Looking at the Representational

This week I spent part of a morning at Tate Britain with some young children.  We started out in the Turner galleries where we tried to interest them in the play of light and experimental painting techniques Turner practised, but in each room it was the more detailed Turners or the Constable work placed alongside for the purposes of comparison and contrast which garnered their approval, and avoided the ‘but what’s it meant to be?’ question.

Afterwards, wandering through the rooms which afford a quick gallop through the highlights of the history of British art, I stopped torturing the children with questions about what they saw and what they liked, and left them to look on their own.  It was fascinating to watch them make their own choices about which paintings they would pause in front of.

I think it would be fair to say that they favoured the representational.

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