Picturing America: Cassatt and Sargent
Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent were American artists who spent much of their lives in Europe, especially Paris. Both were part of the impressionist movement and known for their paintings of children and childhood. Cassatt in particular has been noted for her paintings of mothers and children, echoing traditional Madonna and child paintings but with a new, feminist edge. Learn more about both artists and their work from Picturing America.
View the video (5 minutes) from Picturing America.
- Why was it important that Sargent and Cassatt were in Paris, rather than the United States?
- What is remarkable about Sargent's portraits of children?
- What is a common theme in Cassatt and Sargent's work?
Using Cassatt and Sargent in Class
Conduct a more in-depth study of Cassatt's "The Boating Party" with the lesson plan In Depth with the Full Spectrum (grades 9-12).
- Learn more about Impressionism and other movements in the visual arts with the lesson plan Realistic Impressions: Investigating Movements in the Visual Arts (grades 9-12).
- Learn more about the idea of genre with the lesson plan Genre in the Visual Arts: Portraits, Pears, and Perfect Landscapes (grades 9-12).
- Explore the idea of subject in the visual arts with the lesson plan What's in a Picture? An Introduction to Subject in the Visual Arts (grades 9-12).
- The curriculum Composition in Painting (grades 9-12) offers a series of four lessons introducing students to foundational ideas about visual composition.
- For younger students, introduce portraits and self-portraits with the lesson plan Portraits: I've Just Seen a Face (grades K-5).
Cassatt was a strong supporter of women's rights. Learn more about the early women's rights movement with the following lesson plans:
Women's Equality: Changing Attitudes and Beliefs (grades 9-12)
- Women's Suffrage: Why the West First? (grades 6-12)
- Who Were the Foremothers of the Women's Suffrage and Equality Movements? (grades 6-12)
- Sargent painted Theodore Roosevelt's official White House portrait. Learn more about Roosevelt's presidency in this curriculum: The Jungle, Muckrakers, and Teddy Roosevelt (grades 6-8).