Classroom Use of the Art Print
Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980), Tower Bridge, London, 1925. Oil on canvas; 30" x 50". The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Bequest of Putnam Dana McMillan.
THINGS TO LEARN
* While it was Oskar Kokoschka's style to paint with jagged, rapidly painted lines to show a maze of buildings beside the river, it was probably a more effective way of capturing the feeling of the view than trying to paint all the buildings in detail. In a way it is like the problem of trying to show the jungle-covered hanks of a tropical river without getting lost in detail.
To advance their understanding of the problem of how much detail to use in a picture, students may compare Kokoschka's solution in this picture with work by the Italian painter, Canaletto, who also painted river and city scenes.
* When looking at Kokoschka's art, it is easy to imagine the passion with which he used his brush to create this picture. Artistic passion may show itself in numbers of ways, however, and students may understand this better if they compare this painting with one of those of the same river by the English artist, J.M.W. Turner. Turner's painting style is as different from Kokoschka's as it is possible to be and yet Turner also shows his passion for the river and its surroundings.
* Many students will be familiar with the kind of painting done by French Impressionists, because it has been very popular for over a century and reproductions are present everywhere in books and on walls. German Expressionism is much less well known and may be less easy for students to understand. And students may know very little about "Art Nouveau" that influenced Kokoschka early in his career.
Since Kokoschka grew up among Art Nouveau and Expressionist artists, students may need to study examples of this style if they are to appreciate Kokoschka's painting more fully. The best single example of an Art Nouveau artist in Austria at the time is Gustav Klimt, while an Expressionist painter that strongly influenced Kokoschka was the Norwegian artist, Edvard Munch.
If students are interested in finding out more about Art Nouveau and Expressionism they are sure to find something in a school encyclopedia, the Internee or, better still, a book on art history. …