Third graders learned about the French painter Henri Rousseau (1844-1910). A self-trained artist, Rousseau is best known for his jungle paintings, created entirely from his imagination. Although Rousseau never traveled to these exotic places, he would visit the botanical gardens in Paris and sketch plants in preparation for his paintings. These whimsical, dream-like works reward the viewer with their lush and layered surfaces. Stylistically speaking, Rousseau’s departure from realism was both unusual for the time and a major influence for artists of the early 20th century.
Third graders created diorama jungle scenes based on Rousseau’s work. They identified the foreground, middle ground, and background in several of the artist’s paintings and focused on creating those spaces within their own work.