Apollo Project: Artistic Licence Activity

Drawing
Drawing by Jessica SuppleCredit

Even when artists are inspired by real-life events, they will often use artistic licence to make their depictions of the events more interesting or beautiful, or relevant to a contemporary audience. They might relocate the story to a different geographic location, or even to a different time.

Why not use artistic licence to reimagine a work from the Gallery's collection? You can browse through thousands of artworks in our online collection to find your inspiration.

Reimagining the Liffey Swim

Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957), 'The Liffey Swim', 1923. © National Gallery of Ireland.
Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957), 'The Liffey Swim', 1923. © National Gallery of Ireland.Credit

For this example, we've chosen to reimagine Jack B. Yeats's painting of the annual Liffey Swim race. He painted this work in 1923, but we're going to transplant the action to the future - to 2050!

Materials:

  • A large sheet of paper (A3, if possible)
  • A pencil
  • A glue stick
  • Markers, crayons, colouring pencils, or whatever you have to hand

Instructions:

  1. Look at Yeats's Liffey Swim (above) and outline the key features of the composition on your paper: the crowds (including a self-portrait of Yeats; he's the bearded man with the brown hat), the buildings, the river and the swimmers competing in the race.
  2. Now, let's imagine it's taking place in the year 2050! What clothes might people be wearing? Will the architecture look different? What type of transport will people be using? Let your imagination run riot!
  3. Colour the image in with a nod to the original, but with your own twist!

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