The Athenaeum is an evolving set of online tools for anyone with an interest in history, archaeology, philosophy, or the arts. In its current state, The Athenaeum — Art is an excellent resource for any teacher looking for examples of artwork. The Athenaeum has 48,949 artworks by 3,620 artists.
At first, the site and its overlapping search functions can be confusing. There are a number of ways to locate artists and their works. A specific artist search from the home page will produce a Google search page with a link to all artworks on the site. Searching by the title of the artwork produces a narrower result.
A more economical approach is to search an artist by name on The Athenaeum — Art page’s alphabetized page.
Users can also browse art by artist, title of artwork, medium, year completed, and other categories not particularly useful for a general viewer. Each browsing list can be sorted in ascending and descending order.
Here are some lessons that could be used in conjunction with this website.
- Portraits: I've Just Seen a Face
Students in grades 3-5 examine our desire to capture the human in image and words. In one activity, students analyze archival portraits of children.
- Edward Hopper's House by the Railroad: From Painting to Poem
Students in grades 6-8 explore the emotions generated by Hopper's painting and Hirsch's poem, and analyze how the painter and poet achieved these responses. The Athenaeum image is larger.
- Composition and Content in the Visual Arts
Students in grades 9-12 analyze ways in which the composition of a painting contributes to telling a story or conveying a message through the placement of objects and images within the painting.