For the past several years, my 2nd graders have been learning about Vincent Van Gogh painting sunflowers. The sunflowers were painted to welcome his friend Paul Gauguin, another artist, who was going to visit Vincent in his yellow house and paint with him. To decorate the guest room for Paul, Vincent painted several paintings of sunflowers. He painted them as a still life; he placed real cut sunflowers in a vase, and painted what he saw. In some of his paintings, a flower is wilting, or falling over. He included these details because that is the way the sunflowers really looked.
Most art teachers reading this post are familiar with Van Gogh's sunflower series, and know this story quite well. Here is an example of Van Gogh's sunflower paintings:
Here is a lesson that I have taught many times to students in 2nd and 3rd grade about Van Gogh.
Today I learned something new. Paul Gauguin actually painted a portrait of Van Gogh painting the sunflowers! I discovered this painting while double-checking my facts on my Van Gogh lesson before posting it on Google Classroom for virtual students today. What an incredible piece of art history!
Van Gogh Painting Sunflowers by Paul Gauguin