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How to
Use the Activities


Inquiry Question

Historical Context




Table of

Putting It All Together

The following activities engage students in a number of ways that let them discover how the sculptor or sculpture relates to the world around them.

Activity 1: Artist and Client
Have students pair up, with one student representing a client and the other student playing the role of artist. Give each pair one pound of modeling clay, which the artist will use to design and create a sculpture that will meet the needs of the patron (client). In consultation with the artist, the client should select a subject for the work. This could be a portrait of the client, a friend, family member, pet, admired hero, or celebrity. Or the sculpture might be symbolic of a concept such as liberty, freedom, justice, valor, good sportsmanship, citizenship, etc. The client may establish criteria for the work (a bas-relief, bust, or full figure; whether the person is holding anything; whether the sculpture is figurative or abstract; etc.), or may leave the design entirely to the artist. If the sculptor is to create a portrait of someone he or she does not know, then the client should bring a photograph.

Once the patron and sculptor have agreed upon a subject, then the artist should withdraw to create the work. Once the sculpture is finished, have the artist and client get back together to discuss the completed work. Is this what the client had in mind? Why or why not? Did the artist feel the client's guidance was clear? Are they both pleased with the results; both displeased; one satisfied and one not? Have the pairs share their works with the rest of the class.

Finally, hold a full class discussion about the pros and cons of the artist-client relationship. What effect does that relationship have on the type of art produced? How does that art illustrate the values of society? What other options are there to financially support artists? What impact does each of those options have on artistic freedom of expression?

Activity 2: Coins, Coins, Coins
Have students examine again the images of the $20 gold piece designed by Saint-Gaudens. Remind them that coins usually depict individuals or symbols that are important to the identity, accomplishments, goals, or ideals of the country that created them. Ask them to sketch a coin that they would like to see circulated around the United States. Remember that they must sketch two sides. Have the students share their sketches with the class and explain why they chose the images and symbolism they used.

Activity 3: Meet the Cornish Colony
Provide students with the following list of names of people who came to live at the Cornish Colony. In order to help the class more fully understand the influence of the Cornish Colony on the world of arts and letters, ask students to pick one of the names, conduct research on that person, and write a short biography. Select some of the biographies and ask the authors to read them aloud to the class.

Herbert Adams
James Earle Fraser
Henry O. Walker
Maxfield Parrish
Witter Bynner
Ethel Barrymore
Lucia Fuller
Charles Dana Gibson
John Elliott
Peter Finley Dunne
Norman Hapgood
Louis Shipman
Arthur Whiting

Charles A. Platt
Frances Grimes
Elsie Ward Hering
Percy MacKaye
William Vaughn Moody
Henry Fuller
Kenyon Cox
Everett Shinn
Maude Howe Elliott
Herbert Croly
William Metcalf
Ellen Shipman

Activity 4: Exploring the Artist's World
Have students conduct further research on the life of Saint-Gaudens, the Cornish Colony, or American sculpture in general, and prepare an oral report for the class. Possible sources include: Burke Wilkinson, Uncommon Clay: The Life and Works of Augustus Saint Gaudens (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985); Louisa Hall Tharp, Saint-Gaudens and The Gilded Age (Boston: Little, Brown, 1969); John H. Dryfhout, The Work of Augustus Saint-Gaudens (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1982); and A Circle of Friends (Durham: University of New Hampshire, 1985).

Activity 5: Local Wonders
Have students identify and complete research on monuments in their own community. A good place to start looking for information might be a local historical society or public library. As part of their investigation students should conduct research on the origin and purpose of the sculpture, as well as learn about the artist. If possible, students should visit and photograph the monument. As part of the classroom follow-up to their research students should compare the imagery, style, and power to evoke emotion, realism, or symbolism with the type employed by Saint-Gaudens.



Comments or Questions

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