed in one of the palaces on the Capitoline that Michelangelo had designed. Since excavations were continually disgorging more objects, Clement XIV inaugurated a great museum in the Vatican in 1769, energetically enriched by his successor Pius VI. The Museo Pio-Clementino represents the height of papal patronage of the arts in Rome.

Influential theoretical and historical writings contributed as strongly as the artifacts themselves to a change in taste. Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717–1768; 48.141), German archaeologist and philosopher, emphasized the supremacy of Greek art. His major work, Gedanken über die Nachahmung der griechischen Werke in der Malerei und Bildhauerkunst (Reflections on the Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks, 1755), extolled the beauty of the Apollo Belvedere in particular. Rejecting the notion that art imitates life, Winckelmann taught that qualities superior to nature are found in Greek art, specifically, “ideal beauties, brain-born images.” Such transcendent works, he explained, went beyond mere verisimilitude to capture “a more beauteous and more perfect nature.” The concept of ideal forms descended from Platonic texts and had been the theme of commentators since the Renaissance, but Winckelmann’s proselytizing won new adherents. “The most eminent characteristic of Greek works,” he wrote, “is a noble simplicity and sedate grandeur in gesture and expression. As the bottom of the sea lies peaceful beneath a foaming surface, a great soul lies sedate beneath the strife of passions in Greek figures.”

Winckelmann’s writings sparked the Greco-Roman controversy in the 1760s, a debate as to the relative superiority of Greek and Roman architecture and ornament, thus drawing attention to an overlooked field. Italian printmaker Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s (1720–1778) vast oeuvre of engravings of ancient Roman sites ([28]) demonstrates his perception of Roman practicality as an improvement over Greek experiment. Other scholars, siding with Winckelmann, contended that Roman culture was a lesser imitation of Greek mastery of form.

Painting History

After reading the below section, be able to identify 4 key characteristics to look for when trying to identify Neoclassical art.

In painting, Anton Raphael Mengs (1728–1779), a Winckelmann protégé and premier peintre to the Dresden court, freely employed classical themes. Notable is his Parnassus (1760–61), showing Apollo surrounded by Muses and commissioned for the Villa Albani (Rome).

These artists, together with Joseph Marie Vien, Benjamin West, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, and Angelica Kauffmann, made up the first generation of Neoclassical painters. They defined the style with their emphasis on formal composition, historic subject matter, contemporary settings and costumes, rigidity, solidity, and monumentality in the spirit of classical revival. French painter Jacques Louis David (1748–1825) was a student of Vien, having won the Prix de Rome in 1774 to study at the French Academy. In sympathy with the French Revolution, his paintings such as The Death of Socrates (31.45) gave expression to a new cult of civic virtues: self-sacrifice, devotion to duty, honesty, and stoic austerity. 

The Neoclassicists, such as Jacques-Louis David (pronounced Da-VEED), preferred the well-delineated form—clear drawing and modeling (shading). Drawing was considered more important than painting. The Neoclassical surface had to look perfectly smooth—no evidence of brush-strokes should be discernable to the naked eye.

France was on the brink of its first revolution in 1789, and the Neoclassicists wanted to express a rationality and seriousness that was fitting for their times. Artists like David supported the rebels through an art that asked for clear-headed thinking, self-sacrifice to the State (as in Oath of the Horatii) and an austerity reminiscent of Republican Rome.

Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, 1784 (salon of 1785) oil on canvas, 3.3 x 4.25m (Louvre)

Neo-classicism was a child of the Age of Reason (the Enlightenment), when philosophers believed that we would be able to control our destinies by learning from and following the laws of nature (the United States was founded on Enlightenment philosophy).  Scientific inquiry attracted more attention. Therefore, Neoclassicism continued the connection to the Classical tradition because it signified moderation and rational thinking but in a new and more politically-charged spirit (“neo” means “new,” or in the case of art, an existing style reiterated with a new twist.)

Neoclassicism is characterized by clarity of form, sober colors, shallow space, strong horizontal and verticals that render that subject matter timeless (instead of temporal as in the dynamic Baroque works), and Classical subject matter (or classicizing contemporary subject matter).

Essay by Dr. Beth Gersh-Nesic

David’s Oath of the Horatii

Jacques-Louis David, The Oath of the Horatii, oil on canvas, 3.3 x 4.25m, commissioned by Louis XVI, painted in Rome, exhibited at the salon of 1785 (Musée du Louvre)

In 1785 visitors to the Paris Salon were transfixed by one painting, Jacques-Louis David’s Oath of the Horatii. It depicts three men, brothers, saluting toward three swords held up by their father as the women behind him grieve—no one had ever seen a painting like it. Similar subjects had always been seen in the Salons before but the physicality and intense emotion of the painting was new and undeniable. The revolutionary painting changed French art but was David also calling for another kind of revolution—a real one?

Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, oil on canvas, 3.3 x 4.25m, commissioned by Louis XVI, painted in Rome, exhibited at the salon of 1785 (Musée du Louvre)

Women (detail).

Conquer or die

The story of Oath of the Horatii came from a Roman legend first recounted by the Roman historian Livy involving a conflict between the Romans and a rival group from nearby Alba. Rather than continue a full-scale war, they elect representative combatants to settle their dispute. The Romans select the Horatii and the Albans choose another trio of brothers, the Curatii. In the painting we witness the Horatii taking an oath to defend Rome.

Brothers (detail), Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, oil on canvas, 3.3 x 4.25m, commissioned by Louis XVI, painted in Rome, exhibited at the salon of 1785 (Musée du Louvre)

The women know that they will also bear the consequence of the battle because the two families are united by marriage. One of the wives in the painting is a daughter of the Curatii and the other, Camilla, is engaged to one of the Curatii brothers. At the end of the legend the sole surviving Horatii brother kills Camilla, who condemned his murder of her beloved, accusing Camilla of putting her sentiment above her duty to Rome. The moment David chose to represent was, in his reported words, “the moment which must have preceded the battle, when the elder Horatius, gathering his sons in their family home, makes them swear to conquer or die.”

Boy (detail), Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, oil on canvas, 3.3 x 4.25m, commissioned by Louis XVI, painted in Rome, exhibited at the salon of 1785 (Musée du Louvre)

A rigorously organized painting

Hand (detail), Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, oil on canvas, 3.3 x 4.25m, commissioned by Louis XVI, painted in Rome, exhibited at the salon of 1785 (Musée du Louvre)

To tell the story of the oath, David created a rigorously organized painting with a scene set in what might be a Roman atrium dominated by three arches at the back that keep our attention focused on the main action in the foreground. There we see a group of three young men framed by the first arch, the Horatii brothers, bound together with their muscled arms raised in a rigid salute toward their father framed by the central arch. He holds three swords aloft in his left hand and raises his right hand signifying a promise or sacrifice. The male figures create tense, geometric forms that contrast markedly with the softly curved, flowing poses of the women seated behind the father. David lit the figures with a stark, clinical light that contrasts sharply with the heightened drama of the scene as if he were requiring the viewer to respond to the scene with a mixture of passion and rationality.

In beginning art history courses, the painting is typically presented as a prime example of Neoclassical history painting. It tells a story derived from the Classical world that provides an example of virtuous behavior (exemplum vertutis). The dramatic, rhetorical gestures of the male figures easily convey the idea of oath-taking and the clear, even light makes every aspect of the story legible. Instead of creating an illusionistic extension of space into a deep background, David radically cuts off the space with the arches and pushes the action to the foreground in the manner of Roman relief sculpture.

Before Oath of the Horatii, French history paintings in a more Rococo style such as Jean-François-Pierre Peyron’s Death of Alcestis (1785) involved the viewer by appealing to sentiment and presenting softly modeled graceful figures. David acknowledged that old approach in the figures of the women in Oath of the Horatii, but challenged it with the starkly athletic figures and resolute poses of the men.

Pierre Peyron, The Death of Alcestis, 1794, oil on canvas, 97.2 x 95.7 cm (North Carolina Museum of Art); please note, this is a copy, by the artist, of the original 1785 canvas

Going back to Poussin

Nicolas Poussin, The Rape of the Sabine Women, c. 1637-38, oil on canvas, 159 x 206 cm (Louvre)

Before composing Oath of the Horatii, David went to see Poussin’s Rape of the Sabine Women and employed the lictor, the caped man, on the far left as the basis for the Horatii and he directly quoted other figures from Poussin as well. Even though Poussin was his model, David knew that he was creating a new type of painting and wrote, “I do not know whether I shall ever paint another like it,” as he developed the austere composition and powerful physiques.

Personal sacrifice for an ideal

Today the painting is typically interpreted in the context of the French Revolution and David’s own direct involvement as a revolutionary. The exact source of the scene that inspired David is in doubt but it is important to art historians because it can offer clues as to David’s intentions for the picture.

Feet (detail), Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, oil on canvas, 3.3 x 4.25m, commissioned by Louis XVI, painted in Rome, exhibited at the salon of 1785 (Musée du Louvre)

In the nineteenth century a former student of David identified the source as the 1640 play Les Horaces by Corneille that David had seen in Paris in 1782. The difficulty is that no scene of an oath occurs in Corneille’s script. However, toward the end of the play, a minor character comes on stage bearing the three swords of the defeated Curatii. This stage direction as well as other contemporary productions and images related to the story of Horatii in particular—and oath-taking in general—may provide the background for David’s decision to paint the moment when the brothers take their oath to defend Rome—an act of personal sacrifice for a political ideal.

Revolutionary or not?

With this in mind, we can understand how one might read Oath of the Horatii as a painting designed to rally republicans (those who believed in the ideals of a republic, and not a monarchy, for France) by telling them that their cause will require the dedication and sacrifice of the Horatii. Those who support this view cite some of the rousing lines from Corneille’s tragedy such as, “Before I am yours, I belong to my country,” as well as the response of contemporary left-wing writers who praised David’s republican sentiments. Those who disagree with this interpretation argue that David was enmeshed in the system of royal patronage, that the painting was accepted into the Salon with no negative response from official quarters and later royal commissions followed.

Hand (detail), Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, oil on canvas, 3.3 x 4.25m, commissioned by Louis XVI, painted in Rome, exhibited at the salon of 1785 (Musée du Louvre)

In the succeeding decades French painters responded again and again to David’s transformative painting. Paintings such as Gros’ Napoleon Bonaparte Visiting the Plague-Stricken (1804), Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa (1819), Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People (1830), and even Courbet’s Burial at Ornans (1849) confront the Oath of Horatii as they embrace or reject David’s aesthetic and, perhaps, political revolution.

Essay by Dr. Claire McCoy



David’s Napoleon Crossing the Alps

Jacques-Louis David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps or Bonaparte at the St Bernard Pass, 1800-1, oil on canvas, 261 x 221 cm (Chateau de Malmaison, Rueil-Malmaison)

Some find it stiff and lifeless, proof of David’s ineptness at capturing movement. Some see it not as art, but propaganda, pure and simple. Some snigger at its overblown, action-packed, cliff-hanging momentousness, with shades of “Hi ho Silver, away!” Some have it down as a sort of beginning of the end moment in David’s career, before he officially became Napoleon’s artist-lackey. Whatever one might say, though (and a lot has been said about Napoleon Crossing the Alps), it is still arguably the most successful portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte that was ever made. Personally, I love it.

Completed in four months, from October 1800 to January 1801, it signals the dawning of a new century. After a decade of terror and uncertainty following the Revolution, France was emerging as a great power once more. At the heart of this revival, of course, was General Napoleon Bonaparte who, in 1799, had staged an uprising against the revolutionary government (a coup d’état), installed himself as First Consul, and effectively become the most powerful man in France (a few years later he will declare himself emperor).

In May 1800 he led his troops across the Alps in a military campaign against the Austrians which ended in their defeat in June at the Battle of Marengo. It is this achievement the painting commemorates. The portrait was commissioned by Charles IV, then King of Spain,  to be hung in a gallery of paintings of other great military leaders housed in the Royal Palace in Madrid.

Napoleon and the Portrait

Famously, Napoleon offered David little support in executing the painting. Refusing to sit for it, he argued that: “Nobody knows if the portraits of the great men resemble them, it is enough that their genius lives there.” All David had to work from was an earlier portrait and the uniform Napoleon had worn at Marengo. One of David’s sons stood in for him, dressed up in the uniform and perched on top of a ladder. This probably accounts for the youthful physique of the figure.

Napoleon, however, was not entirely divorced from the process. He was the one who settled on the idea of an equestrian portrait: “calme sur un cheval fougueux” (calm on a fiery horse), were his instructions to the artist. And David duly obliged. What better way, after all, to demonstrate Napoleon’s ability to wield power with sound judgment and composure. The fact that Napoleon did not actually lead his troops over the Alps but followed a couple of days after them, travelling on a narrow path on the back of a mule is not the point!

Like many equestrian portraits, a genre favoured by royalty, Napoleon Crossing the Alps is a portrait of authority. Napoleon is pictured astride a rearing Arabian stallion. Before him to his left we see a mountain, while in the background, largely obscured by rocks, French troops haul along a large canon and further down the line fly the tricolore (the national flag of France) .

Napoleon (detail), Jacques-Louis David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps or Bonaparte at the St Bernard Pass, 1800-1, oil on canvas, 261 x 221 cm (Chateau de Malmaison, Rueil-Malmaison)

Bonaparte’s gloveless right hand points up towards the invisible summit, more for us to follow, one feels, than the soldiers in the distance. Raised arms are often found in David’s work, though this one is physically connected with the setting, echoing the slope of the mountain ridge. Together with the line of his cloak, these create a series of diagonals that are counterbalanced by the clouds to the right. The overall effect is to stabilise the figure of Napoleon.

The landscape is treated as a setting for the hero, not as a subject in itself. On the rock to the bottom left (below), for instance, the name of Napoleon is carved beside the names of Hannibal and Charlemagne—two other notable figures who led their troops over the Alps. David uses the landscape then to reinforce what he wishes to convey about his subject. In terms of scale alone, Napoleon and his horse dominate the pictorial plane. Taking the point further, if with that outstretched arm and billowing cloak, his body seems to echo the landscape, the reverse might equally hold true, that it is the landscape that echoes him, and is ultimately mastered by his will. David seems to suggest that this man, whose achievements will be celebrated for centuries to come, can do just about anything.

Inscriptions reading “Bonaparte,” “Hannibal,” and “Karolus Magnus”(detail), Jacques-Louis David, detail Napoleon Crossing the Alps or Bonaparte at the St Bernard Pass, 1800-1, oil on canvas, 261 x 221 cm (Chateau de Malmaison, Rueil-Malmaison)

Napoleon was obviously flattered. He ordered three more versions to be painted; a fifth was also produced which stayed in David’s studio. Reflecting the breadth of Napoleon’s European conquests, one was hung in Madrid, two in Paris, and one in Milan.

In 1801 David was awarded the position of Premier Peintre (First Painter) to Napoleon. One may wonder how he felt about this new role. Certainly David idolized the man. Voilà mon héros (here is my hero), he said to his students when the general first visited him in his studio. And perhaps it was a source of pride for him to help secure Napoleon’s public image. Significantly, he signs and dates Napoleon Crossing the Alps on the horse’s breastplate, a device used to hold the saddle firmly in place. The breastplate also serves as a constraint, though, and given his later huge commissions, such as The Coronation of Napoleon, one wonders if David’s creative genius was inhibited as a result of his hero’s patronage.  In Napoleon Crossing the Alps, however, the spark is still undeniably there. Very much in accord with the direction his art was taking at the time, “a return to the pure Greek” as he put it. In it he moulds the image of an archetype, the sort one finds on medals and coins, instantly recognizable and infinitely reproducible, a hero for all time.

Essay by Ben Pollitt

Angelica Kauffman’s Cornelia Presenting Her Children as Treasures—A Moment of Moralizing

To the artists of 18th century Europe, it was not enough to simply paint a beautiful painting. Yes one could marvel at your use of colors, proportions, and how masterfully you draped the fabric on your figures, but this was just not enough. The story that is represented must also improve the viewer and impart a moralizing message. This was a common theme even before the emergence of the Neoclassical trend (for example, Chardin’s canvases of simple French country life or Hogarth’s painted commentaries on the wealthy classes of England). When interest in the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean—more specifically Rome—arose in the mid 18th century the moralizing theme segued to also include stories from classical antiquity.

Angelica Kauffmann, Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, Pointing to her Children as Her Treasures, c. 1785, oil on canvas, 40 x 50″ (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

The Swiss-born painter Angelica Kauffmann is just one artist to contribute to this genre. Painted in 1785, Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, Pointing to Her Children as Her Treasures, is her subject. Roman architectural influences frame two women portrayed wearing what one can imagine is typical of ancient Roman dress, along with three children, also wearing masterfully draped togas with thin leather sandals. They look like they might have stepped directly off a temple’s pediment.

 Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus (detail), Angelica Kauffmann, Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, Pointing to her Children as Her Treasures, c. 1785, oil on canvas, 40 x 50″ (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

An example of virtue

If you compare Kauffmann’s simple presentation to the previous Rococo genre, with the lush landscapes, frothy pastel pink frocks, and chubby frolicking cherubs, it is clear that art is going in a different direction. This painting is an exemplum virtutis, or a model of virtue. The story that Kauffmann painted is that of Cornelia, an ancient Roman woman who was the mother of the future political leaders Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus. The brothers Gracchi were politicians in 2nd century B.C.E. Rome. They sought social reform and were seen as friends to the average Roman citizen. So where did these benefactors of the people learn their exemplary ethics? That would be their mother, Cornelia.

Cornelia (detail), Angelica Kauffmann, Mother of the Gracchi, Pointing to her Children as Her Treasures, c. 1785, oil on canvas, 40 x 50″ (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

The scene that we see in Kauffmann’s painting illustrates one such example of Cornelia’s teachings. A visitor has come to her home to show off a wonderful array of jewelry and precious gems, what one might call treasures. To her visitor’s chagrin, when she asks Cornelia to reveal her treasures she humbly brings her children forward, instead of running to get her own jewelry box. The message is clear; the most precious treasures of any woman are not material possessions, but the children who are our future. You can almost feel the embarrassment when you look at the face of the visitor, who Kauffmann has smartly painted with a furrowed brow and slightly gaped mouth.

The lure of ancient Rome

Angelica Kauffmann, Angelica Kauffmann,  c. 1770-75, oil on canvas, 73.7 x 61 cm (National Portrait Gallery, London)

Born in 1740, Angelica Kauffmann received a first-rate artistic education from her father, who was a Swiss muralist. She traveled through her native Switzerland, Austria, and eventually Italy where she was able to see the work of the ancient artists with her own eyes. She was following in the tradition of the Grand Tour, the educational excursion that many wealthy Europeans took to marvel and study the art, architecture, and history of ancient Rome.

The interest in ancient Mediterranean cultures was fueled not just by the cultural productions of Rome, but also by the newly discovered remains of the ancient Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii, which were excavated beginning in 1738 and 1748, respectively. Covered by the volcanic ash of Mount Vesuvius in August 79 CE, an almost perfect scene of typical ancient life was preserved. These findings did not just spark a renewed interest in classical antiquity in 18th-century art and architecture, but also inspired new fashions, interior design, and even gardens and tableware. This was a find that one must see in person, and Angelica Kauffman was lucky enough to take the Grand Tour like so many of her fellow artists.

Enlightenment ideals

While the geometric symmetry and simplicity of the arts in antiquity might have greatly inspired the work of Kauffman and other Neoclassical artists, these ancient societies also aligned with Enlightenment ideals, which were often seen as the zenith of human civilization. Greece and Rome—it was felt—were the cultures that gave us the enlightened political systems of democracy and republicanism, as opposed to the modern monarchies, which would be increasingly criticized as corrupt and arbitrary in the mid and late eighteenth century. The ancients could instruct modern audiences in patriotism, civic virtue, and ethics, and Kauffmann’s moralizing message is a wonderful example of this trend.

This revival of classical antiquity was a cultural phenomenon that affected not just artistic practices, but also shaped the modern mind. Angelica Kauffman would eventually settle in England where she enjoyed great success as a portrait artist and history painter. In an age that can be described as patriarchal at its best and chauvinistic at its worst, Kauffmann played a major role in the British art scene. She was a regular exhibitor at the prestigious Royal Academy and had many aristocratic and even royal patrons. Cornelia Pointing to Her Children as Her Treasures is truly one of Kauffmann’s most famous treasures, and permanently positioned her as a pioneer of the Neoclassical movement.

Essay by Dana Martin

Neo-Classicism in the American Republic

An American hero sculpted by a foreigner

Jean-Antoine Houdon, George Washington, 1788-92, marble, 6′ 2″ high (State Capitol, Richmond, Virginia)

Read the below section and be able to explain why and in what ways US American “founding fathers” embraced the art style we call Neoclassicism.

After the successful conclusion of the American Revolutionary War, many state governments turned to public art to commemorate this momentous occasion. Given his critical role both in Virginia and the colonial cause, it is unsurprising that the Virginia General Assembly desired a statue of George Washington for display in a public space.

And so, in 1784, the Governor of Virginia, Benjamin Harrison V, asked Thomas Jefferson, a Virginian who was then in Paris as the American Minister to France, to select an appropriate artist to sculpt Washington. Seeking a European sculptor—and for Jefferson whose Francophile sympathies were clear, preferably one who was French—was a logical decision given the lack of artistic talent then available in the United States. Through basic necessity, then, this portrait of an American hero needed to be made by a foreigner.

Jefferson knew just the artist for this task: Jean-Antoine Houdon. Trained at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture and winner of the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1761 when only twenty years of age, Houdon was, by the middle of the 1780s, the most famous and accomplished neoclassical sculptor at work in France. Jefferson commissioned Houdon to complete a monumental statue of Washington. Given Houdon’s skill and ambition, the sculptor likely hoped to cast a larger than life-sized bronze statue of General Washington on horseback, a format appropriate for a victorious field commander. In time, however, Houdon would be disappointed if his aspiration was to forge an equestrian bronze, the final product, delivered more than a decade later, was comparatively simple standing marble.

Evidence suggests that Houdon was to remain in Paris and sculpt Washington from a likeness Charles Willson Peale had drawn. Dissatisfied, and uncomfortable with carving in three dimensions what Peale had rendered in two, Houdon made plans to visit Washington in person. Houdon departed for the United States in July 1785 and was joined by Benjamin Franklin—who he had sculpted in 1778—and two assistants. The group sailed into Philadelphia about seven weeks later and Houdon and his assistants arrived at Mount Vernon—Washington’s home in Virginia—by early October. There they took detailed measurements of Washington’s body and sculpted a life mask of the future president’s face.

Contemporary clothing (and not a toga)

While in Virginia, Houdon created a slightly idealized and classicized bust portrait of the future first president. Unfortunately, Washington disliked this classicized aesthetic and insisted on being shown wearing contemporary attire rather than the garments of a hero from ancient Greece or Rome. With clear instructions from the sitter to be depicted in contemporary dress, Houdon returned to Paris in December 1785 and set to work on a standing full-length statue carved from Carrara marble. Although Houdon dated the statue 1788, he did not finish it until about four years later, and the statue was not delivered to the State of Virginia until May of 1796 when the Rotunda of the Virginia State Capitol was finally completed.

In time, this statue of George Washington has become one of the most recognized and copied of images of the first president of the United States. Houdon not only perfectly captured Washington’s likeness—John Marshal, the second Chief Justice of the Supreme Court later wrote, “Nothing in bronze or stone could be a more perfect image than this statue of the living Washington”—Houdon also captured the essential duality of Washington: the private citizen and the public solider.

Washington looking to his left, wearing his military uniform (detail), Jean-Antoine Houdon, George Washington, 1788-92, marble, 6′ 2″ high, State Capitol, Richmond, Virginia, (photo: Holley St. Germain, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Washington stands and looks slightly to his left; his facial expression could best be described as fatherly. He wears not a toga or other classically inspired garment—as the neoclassically inclined Houdon would have no doubt preferred—but instead his military uniform. His stance mimics that of the contraposto seen in Polykleitos’ Doryphoros.

Washington’s left leg is slightly bent and half a stride forward, while his right leg is weight bearing. His right arm hangs by his side and rests atop a gentleman’s walking stick. His left arm—bent at the elbow—rests atop a fasces, a bundle of thirteen rods that symbolizes not only the power of a ruler but also the strength found through unity. This visually represents the concept of E Pluribus Unum—Out of Many, One—a congressionally approved motto of the United States from 1782 until 1956.

Rather than hold his officer’s sword, a symbol of military might and authority, it instead benignly hangs on the outside of the fasces, just beyond Washington’s immediate grasp. This surrendering of military power is further reinforced by the presence of the plow behind Washington. This refers to the story of Cincinnatus, a Roman dictator who resigned his absolute power when his leadership was no longer needed so that he could return to his farm. Like this Roman, Washington resigned his power and returned to his farm to live a peaceful, civilian life.

Washington as soldier and private citizen

The statue, still on view in the Rotunda of the Virginia State Capitol, is a near perfect representation of the first president of the United States of America. In it, Houdon captured not only what George Washington looked like, but more importantly, who Washington was, both as a soldier and as a private citizen.

The enormously talented Houdon wisely accepted Washington’s advice. Indeed, Washington knew it was better to be subtly compared to Cincinnatus than to be overtly linked to Caesar, another Roman, who unlike Cincinnatus, did not surrender his power.

Horatio Greenough, George Washington, 1840, marble, 136 x 102 inches, National Museum of American History (photo: Steve Fernie, CC BY-NC 2.0)

To compare Houdon’s statue to Horatio Greenough’s 1840 statue of Washington only makes this salient point more clear. With the sitter’s urging, Houdon opted for subtlety whereas Greenough decided two generations later to fully embrace a neoclassical aesthetic.  As a result, Houdon’s statue celebrates Washington the man, whereas Greenough deified Washington as a god.

Essay by Dr. Bryan Zygmont

Jefferson’s Monticello

Thomas Jefferson, Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1770-1806. Photo: Rick Stillings (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

A gentleman architect

In an undated note, Thomas Jefferson left clear instructions about what he wanted engraved upon his burial marker:

Here was buried
Thomas Jefferson
Author of the Declaration of American Independence
of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom
Father of the University of Virginia

Jefferson explained, “because by these, as testimonials that I have lived, I wish most to be remembered.” To be certain, there are important achievements Jefferson neglected. He was also the Governor of Virginia, American minister to France, the first Secretary of State, the third president of the United States, and one of the most accomplished gentleman architects in American history. To quote William Pierson, an architectural historian, “In spite of the fact that his training and resources were those of an amateur, he was able to perform with all the insight and boldness of a high professional.”

Indeed, even had he never entered political life, Jefferson would be remembered today as one of the earliest proponents of neoclassical architecture in the United States. Jefferson believed art was a powerful tool; it could elicit social change, could inspire the public to seek education, and could bring about a general sense of enlightenment for the American public. If Cicero believed that the goals of a skilled orator were to Teach, to Delight, and To Move, Jefferson believed that the scale and public nature of architecture could fulfill these same aspirations.

Thomas Jefferson, Monticello (view from the north), Charlottesville, Virginia, 1770-1806. Photo: Virginia Hill (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Return to the classical

Jefferson arrived at the College of William and Mary in 1760 and took an immediate interest in the architecture of the college’s campus and of Williamsburg more broadly. A lifelong book lover, Jefferson began his architectural collection while a student. His first two purchases were James Leoni’s The Architecture of A. Palladio (1715-1720) and James Gibbs’ Rules for Drawing the Several Parts of Architecture (1732).

Although never formally trained as an architect, Jefferson, both while a student and then later in life, expressed dissatisfaction with the architecture that surrounded him in Williamsburg, believing that the Wren-Baroque aesthetic common in colonial Virginia was too British for a North American audience. In an oft-quoted passage from Notes on Virginia (1782), Jefferson critically wrote of the architecture of Williamsburg:

“The College and Hospital are rude, mis-shapen piles, which, but that they have roofs, would be taken for brick-kilns. There are no other public buildings but churches and court-houses, in which no attempts are made at elegance.”

Thus, when Jefferson began to design his own home, he turned not to the architecture then in vogue around the Williamsburg area, but instead to the classically inspired architecture of Antonio Palladio and James Gibbs. Rather than place his plantation house along the bank of a river—as was the norm for Virginia’s landed gentry during the eighteenth century—Jefferson decided instead to place his home, which he named Monticello (Italian for “little mountain”) atop a solitary hill just outside Charlottesville, Virginia.

French Neo-Classicism for an American audience

Construction began in 1768 when the hilltop was first cleared and leveled, and Jefferson moved into the completed South Pavilion two years later. The early phase of Monticello’s construction was largely completed by 1771. Jefferson left both Monticello and the United States in 1784 when he accepted an appointment as America Minister to France. Over the next five years, that is, until September 1789 when Jefferson returned to the United States to serve as Secretary of State under newly elected President Washington, Jefferson had the opportunity to visit Classical and Neoclassical architecture in France.

Thomas Jefferson, Rotunda, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1819-26. Photo: Michael Hebb (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

This time abroad had an enormous effect on Jefferson’s architectural designs. The Virginia State Capitol (1785-1789) is a modified version of the Maison Carrée (16 B.C.E.), a Roman temple Jefferson saw during a visit to Nîmes, France. And although Jefferson never went so far as Rome, the influence that the Pantheon (125 C.E.) had over his Rotunda (begun 1817) at the University of Virginia is so evident it hardly need be mentioned.

Politics largely consumed Jefferson from his return to the United States until the last day of 1793 when he formally resigned from Washington’s cabinet. From this year until 1809, Jefferson diligently redesigned and rebuilt his home, creating in time one of the most recognized private homes in the history of the United States. In it, Jefferson fully integrated the ideals of French neoclassical architecture for an American audience.

In this later construction period, Jefferson fundamentally changed the proportions of Monticello. If the early construction gave the impression of a Palladian two-story pavilion, Jefferson’s later remodeling, based in part on the Hôtel de Salm (1782-87) in Paris, gives the impression of a symmetrical single-story brick home under an austere Doric entablature. The west garden façade—the view that is once again featured on the American nickel—shows Monticello’s most recognized architectural features. The two-column deep extended portico contains Doric columns that support a triangular pediment that is decorated by a semicircular window. Although the short octagonal drum and shallow dome provide Monticello a sense of verticality, the wooden balustrade that circles the roofline provides a powerful sense of horizontality. From the bottom of the building to its top, Monticello is a striking example of French Neoclassical architecture in the United States.

Rembrandt Peale, Thomas Jefferson, 1805, oil on linen, 28 x 23 1/2 in (New-York Historical Society)

Jefferson changed political parties and was a Democratic-Republican by the time he was elected president. He believed the young United States needed to forge a strong diplomatic relationship with France, a country Jefferson and his political brethren believed were our revolutionary brothers in arms. With this in mind, it is unsurprising that Jefferson designed his own home after the neoclassicism then popular in France, a mode of architecture that was distinct from the style then fashionable in Great Britain. This neoclassicism—with roots in the architecture of ancient Rome—was something Jefferson was able to visit while abroad.

Buildings that speak to democratic ideals

By helping to introduce classical architecture to the United States, Jefferson intended to reinforce the ideals behind the classical past: democracy, education, rationality, civic responsibility. Because he detested the English, Jefferson continually rejected British architectural precedents for those from France. In doing so, Jefferson reinforced the symbolic nature of architecture. Jefferson did not just design a building; he designed a building that eloquently spoke to the democratic ideals of the United States. This is clearly seen in the Virginia State Capitol, in the Rotunda at the University of Virginia, and especially in his own home, Monticello.

Essay by Dr. Bryan Zygmont[supanova_question]