Adventures in Art History Adventures in Art    

Lesson 34: The Can-can

by Georges-Pierre Seurat


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    Adventures in Art History Adventures in Art    

Lesson 34: The Can-can

by Georges-Pierre Seurat

Directions

Study the painting for one week.

Over the week:

  • Look at the painting.
  • Read the synopsis.
  • Study the vocabulary words.
  • Read about the artist.
  • Practice reciting the names of the artist and the painting.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.
  • Study the review questions.

Synopsis

Georges Seurat's 'La Chahut' (English - The Can-can) invites us to attend a 19th century evening at 'La Moulin Rouge' cabaret in Paris, France. With a red windmill on its roof, the Moulin Rouge (English - Red Mill) is a landmark in Paris. 'La Chahut' shows dancers kicking their pointed feet into the air. Below the stage watch the conductor, musicians, and a few of the audience members. When Seurat painted this work, the Can-can was scandalous due to the high kicks and other gestures of the dance. Seurat used his technique of pointillism to create 'La Chahut.'

Vocabulary

Pointillism: A technique of painting using tiny dots of colors, which blend in the viewer's eye.
Windmill: A building with sails or vanes that turn in the wind.
Cabaret: Entertainment held in a nightclub or restaurant.
Can-can: A lively, high-kicking stage dance.
Conductor: A person who directs a performance.
Musician: A person who plays a musical instrument.
Audience: The group of spectators or listeners at a public event.
Scandalous: Causing public outrage by a perceived offense.

Concepts

Georges-Pierre Seurat painted 'The Can-can.'

  1. Georges Seurat was born in 1859, in Paris, France. See his picture below.
  2. Find Seurat's country of birth on the map of Europe below.
  3. Seurat pioneered the painting technique of pointillism. In pointillism, artists apply many small dots of color close together such that they blend together when viewed from a distance.
  4. In 1891, Seurat died at the age of 31 of an unknown illness in Paris.

Enrichment

Activity 1: Can You Find It?

During the week, study the painting and find the following:

  • Dancers
  • Musicians
  • Audience
  • Conductor

Activity 2: Narrate the Painting

  • After studying the painting, narrate the scene shown in the painting aloud using your own words.

Activity 3: Complete Vocabulary Activities

  • While studying the vocabulary words, point them out in the painting.
  • Define each of the vocabulary words in your own words.

Activity 4: Color the Painting   

  • Click the crayon above, and complete page 43 of 'Kindergarten Art History Coloring Book.'

Activity 5: Act Out the Painting

  • One day this week, listen to the video below and instruct children to kick their legs out in time to the beat.
  • Play the roles of the conductor, the dancers, and the audience.

Review

Question 1

What is the setting of the painting?
1 / 3

Answer 1

A cabaret.
1 / 3

Question 2

Who are the characters in the painting?
2 / 3

Answer 2

Dancers, musicians, and the audience.
2 / 3

Question 3

What is happening in the painting?
3 / 3

Answer 3

The dancers kick their legs and the musicians play music. The audience enjoys the show.
3 / 3

  1. What is the setting of the painting? A cabaret.
  2. Who are the characters in the painting? Dancers, musicians, and the audience.
  3. What is happening in the painting? The dancers kick their legs and the musicians play music. The audience enjoys the show.

References

  1. 'Georges-Pierre Seurat.' Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org. n.p.