4.15.2012

Comparing "The Hunger Games" to Boccioni's "States of Mind" Art Series


Classroom Connections: Comparing The Hunger Games trilogy to Boccioni's "States of Mind" Art Series on www.hungergameslessons.com


After I read The Hunger Games, I was thinking of artwork that would connect with and depict some of the images and feelings portrayed in Suzanne Collins’ novel. I like to incorporate artwork into lessons when I can; so much of the humanities is related, yet we teach our subjects separately so students often don't see these connections between history, art, music, and literature.


Classroom Connections: Comparing The Hunger Games trilogy to Boccioni's "States of Mind" Art Series on www.hungergameslessons.com
"The Farewells" by Boccioni; Photo courtesy of http://www.quailhollow365.com/
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One artist who always stood out for me was Umberto Boccioni, part of the Futurist art movement of the early 20th century. I used to teach art history as a nine-week course for freshmen; I would show them Boccioni’s sculpture Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913). After a brief discussion, we moved on to Picasso and the Cubists, so we never got to explore Boccioni’s paintings.

Looking at his States of Mind series, I cannot help but think of Katniss and Peeta’s trip to the Capitol and how it affected not only them, but those who were left behind. Even the title of the series conveys differing emotions and "states of mind."

Umberto Boccioni’s States of Mind series (1911) begins with “The Farewells” depicting subjects boarding a train--which in Boccioni’s time was modern transportation. For Katniss and Peeta, the train ride is also a new experience for them.
Classroom Connections: Comparing The Hunger Games trilogy to Boccioni's "States of Mind" Art Series on www.hungergameslessons.com
"Those Who Go" by Boccioni (1911); courtesy of http://www.quailhollow365.com/
The second piece is “Those Who Go.” The colors turn darker, the faces more sinister. I can’t help but think of the paradox that is the Capitol: a world of modern technology and seemingly perfect life, but also a place where these Tributes spend their last days, rather than with their families.


Classroom Connections: Comparing The Hunger Games trilogy to Boccioni's "States of Mind" Art Series on www.hungergameslessons.com
"Those Who Stay" by Boccioni (1911); courtesy of http://www.quailhollow365.com/
“Those Who Stay” is the darkest of the series, showing muted colors with vertical lines. It conveys a depressed feeling. I am sure many of the families of the Tributes feel depressed after their children have left for the Games.

In context, Boccioni might be making a statement about World War I and those who go to fight the war and never return home, much like the Tributes.

Do you see a connection between Boccioni's art and The Hunger Games? What other artworks relate to the series?
I do remember Adam Spunberg mentioning Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights as a connection on one of The Hunger Games Fireside Chat episodes.  That's another piece of work that we covered in my Humanities class that would definitely lend itself to comparison--not to mention some interesting class discussions.

Classroom Connection:
• Ask your students how the Tributes compare to soldiers leaving home for war.
• Have your students find other pieces of artwork to connect to the literature you are reading. 
• Download my resource for handouts and additional creative activities using artwork and poetry:


Helpful Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umberto_Boccioni
http://www.quailhollow365.com/blog/2011/03/artwork-of-the-day-boccionis-states-of-mind/
http://archives2.getty.edu:8082/xtf/view?docId=ead/880380/880380.xml;query=;brand=default

2 comments:

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