November 12, 2016

All Eyes

In one of the furthest corners of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (gallery 296 for interested parties) lies a most fascinating collection of teensy tiny portraits of eyeballs.

These "Lovers' Eyes" were perhaps popularized by George IV in the 1700's. They're miniature size meant they could be worn clandestinely, a perfect way to celebrate your secret love. These tiny eyes were painted on ivory and decorated with pearls, fine fabrics, or jewels. FANCY.

My 5-6 year old students saw these and theorized about the provenances of each piece, noting the size, details, and settings.

Back in the studio, armed with mirrors, the kids made portraits of their own eyes on one of my favorite mediums: shrinky dink film! 

Once shrunk (a week later! Much patience from these jokers), students added felt, gems and jewels to make stunning necklaces and pins that (I think) anyone would be excited to wear:

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