BELOIT -When Beloit Memorial High School (BMHS) teacher Elizabeth Carpenter challenged her students to recreate famous artwork at home, she was surprised with the results.
Students made lifelike recreations of famous paintings in their living rooms and backyards. Carpenter was inspired after learning of the idea from a museum in California. People were supposed to use items at home to remake masterpieces. Carpenter thought the exercise would build family and community within the household. Even if students only places themselves in the picture, someone would have to take the photos.
“It was a good basic project to review the elements of art and principles of design. They were able to choose their work from the 1300s to 1900s,” Carpenter said.
Students also had to do a formal analysis on the painting, how the artist used color, texture and value.
Sophomore Karen Martinez chose the “Saint Cecilia” painting by Guido Reni. Martinez, who is Catholic, said she’s always been drawn to her as Cecilia is the patroness of music. The historic painting of 1606 showed the Saint with a violin, which called to Martinez as she played violin as well. The piece depicted the St. with a veil, red dress looking up to the heavens.
“I didn’t know how I was going to make the dress. I used my mom’s shirt, dad’s shirt and a shoelace,” Martinez said. “I had to put a T-shirt on my head to look like a veil.”
Because part of the Saint’s face is illuminated Martinez knew she had to get the perfect lighting. She hauled out a light and taped her phone to the wall to take the picture from the correct angle.
“I pay a lot of attention to details,” she said. “I like how I kind of look like her a little bit.”
Senior Arabel Gibson recreated Charles Amable Lenoir’s “Pandora” from 1902. The melancholic work shows a picture of Pandora with her box. Gibson said Pandora opened it because of her curiosity, which unleashed everything bad in the world.
“It’s part of Greek mythology and very fitting now,” she said.
Gibson had a little gold box on hand and ideas on how to create a modern Pandora.
“I looked at things that would be easy to recreate, given I only had the spaces and objects in my own house and found images with only one person,” Gibson said. “It was fitting because there were flowers in the background, and there were flowers on my dress.”
Gibson enlisted her younger sister to take pictures in various angels and places. After about an hour-and-a-half photo shoot, they finally found just the right spot.
Gibson said she’s enjoyed her art classes. After graduation on June 6, she will be pursuing illustration studies at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in the fall.
“My hope is to eventually get a job with an illustration firm and pursue my goal of becoming a freelance illustrator,” Gibson said.
Junior Ana Karyme Najera recreated “The Money Changer and His Wife” painting from 1514 with her little sister, Yurida Najera, 9.
Najera said it was challenging to find things around the house, but she had a little sister. She figured out she could use little toys instead of coins.
“I told my younger sister and she was OK with it. She had fun doing it,” Najera said.
Najera said she appreciated how Carpenter brought the unique idea to students as they were sheltering in place.
“It’s something new,” she said.
“The money lender with her sister and her in it was really sweet,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter said all the students did a great job.
“I was so pleased,” she said.