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Lesson on Picasso's "The Tragedy"


From: Bunki Kramer (bkramer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Aug 05 2001 - 12:43:41 PDT

from: Bunki Kramer (
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Road
Danville, CA 94526
art webpage -
> Bunki, any chance I can get that lesson on Picasso? I really need to done up
> on artist if you have a book or an idea for me. Thanks!!!! Gail

On the overhead I start by writing down the word "line". (They copy.) We
start discussing line direction...horizonal, vertical, diagonal. I discuss
balance when talking about horizonal...I draw a little simple sketch with a
landscape -"soft, relaxing"...when doing a landscape, don't draw the main
vertical in the center but either above or below the center (trick artists
use to make the pic more interesting). When discussing vertical I draw a
simple picture of buildings for "strength, concreteness". Third I draw a pic
of diagonal lines showing how it makes the "eye move around" and causing
"speed, eye movement".

Now I direct the kids to the picture hanging in the side of the
room..Picasso's "The Tragedy". The first thing discussed is finding the
three line movements and what each kind of line is "doing" such as eye
movement, connecting figures, pulling them apart in other areas, drawing the
eye to certain portions. Next I introduce the word "monochromatic" which is
obvious in this particular the child is tinted in
pink...why? What parts of each body is tinted pink also and where is there a
definite connection between figures?...the feet. Etc. What do the hands tell
us in directional movement? How does the artist keep bring our eyes back to
the child's hands?

I tell them a little bit of info about what was going in Picasso's life at
the time of this painting which you will have to research yourself. Since we
are not privy to Picasso's innermost thoughts...what do you think he might
have been thinking when he did this picture? How does all this make you
feel? This is an open-ended beginning of a grand discussion from the
kids...knowing that what they have to say is only speculation.

I finish up the lesson for that day again on the overhead with diff. kinds
of lines....arcs, thick, thin, spiral, coil, zigzag, controlled scribble,
etc. The last thing discussed is how to draw "ribbons". They do their
initial quickly in ribbon design.

This leads (the next class period) into a design of lines (for their folder
covers) in which they have to divide up their cover into rule of thirds, use
at least two of each kind of line, use all three line directions, use at
least two ribbons, and start all lines at one of the four intersections of
the rule of thirds. They also have to incorporate the words "line" somewhere
in the design. They can fill the design in with either colored pencils OR
black & white ink texture. If using colored pencils, I show they how to
shade each area on the edges darker than the area's center. The black/white
designs have to be at least 70% black.

I have images I can send to you of the folder covers if you are interested.