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Investigate and Recreate a Famous Painting

Students will choose their favorite famous painting, write a paper about it and create a reproduction with their own spin.

PROCESS:

  1. Prior to conducting this activity, collect examples of famous paintings that students are likely to be familiar with such as Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" or Edvard Munch's "The Scream." Display the examples for the class. Invite students to share what they know about each painting.
  2. Point out that famous paintings like these usually have a story behind them. For example, while much is known about da Vinci, little is known about his famous painting. Experts aren't even sure who the woman in the painting was or who paid da Vinci to paint her portrait. The story of this painting is a great mystery.
  3. Encourage students to choose their favorite famous painting. Then have them conduct research to learn about the art, the artist and stories behind the famous piece of work. Instruct students to write a paper summarizing what they learned.
  4. Provide a variety of art supplies. Then give students time to create a reproduction of the artwork. Encourage students to be original, giving it their own personal spin.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to present their artwork to the class. As they do, encourage them to read their summaries. Then have them explain how their reproductions emulate the original work but also exhibit their own personal twist.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Prior to conducting this activity, select one famous painting for the class to investigate. Provide assistance as students conduct research. Divide the class into small groups and have each group write a brief summary about the artist and this particular piece of work. Then provide the necessary supplies and give students time to create their own reproductions. Compare and contrast the results.
Grades 5-6:
Have students complete the activity in small groups. Instruct each group to select a famous painting, conduct research and write a summary of the artist and this particular piece of work. Then provide the necessary supplies and have each group member create his or her own reproduction. When the group presents its work to the class, encourage each member to share one fact he or she learned about this famous painting.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Encourage each pair to select one famous painting and conduct research to learn about the painting and the artist who created it. As partners write their summary, challenge them to include details that help viewers understand the subject matter and the story behind the painting. Provide the necessary supplies and have each partner create his or her own reproduction. Compare and contrast the results.
Grades 9-10:
Encourage each student to select a famous painting. Give them time to conduct research to learn about the painting and the artist who created it. Tell students to write a brief summary about the artwork and the artist. Instruct them to include information about the era when the painting was created and how that influenced the artist's work. Provide the necessary supplies and give students time to create reproductions that depict their own personal twist.