Victor Gabriel Gilbert (1847-1933) was a French artist who liked to paint scenes from the largest marketplace in Paris. This painting is called The Birthday Cake. Spend a bit of time observing this painting, and then answer the questions below. Since the goal of this study is to learn to love art, I recommend that you answer the questions orally, not with pencil and paper.
What do you see in this picture?
What kinds of clothing are Mother and her children wearing? Are they like your clothing?
What country do you think this family lives in?
Whose birthday do you think it is?
Do you think he likes his birthday cake?
Where do you think they are taking this birthday cake?
How is your eye drawn to the “center of interest” — does the direction of the bricks lead your eye into the painting and to Mother holding the baby?
Why is the baby wearing a bright yellow scarf?
What colors do you see in this painting?
How does this painting make you feel?
∗ A “center of interest” is the all-important part of a painting — that part of the picture which attracts the mind and is the brightest and sharpest. Imagine a tic-tac-toe grid across the painting. Each of the four intersections of the tic-tac-toe lines is a “center of interest.”