Art Show with the Masters

Students will learn about the lives of several different artists through research, painting, and role playing


Key Staff

Can be implemented by a visual arts, drama, social studies or language arts teacher with opportunities for cross-curricular collaboration.

Key Skills

Making Art: Producing, Executing and Performing
Developing Arts Literacies: Analyzing and Evaluating - Critique
Global Connections: Connecting to History and Culture
Creative Thinking: 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.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • 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 Tonightâ„¢ type of segment
  • Participate in an art show

Teaching Approach

Comprehensive Arts Education

Teaching Methods

  • Cooperative Learning
  • Research
  • Role Playing
  • Visual Instruction

Assessment Type

Determined by Teacher


What You'll Need

Required Technology
  • 1 Computer per Classroom
  • Video Camera
Lesson Setup

Teacher Background

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

Physical Space



  • 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.

Accessibility Notes

Students with physical disabilities may need modified movements.


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 (include any artist you think important). Hold up reproductions of various works of art by the artists you have chosen and allow the students to comment on the pieces.

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 Art Made Easy: Let's Discover Art History! The video (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.


1. Assess your student's work using the Assessment Rubric located within the Resource Carousel.


Throughout the nation, standards of learning are being revised, published and adopted. During this time of transition, ARTSEDGE will continually add connections to the Common Core, Next Generation Science standards and other standards to our existing lessons, in addition to the previous versions of the National Standards across the subject areas.

The Arts Standards used in ARTSEDGE Lessons are the 1994 voluntary national arts standards. The Arts learning standards were revised in 2014; please visit the National Core Arts Standards (http://nationalartsstandards.org) for more. The Kennedy Center is working on developing new lessons to connect to these standards, while maintaining the existing lesson library aligned to the Common Core, other state standards, and the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education.

ArtsEdge Lessons connect to the National Standards for Arts Education, the Common Core Standards, and a range of other subject area standards.

Common Core/State Standards

Select state and grade(s) below, then click "Find" to display Common Core and state standards.

National Standards For Arts Education
National Standards in Other Subjects



Daniella Garran
Original Writer

Lisa Brizendine
Original Writer



  • Churchill, Mark. Painting Masterpieces: Recreating 30 Works by Famous Artists. New York Sterling. 1998
  • Krull, Kathleen. Lives of the Artists: Masterpieces, Messes (and What the Neighbors Thought). Florida. Harcourt 1995.
  • Stokstad, Marliyn. Art History Abrams New York. 1995.
  • Venezia, Mike. Da Vinci Scholastic Library. Conneticut. 1990.
  • Venezia, Mike Georgia O'Keeffe Scholastic Library. Connecticut. 1990.
  • Venezia, Mike Monet Scholastic Library. Connecticut. 1990.
  • Venezia, Mike. Picasso Scholastic Library. Conneticut. 1990.
  • Venezia, Mike. Pierre Auguste Renoir. Scholastic Library. Conneticut. 1990.
  • Venezia, Mike Rembrandt Scholastic Library. Connecticut. 1990.
  • Venezia, Mike. Van Gough Scholastic Library. Conneticut. 1990.


  • Robinson, Patricia. Art Made Easy: Let's Discover Art History! Produced and Directed by Tmw Media Group. 2000. Videocassette.

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