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Museum Home Education Search Lesson Plans All Curricula Neoclassicism and the Enlightenment: A Curriculum for Middle and High School Teachers Lesson Plans Statement of Principles
Statement of Principles

Grades/Level: High School (9–12)
Subjects: Visual Arts
Time Required: Long–Term Unit
6 class periods
Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education Staff

Contents
Curriculum Home
Lesson Plans
Image Bank
Neoclassicism and the Enlightenment Overview
Timeline: Neoclassicism and the Enlightenment
Bibliography
California and National Standards Charts

Lesson Overview

Students will create their own work of art that serves as a social commentary. Students will make a moral or ethical statement in their work and use elements of the Neoclassical style to communicate their message.

Learning Objectives

• Students will be able to explain how art conveyed moral and ethical ideals during the Neoclassical period.
• Students will be able to create a drawing that addresses a contemporary social issue.
• Students will be able to analyze and identify the Neoclassical style in art.
• Students will be able to explain how traditional art forms have been adapted from their original contexts to voice the experiences of a contemporary, multicultural society.

Materials

• Images of artworks below
• Overhead projector
• Information about Getty works of art, found in the Image Bank
• Sketch and drawing paper
• Pencils, colored pencils, or conté crayons
• Watercolors, brushes, water containers, and paper towels (optional)

Lesson Steps

1. Give each student drawing materials and sketch paper. As a warm-up exercise, have the students sketch one figure and one detail from each of the three Getty works of art.

2. Using the overhead transparencies, display the three Getty images. Use the background information in Neoclassicism and the Enlightenment Overview to discuss with the class the main philosophies and styles of art at the time. As a class, look at the images and identify examples of Neoclassical design elements. You may use the Questions for Teaching found in the Image Bank to aid the discussion. Then ask students to speculate about which Enlightenment principles the works of art are trying to convey.

3. Share the background information provided about each work of art found in the Image Bank. Ask the students how this information has changed or added to their previous understanding of the artwork. Ask students if they think the artists were successful at communicating ideas of the Enlightenment.

4. As a class, discuss some of the moral or ethical principles that students believe are important to today's society. Compare these principles to those of the Enlightenment. Students should choose one contemporary ideal and write it on a piece of sketch paper. On the same piece of paper, have students draw a work of art that communicates their chosen ideal through visual language. Each original work of art should incorporate Neoclassical design elements. Students should refer to their warm-up sketches and featured Getty artworks for examples of design motifs.

5. Once the class has finished their sketches, hand out large pieces of watercolor paper, pencils, and colored pencils. Watercolors and watercolor supplies may also be used in the final project. Each student should create a final drawing or finished study for a sculpture using drawing pencils and colored pencils or watercolors over the next couple of days.

6. After students finish their drawings, collect the artworks and display them around the room. Have students walk around with paper and pencil, looking at each other's work and writing down what they believe the message of each work is, noting some visual clues that support this interpretation. You may also use self-adhesive notes or a piece of paper that is placed in front of each work to record these notes.

7. Regroup to look at each work of art individually as a class, and have students share their interpretations of each piece. Have the artists explain their work to the class, noting what Neoclassical elements they incorporated as well as other visual clues that refer to their intended statement or message.

8. Have students discuss the experience of making their work of art. Have them explain their working process and bring up any challenges or surprises they encountered. Make sure to discuss the process of sketching as a warm-up and as a study for a finished work.

Bust of a Man / Harwood
Bust of a Man, Francis Harwood, 1758

Assessment

Teacher
Observation of student discussion for inclusion of the following:
• Identification and description of Neoclassical style.
• How time, place, and cultural influence are reflected in selected works of art.
• Students' creation of a two-dimensional work of art that addresses a social issue and uses Neoclassical art as a springboard for their designs.
• Articulation of the theme of a work of art and demonstration of their understanding of the important ideas behind the Neoclassical style.
• Students' articulation of personal beliefs; cultural traditions; and current social, economic, and political contexts and their influence on the interpretation of the meaning or message in a work of art.

Peer
Evaluation of peer artworks for:
• Articulation of personal beliefs; cultural traditions; and current social, economic, and political contexts and their influence on the interpretation of the meaning or message in a work of art.
• Demonstration of understanding of the important ideas behind the Neoclassical style.

Self
Students should be able to articulate, in discussion and presentation of artwork:
• Personal beliefs; cultural traditions; and current social, economic, and political contexts and their influence on the interpretation of the meaning or message in a work of art.
• Understanding of the important ideas behind the Neoclassical style.

Standards Addressed

Visual Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools
Grades 9–12
Artistic Perception
1.3 Research and analyze the work of an artist and write about the artist's distinctive style and its contribution to the meaning of the work.
1.5 Analyze the material used by a given artist and describe how its use influences the meaning of the work.

Creative Expression
2.1 Solve a visual arts problem that involves the effective use of the elements of art and the principles of design.
2.6 Create a two- or three-dimensional work of art that addresses a social issue.

Historical and Cultural Context
3.3 Identify and describe trends in the visual arts and discuss how the issues of time, place, and cultural influence are reflected in selected works of art.

Aesthetic Valuing
4.1 Articulate how personal beliefs, cultural traditions, and current social, economic, and political contexts influence the interpretation of the meaning or message in a work of art.

National Standards for Visual Arts
Grades 9–12
Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
Students select media, techniques, and processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of their choices.
Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas.

Using Knowledge of Structures and Functions
Students generalize about the effects of visual structures and functions and reflect upon these effects in their own work.
Students employ organizational structures and analyze what makes them effective or not effective in the communication of ideas.
Students select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of their ideas.

Choosing and Evaluating a Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
Students integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in their artworks.
Students use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

Understanding the Visual Arts in Relation to History and Cultures
Students know and compare the characteristics of artworks in various eras and cultures.
Students describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.
Students analyze, describe, and demonstrate how factors of time and place (such as climate, resources, ideas, and technology) influence visual characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art.

Reflecting Upon and Assessing the Characteristics and Merits of Their Work and the Work of Others
Students compare multiple purposes for creating works of art.
Students analyze contemporary and historic meanings in specific artworks through cultural and aesthetic inquiry.
Students describe and compare a variety of individual responses to their own artworks and to artworks from various eras and cultures.

Making Connections between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
Students compare the characteristics of works in two or more art forms that share similar subject matter, historical periods, or cultural context.
Students describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in the school are interrelated with the visual arts.


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