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Perspective Taking through Art

Grades 7 through 12

We will offer a selection of in-person and virtual field trips (using Zoom) for winter/spring 2024.

Requests for winter/spring field trips (January 8 – May 31, 2024) will be accepted from December 1, 2023 – April 5, 2024.

Art can be a powerful tool for cultivating empathy, respect, and self-awareness. Students will experience two or three works of art from different perspectives on this field trip using creative writing, visual note-taking, and movement techniques.

Students will be encouraged to think critically, as a group, about the multiple perspectives that exist within and around a work of art. They will attempt to step into the shoes of the artist or a figure represented in a work of art—and consider the different experiences and viewpoints they discover in the process.

Two men, a woman, and three children, all with brown skin, gather around a table in a house in this horizontal painting. A bespectacled, white-haired man sits to our left, wearing a black coat and suit. He looks up and to our right, his chin slightly lifted. A black top hat and a book sit near his feet, and a gray umbrella leans against the back of his worn wooden chair. Opposite him, to our right, a younger man has short black hair and a trimmed beard. He props one elbow on a cigar box on the table and rests his chin in that hand. With his other hand, he grasps the lapel of his slate-blue jacket, which is worn over a cream-white shirt. There is a patch in one elbow of the jacket and on one of the knees in his tan-colored pants. Two small children gather around him. The smallest child turns away from us as they rest their folded arms and head on one of the man's knees. That child wears a knee-length, dress-like garment striped with parchment brown and beige. Behind the man, to our right, a slightly older boy kneels on a bench on the far side of the table and rests his elbows on the white tablecloth. That boy wears an aquamarine-blue shirt and dove-gray pants. Both children are barefoot. On the far side of the table, near the older man, a woman stands and leans forward to spoon food into the white dish he holds. She wears a red kerchief tied around her head and a fog-blue apron over a white shirt patterned with a muted indigo-blue grid. A young girl, the oldest child, stands on the far side of the table between the younger man and woman. Seen from the chest up, the girl's face and body are angled to our right, toward her father, but she looks to our left from the corners of her eyes. She wears a coral-red, high-collared garment with white polka dots. On the table is a serving bowl, cup, and a kettle. Behind the woman, one door of a tall  brick-red cupboard is ajar. Plates and vessels line the shelves within. A fireplace to the right has an opening as tall as the stooping woman. The mantle is lined with a manual coffee grinder, a white jar painted with a blue design, and clothes irons. A circus poster hangs behind the open door of the cupboard. A string of dried red chilis hangs next to a window between the poster and fireplace mantle. A banjo rests on a stool in front of the table, and a white cat licks a pie plate near the father's feet. The aritst signed and dated the painting in the lower right corner,

Richard Norris Brooke, A Pastoral Visit, 1881, oil on canvas, Corcoran Collection (Museum Purchase, Gallery Fund), 2014.136.119

Looking and Learning Skills

On this field trip, students will explore two or three works of art from different perspectives using creative writing, visual note-taking, and movement techniques. Students will practice the following skills:

  • Making and articulating careful observations.
  • Formulating questions that demonstrate curiosity and connection through empathy.
  • Examining works of art from the perspectives of peers, the artists, and the people in the art.
  • Reasoning with evidence from the works of art themselves—developing narratives based on what's seen in the work of art.
  • Connecting new ideas to prior knowledge and personal experience.

In-Person Field Trip Information

Group Size: Up to 60 students
Length: 90 minutes; Offered at 12:30 p.m. or 1:45 p.m.
Meeting Location: West Building Rotunda

Important Scheduling Information

Field trips must be scheduled at least four weeks in advance. Groups must contain at least 15 students.

Once your field trip has been scheduled, you will receive an email confirmation within ten business days.

Title I Bus Stipends

Funding for the cost of bus transportation is available for Title I schools that participate in our docent-led school field trips. For more information, please get in touch with Deirdre Palmer at [email protected] or (202) 842-6880, or use the application form.

Examples of Works Featured on this Field Trip

Additional National Gallery Resources

Related Resources