Throughout history, artists have found inspiration in their fellow artists and past artistic styles and movements. While Edgar Degas, Louise Nevelson, and Marino Marini each have a unique artistic style and process, each has used the horse as a subject in their sculptures. Through the study and comparison of these artists and their sculptural works, this lesson plan examines different artist styles through the theme of animals. Students will create a sculpture of an animal inspired by the style of one of the artists studied in this lesson.
Inspired by the protest and special event posters in We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85, students will learn about a particular protest in 1971, conduct research regarding a topic for which they have a passion, and create their own poster using a silkscreen printing technique.
Best known for his monumental textured paintings, German artist Anselm Kiefer’s encrusted surfaces of thick impasto confront themes of memory, history, identity, and culture. Through texture, Kiefer’s landscape paintings portray rough emotions and symbols with meaning to the artist. In this lesson, students will explore the principles of texture and landscape while reflecting on the personal significance landscapes may have on different people’s lives.
Twentieth-century French artist Georges Braque made many contributions to the art world. A co-founder of Cubism along with Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Braque created works that contain geometric shapes, a variety of lines, and simultaneous perspectives. Braque started his career as a painter but his art evolved over the course of his life. His etchings, which he created toward the end of his career, embody his Cubist ideals. Inspired by Braque’s printmaking, this project explores the process of creating an etching.
This lesson is designed to give students the opportunity to learn about leaders in both their own community and throughout the United States. Students will use The Freedom Wall as inspiration for designing a digital poster.
During the nineteenth century, when French paintings often depicted romanticized scenes of daily life, artist Gustave Courbet chose to paint “observed realities,” making bold statements on society with his artwork. Criticized for painting peasants and workers, Courbet captured life including scenes from his home region, Ornans, France. One of the area’s natural wonders is the source of the Loue River, which flows through Ornans. Courbet was fascinated by the geologic structure of this caved grotto. In La Source de la Loue, ca. 1864, Courbet painted this special place realistically, adding textural features intended to awaken the viewer’s senses. This lesson explores the way art can be experienced through the senses and how the senses can inspire artmaking.
Artist Chuck Close creates large-scale portraits in a unique way. Through the use of a grid system, Close creates paintings that are composed of many squares. Like an illusion, when viewing one of these paintings close up, one sees an array of squares filled with abstract shapes and colors. Upon further observation, and when viewed from a distance, a portrait appears that is formed by these separate square compositions. Close’s mathematical approach to structuring his work, combined with his abstract flair, results in energetic portraits. This lesson—which is inspired by the different elements of Close’s portraits—reinforces the elements of shape, color, and value in creating unique self-portraits.
With a degree in mechanical engineering and a passion for the arts, Alexander Calder experimented with Kinetic art through the creation of two different types of sculpture: the mobile and the stabile. Composed of delicately balanced components that respond to air currents, Calder’s mobiles are graceful and poised. In contrast, stabiles are non-moving sculptures. The Cone, 1960, combines elements of mobile and stabile sculptures. This lesson is inspired by the mobile art of Alexander Calder and the theory of kinetic energy, with a focus on the principles of balance and movement.
Known for his narrative collage work, Romare Bearden created scenes that reflect traditional stories and contemporary life. The themes in Bearden’s works are often relatable, containing modern commentary on well-known parables. For example, Bearden reimagined the parable of the Prodigal Son in his 1967 collage Return of the Prodigal Son. In this lesson, students will study both the ancient parable of the Prodigal Son and Bearden’s more modern collage, exploring the similarities, differences, and themes of the two works. Inspired by the story’s tone, students will create collages that reflect family memories of their own in the style of Romare Bearden.
Royal Game I, 1961, is a golden monochromatic assemblage composed of found materials that the artist Louise Nevelson collected around the city. Nevelson transforms these random bits of wooden furniture, scrap materials, and frames into a unified and harmonious sculpture. In this lesson, students will learn about the artist and her compositions, and create their own found-object assemblage sculpture.
In this lesson, students will learn about Faith Ringgold’s For the Women’s House, identify the various types of women in the work, and create their own work of art in which they draw themselves carrying out different interests or hobbies that they enjoy.