The Builders, The Family

The Builders,
The Family
How to “Read” Art
Scan for First Impressions
Close Reading: Examine a Focal Point
Ask Questions: Interpret Details
Analyze Artistic Technique
Analyze Subject Matter
Put It All Together
First Impressions
• Strong vertical lines; family is in a triangle with
workers arched around them
• Vivid colors; blue predominates, red and
yellow are accenting colors
• Tools are distinguishable and in use.
• Picture is active; family is moving; builders are
in action, working
• The father is central to the picture, in black,
tallest, gripping wife and child.
Close Reading
• All the lines of the picture are moving
skyward; the boards are vertical and jagged
and create an arch around the family as well
as thrust upward
• One of the builders is climbing, another is
reaching upward
• The family is arranged in a triangle so the
tallest point, the father, creates an apex
Ask Questions
• Why has Lawrence included the builders with
the family?
• Why is the picture called The Builders rather
than Family on a Walk?
• How do the colors picture pull together and
separate the builders and the family?
• Why is the picture so geometric, with vertical
and horizontal lines, squares and rectangles?
Artistic Techniques
• Sharp vertical lines; vivid colors with no
• Shapes are rough, geometrical; little detail in
drawing facial features, though faces seem to
be smiling
Subject Matter
• The title makes the picture seem to be about the
builders, but the family is at the center of t he
painting. The link between the family and the
builders seems to be that the builders form an arch
around the family and their building and the family’s
movement suggests they are both working together,
moving forward and building upward to make things
better. The vibrant colors and positive facial
expressions also reinforce the positive feel of the
Putting it all together
• Write a topic sentence that answers one of
your questions about looking at the art. Then
write a paragraph where you support your
statement with evidence from the work.
• Ex. Topic Sentence: Because the picture
represents how parents can build a better
future for their children, the picture is called
The Builders rather than Family on a Walk.
This is a Family Living in Harlem
Compare and Contrast
Use the Venn Diagram to compare the two works of art.
The Builders, The Family
This is a Family Living in Harlem

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