Grades/Level: Middle School (6–8)
Subjects: Visual Arts, History–Social Science
Time Required: 3–5–Part Lesson
3-4 class periods, plus independent research
Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education Staff

For the Classroom

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Lesson Overview

Students will compare and contrast how two late-19th-century paintings depict celebrations in different ways through the artists' use of satire and color. Students will explore the historical context surrounding both canvases and create a painting of a celebration employing artistic techniques learned from the pictures.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• compare and contrast the celebrations portrayed in two late-19th-century paintings and explore the use of satire to communicate a critical viewpoint;
• describe the effects of the Industrial Revolution on society and economy;
• examine an artist's critique of his society through painting;
• create an original painting of a favorite celebration employing artistic techniques learned from two works of art.


• Reproduction of A Centennial of Independence by Henri Rousseau
• Reproduction of Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889 by James Ensor
• Background Information and Questions for Teaching about the paintings (click on the thumbnails of the paintings below)
• Student Handout: Comparing Celebrations
• Student Handout: Comparing Depictions of the Farandole
• Student Handout: Symbolism in "A Centennial of Independence"
• Heavy watercolor paper
• Acrylic paint
• Water containers
• Synthetic paintbrushes (such as Golden Taklon or white nylon)
• Rags

Lesson Steps

Download the complete lesson by clicking on the "download this lesson" icon above.

Additional Resource:
Learn more about and compare A Centennial of Independence by Henri Rousseau and Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889 by James Ensor.

Glossary Terms:
Words in bold on these pages and in the lesson are defined in the glossary for this curriculum (see "For the Classroom" links above).

Christ in Brussels / Ensor
Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889, James Ensor, 1888
© 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SABAM, Brussels

Standards Addressed

Common Core Standards for English Language Arts

Grades 6–8

Comprehension and Collaboration
1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

For more national and California state standards for this curriculum, refer to the charts found in the links at the top right of this page.