Art and Design KS2: Henri Rousseau’s 'Surprised!'

A statue comes to life in a magical gallery and falls into the painting 'Surprised!' by Henri Rousseau.

Inside the painting she explores Rousseau’s use of imagination in painting, the techniques Rousseau used and his placement within the artistic world in Paris during his lifetime and his influence on the art world since.

In a mixture of live action, animation and elements of the painting itself, the episode brings the painting to life and ends by encouraging viewers to imagine a place they have never been and then to visit that place by painting it.

This clip is from the series Your Paintings.

Teacher Notes

Children could be shown a selection of pictures which appear to tell a story and then asked to tell each other what the story might be - real or fictitious?

Where possible, visit a local art gallery which has an art interpreter who will show the children similar paintings which hold meaning and significance within them.

They can also usually explain the back-story which inspired the artist to create it.

Children could then create their own story pictures inspired by real events, visits or adventures in their lives, adding deeper meaning (and perhaps symbolism) as opposed to making a purely literal picture.

Alternatively, they could be given a short story to translate into a picture format instead.

These activities will encourage both artistic curiosity and a deeper understanding of the meanings behind works of art.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Art and Design at KS2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and at 2nd Level in Scotland.