Tableaux Vivant!

There are really two reasons we do Tableaux Vivant. The first is to make you truly consider what the important details of an artwork are – if someone could only show you a select detail or two, what would those details need to be so that you would recognize your artwork. The second reason is to help create a lasting impression of that artwork in your mind. Something you have role-played and thought out is highly likely to stick with you.

OK, there is a third reason; it is way goofy and it makes me laugh.

The Rules:

  • You are to create a tableaux vivant of an artwork of your choice.
  • Your only choices are the following works:
    • Giovanni Arnolfini and his Bride
    • Birth of Venus by Botticelli (keep it clean and school appropriate)
    • Sacrifice of Isaac, by Ghilberti
    • The Merode Altarpiece (any or all panels)
  • Remember that a tableaux vivant is about creating a “living picture” using real people, appropriate props, and appropriate settings.
  • Your selection and performance must be PG and school appropriate.  That includes following school dress code, no classical or moralizing nudity, no shirtless students.  You will be disqualified and receive a zero if you fail to meet these standards.
  • If you are submitting this tableaux for just you, you do not have to be in the photo.
  • If you are doing this with a classmate and y’all wish to turn it in as a group submission, then every participant must be in the photo.
  • You will need to secure your own props. They need to be school appropriate.

More difficult works to reproduce are given more leeway, corresponding with the difficulty. More simple works are held to greater scrutiny, as there is less to work with.

The background matters just as much as any other component of the artwork.

This is about reproducing an artwork using what is at hand. It is not about sticking your head through a photo of an artwork. It is not about taking a picture of a flower and calling it an O’keefe. These methods do not allow for the demonstration of the student’s understanding of the artwork and goes against the spirit of the assignment.

The Performance:
Your tableaux vivant is due Monday, February 6th, by 11:00 p.m. This is a formative grade.

You are to submit your tableaux vivant digitally. Be sure to include your name in the file name for easy identification. You may turn in your work via dropbox or any other file sharing service, portable external drive, or email.

If your performance needs special considerations, the let me know in advance (but always trying to not let me know what you are doing).

The Tableaux Vivant Evaluation:
Each tableaux vivant will be graded regarding the following criteria:

  • Recognizable. I do not want to know in advance what you are performing because I want your performance to be so dead-on that I can easily recognize it.
  • Verisimilitude. Beyond just recognition, how correct and accurate is your performance.
  • Appropriateness of props and background.
  • Attention to detail (important details; iconography, etc.).
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