Can be implemented by a visual arts, drama, social studies or language arts teacher with opportunities for cross-curricular collaboration.
Producing, Executing and Performing
Developing Arts Literacies:
Analyzing and Evaluating - Critique
Connecting to History and Culture
Communication and Collaboration
Students will research information on artists' lives and works. They will prepare works of art based on their understanding of the artists, their time and place in history, and their works. Students then create an art show for their copies of these artists' paintings/sculptures. Students, pretending to be artists, are interviewed on video alongside their paintings. This video will be shown as part of the exhibition.
Study a famous artist from the list provided
Study the artist's works
Write a biography of his or her life
Choose one piece of art from the artist's catalog that they want to recreate
(paint or sculpture) Plan an art show to highlight the created art pieces
Research the time period of the artist and its relationship to his or her work
Dress as the artist would have dressed during the time period
Participate in videotaped interviews as the artists in an Entertainment Tonight™ type of segment
Participate in an art show
Comprehensive Arts Education
Determined by Teacher
What You'll Need
1 Computer per Classroom
This lesson will allow students to conduct research on famous artists in history.
For more information about the various artists, visit:
Prior Student Knowledge
Familiarity with different artistic styles
Large Group Instruction
Small Group Instruction
Before the students enter the room, place large chart paper around the room, and pictures, from the artists the class will discuss, beside a piece of chart paper. Try to have a minimum of twelve different artists whose work will be displayed alongside a piece of chart paper on which notes will be made.
Resources in Reach
Here are the resources you'll need for each activity, in order of instruction.
1. Begin by asking students if they have ever heard of Van Gogh, Picasso, Da Vinci, Renoir, or Monet Hold up reproductions of various works of art by the artists you have chosen and allow the students to comment on the pieces. (include any artist you think important).
2. Distribute the 'Questions for Viewing'
worksheet located within the Resource Carousel. These questions will help them understand the paintings. They ask themselves the questions, and try to answer them to the best of their knowledge. It should help them gain further insight into the painting/sculpture and the artist.
3. Have the students use this 'Questions for Viewing' worksheet as they walk around the room and view the pictures.Have the students write comments on the chart paper attached to each picture. The comments should be something they noticed about the pictures/sculptures immediately, an aspect they liked, colors that drew them into the pictures, a model's pose, the historical time frame, an interesting portion of the picture/sculpture, etc.
1. Have students return to their seats. Start at one end of the room and work your way around from picture to picture, discussing each piece of art and the comments written beside it, one at a time.
2. Read the comments and pose the following questions to the class:
Are all of the comments are similar or can everyone see something different?
Did any of the other students’ comments help them better understand the picture or give them any insight into what the artist was trying to capture or express?
Discuss the time period in which the work was created.
Discuss any of the more unusual or outstanding comments.
3. Explain to the students that they will choose one of the artists from the 'Famous Artist List' Info Sheet located within the Resource Carousel and write a biography of that person (including information on the historical time period that they lived), recreate a piece of their art, become the artist for on interview, and hold an art show.
4. Show the video The video Art Made Easy: Let's Discover Art History! (23 minutes) shows students famous works of art, helping them to observe, ask questions, and come up with answers, encouraging further observation.
5. After the video, answer any questions students might have concerning observing art work.
1. Break the students up into groups of four. Have each group choose the artists they will study. Their groups' names will be the same as the artist they have chosen, (i.e., "The Monet group," etc.)
2. Have the students explore the printed materials on the artists they chose to study, and their works of art. The following Web sites have a very comprehensive listing of artists and their works:
These Web sites are places to begin. If the students do not find all they need, they can branch out to other Websites on their artist.
3. Continue to explore artists, using the media center and Internet sources. The students may divide up the artist's life and each explore a portion with the works created during that time. Students will come back together and share their information. They should write a biography/synopsis of the time period they researched. These biographies/synopses should not only be shared with their group verbally, but also printed for each person in the group.
4. Have each group choose the work they would each like to recreate to represent their artist’s life. They will then set about recreating a work of art from their chosen artist.
5. Give students at least two class periods to create the work.
The point is not to have an exact replica of the artists' work, but to have an interpretive piece based on their feelings about the chosen work of art.
Emphasize that it does not have to be a perfect copy. The theme and individual elements will be the same.
Walk around while these masterpieces are being created, to help with ideas and guidance.
Students may use the same materials the artist used: watercolors, pastels, crayons, acrylic paint
(substitute for oil paint), modeling clay, wire, wood or styrofoam.
1. Distribute the 'Assignments for Group Work' activity handout. Have students meet back in their groups and plan their art show assignments students should chose and some may have more than one assignment depending on the size of the group. Each group will decide:
Who will represent the artist?
Who will help with costume design?
Who will mat the pictures and set up the display?
Who will videotape the segment?
Who will write the interview questions?
Who will be the interviewer?
2. Once decided, each person is assigned duties relating to their positions. Descriptions of the jobs are as follows:
Artists: will answer questions about the artwork (needs to understand his/her own artwork as well as the artwork for others in the group), act, and dress like the artist during the art show and videotaped segments.
Costume Designer: will research clothes the artist might have worn and provide the closest appropriate attire.
Framer/Set Designer: will provide appropriate mats for pictures or stands for sculpture and place accordingly for the filming and interview.
Camera Person: will film the segments and edit if possible into a video to be shown to the school.
Writers: will prepare interview questions based on the artist and the works of art and the time period of the artist.
Interviewer: will pretend to be a reporter and ask questions of the artist from a script the writer of the group has prepared.
3. Students will tape and produce the interview segments based on the assigned duties. While one group is taping, others may quietly watch, and learn different ways to ask questions and give answers to make their segment stronger.
4. Have students write invitations for parents/friends. The art show may be held in the cafeteria, hallway, or lobby of the school. Each artist's work is presented and the video will be shown. All artists should be on hand to answer questions about them and their artwork.
Assess your student's work using the 'Assessment Rubric' located within the Resource Carousel.
The National Standards For Arts Education:
Grade 5-8 Theater Standard 1
Script writing by the creation of improvisations and scripted scenes based on personal experience and heritage, imagination, literature, and history
Grade 5-8 Theater Standard 2
Acting by developing basic acting skills to portray characters who interact in improvised and scripted scenes
Grade 5-8 Theater Standard 4
Directing by organizing rehearsals for improvised and scripted scenes
Grade 5-8 Theater Standard 5
Researching by using cultural and historical information to support improvised and scripted scenes
Grade 5-8 Visual Arts Standard 1
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
Grade 5-8 Visual Arts Standard 3
Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
Grade 5-8 Visual Arts Standard 4
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Grade 5-8 Visual Arts Standard 6
Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
Historical Understanding Standard 2
Understands the historical perspective
Language Arts Standard 1
Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process
Language Arts Standard 2
Uses the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing
Language Arts Standard 3
Uses grammatical and mechanical conventions in written compositions
Language Arts Standard 4
Gathers and uses information for research purposes
Language Arts Standard 7
Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational...
Language Arts Standard 8
Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes
Common Core/State Standards
Select state and grade(s) below, then click "Find" to display Common Core and state standards.