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Talking Pictures Week 11: Shadows and Silhouettes

Augustin Amant Edouart (1789 - 1861), Self portrait

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

You can download an Irish language version of this page in PDF format here.

About the artwork
This artwork is a silhouette self-portrait by Augustin Amant Edouart, a French artist who moved to Cork in 1834, where he made hundreds of portraits of people in Cork city and all around Ireland. Edouart used fine sharp scissors to perfectly snip a portrait of somebody out of black paper in just 5 minutes. Here is Edouart himself dressed in fine clothing with a top hat and cane.

What is a silhouette?
A silhouette is the image of a person, animal, object or scene represented as a solid shape of a single colour, usually black, seen against a light background.

What would happen if…

Silly Hats
This man, Augustin Edouart, is holding a big tall maybe a bit silly hat but it didn’t seem silly at the time because that was the fashion back then!

What if he had a different hat? What hat can you imagine on his head... What hat would he wear if he was sailing a ship, or barbecuing or if he was a Viking or if he was a clown? Think of all the silly hats you can imagine.

Silhouette Shape Shifter!
Because we can only see his silhouette, we don’t know if Augustin is a man sitting on a chair or is he a man with crab legs who is really a crab-man! What are all those places listed on the wall behind him? Is Augustin a shapeshifter, changing into a different animal for every place he visits?

So if in Cork he is a Crab

In Kinsale, he is a K_____________

In Dublin, he is a D_____________

In Glasgow, he is a G_____________

In London, he is a L_____________

In Eton, he is an E_____________

In Oxford, he is an O_____________

In Perth, he is a P_____________

Shadow fun… Let’s play

Match the Shadows
Can you tell which shadow on the left belongs to which picture on the right? Could it be a lady in a fancy dress or is it just a fancy bird?

Match the shadows

Shadow Monster
These days it is very sunny so we have shadows to play with outside. Can you make some funny shadow of yourself using some objects?  What are you? Are you an animal? Or something else? Something scary? Ask someone to take a picture of your funny silhouettes we would love to see them!

Make sure you wear sunscreen if you are standing in the sun for a long time.

Human Sundial
Can we use our shadows to tell the time? Our shadows are shorter or longer at different times in the day. If you have a piece of chalk at home (or little stones) stand in a place with space around you and mark around your feet. Come back and place your feet in that spot every hour and get someone to draw or place stones around your shadow, and mark in the time. You can see how the sun has moved because of where your shadows were. The next day come back and see can you tell the time based on the markings you made the day before.

Shadow Fun…Let’s Draw!
Let’s use shadows to help us draw! Stand some of your toys or different objects from your house on pieces of paper like in the photo below and draw around their shadows. The evening time is best for this as the shadows will be longer. Next you can take the objects or toys away and colour in the drawings and add more creative details. What is going on in the scene? Is there a story you can tell from the drawings?

Again with all these outdoor shadow games make sure you wear sunscreen! Have fun!

Source: Mini First Aid

We would love to hear your stories and artworks inspired by Talking Pictures! Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #crawfordartgalleryhomelife.

Talking Picture week 11 was devised by Hazel Hurley
(see her work at

Please share:

Emmett Place, Cork, Ireland
T12 TNE6
Tel: 021 480 5042

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