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Museum Home Education Search Lesson Plans All Curricula Telling Stories in Art
Telling Stories in Art
Musicians' Brawl / G. de la Tour

Grades: Middle School (6–8), High School (9–12)
Subject: English—Language Arts, Visual Arts
Prerequisites: For teachers with minimal proficiency in teaching with works of art, and students of all skill levels.

Works of art often tell stories. Artists can present narrative in many ways—by using a series of images representing moments in a story, or by selecting a central moment to stand for the whole story. Narrative works often illustrate well-known historical, religious, legendary, or mythic stories. Sometimes, however, artists invent their own stories, leaving the viewer to imagine the narrative.

These lessons will build students' awareness of how stories can be told visually and how artists use color, line, gesture, composition, and symbolism to tell a story. Students will interpret and create narratives based upon a work of art and apply what they have learned to create works of art that tell a story.

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