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Museum Home Education Search Lesson Plans All Curricula Shaping Ideas: Symbolism in Sculpture
Shaping Ideas: Symbolism in Sculpture

Risamburgh Family / Chinard Head with Horns / Gauguin Thymiaterion / Unknown

Grades: High School (9–12)
Time Required: Three lessons requiring 1–2 class periods each
Subject: Visual Arts
Prerequisites: This curriculum is intended for use by teachers who are proficient in teaching studio sculpture and for students of all skill levels.

These lessons form a unit exploring the ways symbols can be incorporated into three-dimensional art forms. Students will examine sculptures in different materials and discuss their meanings, purposes, and original contexts. They will then design, sketch, and build their own symbolic sculpture and participate in a class critique of their work. By creating a symbolic sculpture, students will develop an understanding of the possibilities for symbolic representation in three dimensions.

Objectives in each of the lessons build on skills learned in previous lessons. Therefore, lessons should be taught in sequence. California state and national education standards for the visual arts are indicated for each lesson. Extended learning opportunities are also included.

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