Students will learn how artists communicate through portraiture, about the literary term, allegory, and then they will write a poem applying these communication strategies. They will also learn about facial proportions.
Time Alloted60 Minutes Minimum
State Content Standards
ARTISTIC PERCEPTION: 4.1.4 Describe the concept of proportion (in face, figure) as used in works of art. 4.1.5 Describe and analyze the elements of art (e.g., color, shape/form, line, texture, space, value), emphasizing form, as they are used in works of art and found in the environment. 5.1.3 Use their knowledge of all the elements of art to describe similarities and differences in works of art and in the environment.
CREATIVE EXPRESSION: 4.2.2 Use the conventions of facial and figure proportions in a figure study. 4.2.5 Use accurate proportions to create an expressive portrait or a figure drawing or painting. 5.2.7 Communicate values, opinions, or personal insights through an original work of art.
HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL CONTEXT: 4.3.1 Describe how art plays a role in reflecting life (e.g., in photography, quilts, architecture).
AESTHETIC VALUING: 4.4.1 Describe how using the language of the visual arts helps to clarify personal responses to works of art.
English Language Arts:
Word Analysis, Fluency, and Systematic Vocabulary Development. 4.1.1 Read narrative and expository text aloud with grade-appropriate fluency and accuracy and with appropriate pacing, intonation, and expression. 5.1.5 Understand and explain the figurative and metaphorical use of words in context.
Writing Strategies. 4.1.1 Select a focus, an organizational structure, and a point of view based upon purpose, audience, length, and format requirements.
Listening and Speaking Strategies. 4.1.1 Ask thoughtful questions and respond to relevant questions with appropriate elaboration in oral settings. 5.1.1 Ask questions that seek information not already discussed. 5.1.4 Select a focus, organizational structure, and point of view for an oral presentation. 5.1.5 Clarify and support spoken ideas with evidence and examples. 5.1.6 Engage the audience with appropriate verbal cues, facial expressions, and gestures.
Speaking Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics) 5.2.2 Deliver informative presentations about an important idea, issue, or event by the following means: a. Frame questions to direct the investigation; b. Establish a controlling idea or topic; c. Develop the topic with simple facts, details, examples, and explanations.
Reading Comprehension. 5.2.3 Discern main ideas and concepts presented in texts, identifying and assessing evidence that supports those ideas. 5.2.4 Draw inferences, conclusions, or generalizations about text and support them with textual evidence and prior knowledge.
- Focus artworks
- Write up of Allegory of Painting
- Blank white paper—two pieces per student
- Colored pencils
- Reading curriculum
Teaching Tips: In steps 3 and 4, using Focused Viewing Questions allows the teacher to help the student to examine the artwork closely, to really “look” at the piece. The questions given are merely examples. The teacher is encouraged to add any questions as he/she deems necessary, as well as encourage questions from the students. This lesson can be divided into two lessons after step 9.
1) Hand out blank paper to each student. Have the students use a pencil and direct them to draw a face. Have students share with each other, finding similarities and differences in their drawings.
2) Show the students the first focus artwork, Allegory of Painting. Ask the students to compare their drawings to the faces in the focus artwork. Let them discuss similarities and differences. Help the students to see where the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears are located on the faces is the focus artwork and where those elements are located on the students’ drawings.
3) Focused Viewing Questions: Show students the focus artwork, Allegory of Painting. Ask the students to point out lines, shapes, colors, and textures. Allow at least 5 minutes for the students to look at the artwork, pointing out where the lines, shapes, colors, and textures. Use the following questions for a guide:
Line: What kinds of lines do you see? Thick, thin, curved?
How do the lines make you feel? Angry, relaxed, peaceful?
Which lines are repeated? Why do you think they are?
Which lines are strong? Which lines are weak?
Shape: What kinds of shapes to you see?
Do any of the shapes create a pattern?
Are any of the shapes geometric? Circles, triangles, squares, etc.
Color: What kinds of color do you see?
How does the color make you feel?
What would happen if the colors were switched? How would you feel?
4) Additional questions to ask your students:
a. What do you think the artist was telling you about the person?
b. What can you tell about the person by the clothes he/she is wearing?
c. Where is the person looking? How does this affect you?
d. What does the person’s body language say about him/her?
e. What is he/she doing with his/her hands?
f. Would you like to meet this person? Why or why not?
g. What else do you see in the artwork that helps to tell you what the artist was trying to say?
h. What does the title of the artwork tell you?
i. What is an allegory?
j. What makes this painting an allegory?
5) Hold a short class discussion on how the students feel about talking about the artwork using descriptive vocabulary.
6) Hand out the Student Summary on Allegory of Painting. Either chose to have the students volunteer to read independently, or pair up the students and have them take turns reading to each other. Have the students write down three questions they think a teacher might ask about this information.
7) Ask the students to turn over their drawings from step 1. Model for the students each step and check for understanding.
a. Direct the students to fold their papers once horizontally and once vertically creating fold lines in the shape of a plus.
b. Next have the students to draw an oval on the page so that it covers most of the page (they will need to leave space to put in ears, hair, and neck). Make sure the oval is centered on the page and covers all four quadrants of the paper.
c. Have the students draw the eyes on the fold that goes across, spaced evenly on either side of the vertical fold line.
d. Have the students draw the nose and lips on the vertical fold under the eyes. The nose is half-way between the eyes and the mouth, and both are centered on the vertical line.
e. Have the students draw the ears just below the horizontal line on either side of the oval.
f. For the final step, have the students draw in the hair, neck, and any other accessories they choose (i.e.: glasses, necklace, earrings, etc.)
8) Hand out white paper and colored pencils. Tell the students that they may create a self-portrait, a portrait of a friend, a created person, or try to copy one of the faces in Allegory of Painting or another artwork. Encourage students to be conscious about their use of color, to make deliberate choices to help influence the viewer.
9) Allow some time for the students to talk about their artwork. Either whole class or in small groups let them talk about what they liked best about their piece, and one thing they would do differently.
10) Chose a poem from the 4th grade reading curriculum. Tell the students that they are going to use the poem as a framework for writing their own poem. Put the poem on the overhead and ask the class questions about how the poem is constructed:
a. How many stanzas does it have?
b. Are any words or phrases repeated?
c. Are there any similes or metaphors?
d. How long are the lines?
11) Direct the students to choose either their own artwork, or one of the focus artworks. Tell them that they are going to create a poem about the person in the artwork using the poem as a model. Their poem should have the same number of stanzas, repeated words or phrases, and same length of lines except their poem is about the artwork. The students can “borrow” as many words from the original poem as make sense for their poem.
12) Have the students attach their portrait to their poem, or make a copy of the focus artwork for their poem so that all the poems have portraits. Place on the wall and allow the students time to read some of the poems.
13) Have the students write a short reflection about the lesson. What did they learn? What was something unexpected that happened? What did they think about the other students’ poems?
Assessment: Students will demonstrate an understanding of facial proportions by creating a portrait, either of themselves or a created person. Students will demonstrate and understanding of how to write a poem using the strategy of creating their poem based on a published poem. Their subject of their poem will be about either their portrait or a portrait from one of the focus artworks, demonstrating an understanding of evaluating a piece of artwork.
Teach this lesson again with:
Oil on canvas
Crocker Art Museum Purchase
Oil on canvas
Crocker Art Museum Purchase with funds from Mr. and Mrs. Vern C. Jones and other donors
Head of an Old Man
attr. Philippe de Champaigne
Oil on canvas
Gerrit van Honthorst
Born into a family of Utrecht artists, Gerrit van Honthorst trained with the Dutch-Italianate landscapist Abraham Bloemaert. As with many of Bloemaert’s pupils, Honthorst traveled to Italy, arriving in the early 1610s and spending nearly a decade in Rome. There he was influenced by the Italian Baroque painting of Caravaggio and the dominant Carracci family. Honthorst soon adopted Caravaggio’s use of dramatic light and shadow, experimenting in his own work with bold lighting effects. In 1620, he returned to Utrecht to become one of the main conveyors of the Caravaggesque tradition to northern artists. Here, he moved away from painting religious themes, thus responding to an art market favoring portraits, genre scenes, and paintings of classical and allegorical subjects. He soon enjoyed an international reputation and his prosperous workshop attracted a wide range of students.
About the Artwork