/educators/lessons/grade-9-12/Five_Artists_of_the_Mexican_Revolution

Five Artists of the Mexican Revolution

Discover the art and artists who were influenced by and portrayed the events of the Mexican Revolution.

Overview

Key Staff

Primary instructor

Key Skills

Global Connections: Connecting to History and Culture
Information Media and Technology: Research and Information Fluency
Life and Career Skills: Productivity and Accountability

Summary

Much of Mexican art at the beginning of the 20th century was influenced by or created in response to historical events. In this lesson, students will research the major events and personalities of the Mexican Revolution and explore how these people and events influenced the artists and art of this time period. Students will create an original piece of artwork that demonstrates the style of one of the artists studied.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Learn about the Mexican Revolution.
  • Research prominent revolutionary figures from the Mexican Revolution.
  • Research five famous Mexican artists associated with the Mexican Revolution.
  • Learn to identify an artist by his or her style.
  • Be able to identify specific paintings.
  • Define the vocabulary of the paintings.
  • Create artwork using contemporary events and the style of one of the artists studied.
  • Write an essay that makes connections between how the artists were influenced by one another and by political figures as well as the overall historical context.

Teaching Approach

Arts Inclusion

Teaching Methods

  • Research
  • Cooperative Learning
  • Multimedia Instruction
  • Hands-On Learning

Assessment Type

Informal Assessment

Preparation

What You'll Need

Materials
Resources
Required Technology
  • 1 Computer per Learner
  • Projector
Technology Notes

Review Web links to make sure your computers have the necessary plug-ins.

Lesson Setup

Teacher Background

Mexico was originally a colony of Spain. The Spanish used the natives as slaves and made them perform manual labor. During this time, divisions between social classes grew, and many natives and Mexican-born Spaniards began to get angry with Spain.

One priest, Father Hidalgo, believed in racial equality, fair redistribution of land, and bringing an end to the 300 years of Spanish rule. In 1810, Hidalgo and a group of peasants declared war and led a revolt against the Spanish. Although they were not successful, this was considered the start of the War of Independence, which eventually led to the establishment of Mexico as its own country.

In 1910 the people of Mexico, suffering under the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, once again rose up in rebellion. Porfirio greatly expanded Mexico’s industry and economy, but the gap between rich and poor continued to grow as he neglected to improve the lives of the great number of peasants who lived in dire poverty. This led to the Mexican Revolution.

Prior Student Knowledge

Students should have basic knowledge of the Mexican War of Independence

Key Vocabulary:

  • Communism
  • Fresco
  • Marxism
  • Mural
  • Satire
  • Surrealism
  • Symbolism

Physical Space

  • Classroom
  • Visual Arts Studio

Grouping

Individualized Instruction

Staging

  • Have a computer with LCD projector and screen set-up beforehand for the Engage and Apply sections.
  • If this lesson is not being taught in a Visual Art Studio, cover desks in newspaper when students are painting and set aside space for paintings to dry.
  • Allow additional time for clean-up when painting is being done.

Accessibility Notes

  • If this lesson is taught in a Spanish class or with Spanish speakers, students may complete this lesson in English or in Spanish, depending on the level of the students' fluency.

Instruction

Resources in Reach

Here are the resources you'll need for each activity, in order of instruction.

Engage
Build Knowledge
Apply

Engage

1. Show students artwork by Mexican artists from the Engage section in the Resource Carousel above. Explain that these works of art were inspired by the Revolution.

  1. Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park by Diego Rivera
  2. Zapata by José Clemente Orozco
  3. La Calavera Catrina by José Guadalupe Posada
  4. Echo of a Scream by David Alfaro Siquieros
  5. La Adelita, Pancho Villa and Frida by Frida Kahlo

2. Have students discuss their observations.

  • Are there any common themes among these images?
  • What emotions do they evoke?
  • What messages do you think the artists were trying to convey?

Build Knowledge

1. Explain the history of the Mexican Revolution.

Mexico was originally a colony of Spain. The Spanish used the natives as slaves and made them perform manual labor. During this time, divisions between social classes grew, and many natives and Mexican-born Spaniards began to get angry with Spain.

One priest, Father Hidalgo, believed in racial equality, fair redistribution of land, and bringing an end to the 300 years of Spanish rule. In 1810, Hidalgo and a group of peasants declared war and led a revolt against the Spanish. Although they were not successful, this was considered the start of the War of Independence, which eventually led to the establishment of Mexico as its own country.

A century later, in 1910, the people of Mexico, suffering under the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, rose up again in rebellion. Porfirio greatly expanded Mexico’s industry and economy, but the gap between rich and poor continued to grow as he neglected to improve the lives of the great number of peasants who lived in dire poverty. This led to the Mexican Revolution.

2. Have students research leaders of the Mexican Revolution. Students may use the Political Figures Research Questions Worksheet to help guide their research for a 5-10 minute presentation. Assign small groups one of the following leaders:

  • Porfirio Díaz
  • Francisco Madero
  • Victoriano Huerta
  • Venustiano Carranza
  • Pancho Villa
  • Emiliano Zapata

3. Have groups present their research to the class. Groups should present in the order of the above list. The class should fill in information about each political figure in the Mexican Revolution Political Figures Chart.

4. Create a class timeline of the Mexican Revolution. Use craft paper to create a timeline. Each group should add images and a short biography of the figure they research.

Recommended Resources for this Activity:

  • Political Figures Research Questions Worksheet

  • Mexican Revolution Political Figures Chart

  • Rubric for Group Presentation of Political Figure (for teacher)

Apply

1. Review paintings. Reshow the paintings from the Engage section. State each artist’s name and title of the piece. Encourage students to reevaluate the images in light of the knowledge they have about the Revolution. Assign one artist per group. Groups should research the artist and create a piece of artwork in the style of that artist.

2. Have student groups research artists. Groups will fill out the Artist Research Questions Worksheet for their artist and compare and contrast two images of the artist’s work. Groups should prepare a 5-10 minute Powerpoint presentation displaying the images and their findings. It may be helpful to share assessment rubrics with students prior to presentations and essay writing.

3. Create mural, painting or illustration. Group work will incorporate the style, techniques and/or themes of one of the artists. The artwork should represent a contemporary news event.

Additional Notes:

  • José Guadalupe Posada was both a printmaker and an illustrator. Groups studying this artist should produce an illustration.
  • Groups researching Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, or David Alfaro Siquieros should create murals.
  • Groups studying Frida Kahlo should make a painting.
  • If students choose to do a portrait, it should incorporate a contemporary event.
Recommended Resources:

For additional works and biographical information about the artists:

Reflect

1. Presentation of murals. Groups should discuss the artist’s connection to Mexico’s history, other relevant background/biographical information, the artist’s style (using printed or projected images as examples) and how they incorporated that style into their artwork.

2. Have students prepare questions for each presenting group. Hold a question-and-answer discussion session after each presentation.

3. Have students discuss what they have learned from their own groups and from other groups.

4. Have students will write a short essay (4-6 paragraphs). The essay should describe their artist’s connection to Mexico’s history, other relevant background/biographical information, the artist’s style (using the printed images as examples) and how they incorporated that style into their artwork.

 
Use the rubrics to assess students' performance.

 

Standards

The Common Core State Standards Initiative seeks to bring diverse state curricula into alignment through a set of common learning goals and assessments. In 2010, Standards were released for English language arts and mathematics. Common standards have not yet been released for science, social studies, and other subject areas, including the arts. In addition, some states have yet to, or have chosen not to, adopt the Common Core standards.

During this transitional period, ArtsEdge will present all relevant state and nationals standards as they apply to our lessons.

National Standards for Arts Education

For the full text of the content and achievement standards in Arts Education, visit our Standards section.

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
Visual Arts

Grade 9-12 Visual Arts Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

Grade 9-12 Visual Arts Standard 3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas

Grade 9-12 Visual Arts Standard 4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

Grade 9-12 Visual Arts Standard 5: Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

National Standards in Other Subjects
Foreign Language

Foreign Language Standard 2: Understands and interprets written and spoken language on diverse topics from diverse media

Foreign Language Standard 3: Presents information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics

Foreign Language Standard 4: Understands traditional ideas and perspectives, institutions, professions, literary and artistic expressions, and other components of the target culture

Credits

Writers

Carolyn Callaghan
Original Writer

Jill Gerlman
Adaptation

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