Louise Bourgeois For Older Children



Louise Bourgeois

American, born in France, 1911-2010

Subject: Symbolism

Activity: Labeling symbolic body parts

Materials: Large sheet of paper and colored pencils or crayons

Vocabulary: Carve, depict, symbolism


Louise Bourgeois was a sculptor who was born in France but worked in the United States. Her career lasted for more than seventy years, and she worked as an artist until her death at the age of ninety-eight. Bourgeois was interested in how our deepest feelings and memories could be expressed through art. This sculpture depicts a pair of eyes and is carved from a large piece of marble. The eyes are often used as symbols of sight, and in turn the act of seeing is often symbolic of knowledge.


Can you think of anything else eyes might be symbolic of?

In what ways are these eyes different from a real set of eyes?

How would they feel and work differently?

By making something very soft (eyes) out of something very hard (marble), how has the artist changed their meaning?


Place a large piece paper on the floor. Using crayons or colored pencils, ask someone to help you trace an outline of your body onto the paper. Label the different parts of your body. Now label those parts with feelings or ideas that they may symbolize. For example, the eyes are often symbols of sight, and the heart is often a symbol of love. Are there certain experiences or emotions that you associate with different parts of your body?


Carve —To cut away from a surface

Depict —To represent by a picture

Symbolism —Representing an idea or concept through images