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Compare and Connect: How can portraiture express identity and emotion? (Ready to Go Resource)

Ready-to-go resources are short, flexible learning activities that center art as texts. In “Compare and Connect” students use a guiding question to compare works of art within the context of a shared theme and produce brief writing examples. The activities are presented in google slide decks with teaching notes to make classroom implementation easy.

Beverly McIver's Truly Grateful and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff's Portrait of Emy.

Guiding Question: How does portraiture express identity and emotion?

Featuring Beverly McIver’s Truly Grateful and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff’s Portrait of Emy.

Make your own copy! Check the slide notes for the teacher’s guide.


Total Activity Pacing: 30 minutes across 2 days

Grade(s): 9-12

Activity Overview:

  • In this Compare and Connect activity, students will analyze two portraits and consider how the artists express the emotions and identities of their subjects. Students will write a narrative account as a diary entry from the perspective of one of the subjects. Alternative prompts for social studies, science, and SEL are suggested in the teacher notes for day two. 
  • In Day One: Discuss, students will look at the two paintings and identify the emotions the subjects might feel. Students will discuss how the emotions are conveyed, why the subjects may feel multiple or conflicting emotions, and what emotions may reveal about identity and personality.
  • In Day Two: Write, students will write write a diary entry from the perspective of one of the subjects. Extension prompts are suggested for ELA, social studies, science, and SEL.