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7 October 2005

Friday review: Making Art

On today's English Bites review we're going to look back over some of the week's stories. We'll look at some of the words relating to making art - and we'll see how some similar words can be used to talk about different types of art, and also to talk about science.

Let's start by looking at our story about the Archibald Prize. Listen for some words used to describe the type of works that can be entered. What are the rules?
SARAH SCHOFIELD: The founder of the 'Bulletin' magazine, Jules Francois Archibald, left money in his will for an annual portrait prize which the Gallery of NSW started in 1921. The initial rules said that the artist had to live in Australia, the subject was to be distinguished and the portrait painted from life, not from a photograph. In the 84 years it's been running, the Archibald Prize has been anything but dull. During its first 50 years, it faced legal challenges over whether a painting was a caricature or a portrait. Paintings were criticised because the subject wasn't famous enough.

The Archibald prize started in 1921 at the Gallery of New South Wales. The Archibald Prize rules said that the artist had to live in Australia. The subject had to be distinguished.And the portrait had to be painted from life, not a photograph. The 'artist' is the person who made the art - in this case, the person who painted the picture. The 'subject' of the painting is the person or object represented in it. In the Archibald competition, the 'subject' is always a person. A 'portrait' is a painting of a person, often a person's face. The Archibald is a portrait competition - all the paintings are of a person, a 'distinguished' or important person. During the first 50 years of the competition, it faced many challenges. There were questions about whether a painting was a portrait or a caricature.A 'caricature' is a portrait of someone that exaggerates some of their features. It usually makes them look ridiculous. OK, so there's some art words. Artists paint portraits and caricatures of people. Scientists also sometimes need to show how someone or something looks. Let's visit Naracoorte in South Australia, where scientists are trying to solve a mystery.
SIMON ROYAL: Liz Reed is the face of the new breed of palaeontologists. Her work has been likened to a forensic investigator and here, deep underground, the clues to one of the most pressing international questions in science at the moment.

LIZ REED: Why did all of these large marsupials that we have in Australia die out? And that is, if you like, a $64,000 question.

SIMON ROYAL: Likenesses of these large extinct creatures have been recreated above the ground based on tens of thousands of bones found below here over the past 35 years.

STEVE BORNE: When they found that there was, a lot of the Australian megafauna had been described from fossils but only fragments of jaws and teeth, and here, for the very first time, there was complete skulls and skeletons found.

Tens of thousands of bones have been found below the ground at Naracoorte over the past 35 years. The bones belong to large marsupials, but no one knows why they died out. How are scientists solving this mystery? Listen again.
SIMON ROYAL: Likenesses of these large extinct creatures have been recreated above the ground based on tens of thousands of bones found below here over the past 35 years.

To solve this mystery, likenesses of large extinct creatures have been recreated. A likeness is something that looks like another thing. It's like a portrait. Here, the 'likenesses' are 3 dimensional models that have been built or sculpted. 'Portraits' are likenesses that have been painted. There are lots of other words that can describe an artistic copy of something. We can have a 'portrait', a 'likeness', an 'image', 'representation', a 'reproduction', or a 'picture'. All these words are used in slightly different contexts. Just go to our website for more. Ok, so artists paint portraits or make sculptures to represent the world. And scientists use similar methods. Let's move back to the art world and meet some young people trying to find work in the music industry. They're attending a talent school for the weekend. What do they do there?
DIRECTOR OF SPECTACULAR: Today we have three workshops happening. The morning session is song writing and performance based on country style. In the middle session for the day is have to do the sound checks. They've got to rehearse their show, and then this afternoon they perform in front of people from the industry who are going to be very important in their network later on.

The students have to rehearse their show. To 'rehearse' means to practise. 'Rehearse' is a verb. The noun is 'rehearsal'. A 'rehearsal' is a session of practice for a performance.At the end of the day, the students perform. To 'perform' is carry out or do something in front of an audience. In this case, they're performing music. A 'performance' is a presentation of a work - it can be theatre, music or something else that is performed. So we have 'visual artists' - people who make art that gets shown. They're people like painters, sculptors or photographers. Then we have 'performing artists' - people who perform their work - people like musicians, singers and actors. The students are performing artists. They give performances to show off their talents. Visual artists show off their talents at 'exhibitions', usually in galleries. And scientists can also show off their work at exhibitions - the megafauna models are shown at an exhibition, in a museum. And that's all for another week of English Bites. If you missed anything, you can watch all of today's stories on the English Bites website.

story notes

A portrait is a painting of a person, often a personís face. This is a portrait of Alexander Downer.

Initial means first or at the beginning.

Here said is the past tense of the irregular verb say. Follow the link to listen to some examples.
more information: say

The subject of a painting is the person or object represented in it. In this case, the subject is the person who has been painted.

Distinguished means important and respected.

painted from life, not from a photograph
This means that the painter uses the actual person as the model for the painting and not a photograph of them.

A caricature is picture of a person that exaggerate some of their features. Caricatures are mostly used in cartoons. Some people called this painting by William Dobbell of Joshua Smith a caricature and not a portrait.

A palaeontologist is a scientist who studies fossils and bones of dead animals to learn about what life was like on earth thousands, and even millions, of years ago.

forensic investigator
A forensic investigator is someone who investigates crimes by looking closely at the scene of the crime.

$64,000 question
The $64,000 question is a saying that means the most important question.

A likeness is an image or a representation - something that looks like something else. Theyíve made models of very large extinct animals, animals that donít exist anymore.

Mega means great or huge and fauna means animals, so megafauna are literally very large animals.

Fossils are old remains or traces of animals.

A likeness is an image or a representation - something that looks like something else. Here, the likenesses are 3 dimensional models that have been built or sculpted.

A workshop is a meeting that involves practical exercises to help people develop their skills.

A session is a period of activity.

sound checks
A sound check is a test of sound equipment. Itís literally to check the sound.


Here, network is a noun that refers to a group of connected people. In this case, the studentsí network is the group of people in the entertainment industry.