Grades/Level: High School (9–12)
Subjects: Visual Arts, Theater
Time Required: 3–5–Part Lesson
Five 50-minute class periods
Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education Staff

Performing Arts in Art

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Glossary (RTF, 255KB)
Print and Web Resources (RTF, 247KB)
National and California State Standards (PDF, 826KB)

Lesson Overview

Students will examine an 18th-century drawing depicting a scene with a comic actor named Punchinello from Italian theater. They will collaboratively produce a skit based on the drawing. Students will individually create a drawing to be used in an advertising campaign for a theater production.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• analyze the story depicted in a drawing by examining characters' gestures and accessories.
• create skits inspired by a scene depicted in a work of art.
• write scenes based on research about 18th-century Italian theater, applying dramatic structure of exposition, complication, conflict, and climax.
• create a promotional poster for a theater production utilizing techniques examined in an 18th-century drawing.


• Reproduction of Punchinello Is Helped to a Chair by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
• Reproduction of Statuette of a Comic Actor by an unknown Greek artist
• Reproduction of Lamp in the Shape of a Comic Mask by an unknown Roman artist
• Background Information and Questions for Teaching about the drawing, statuette, and lamp
• Materials for making masks (see Materials list for Beginning-Level Lesson)
• Recycled cardboard
• Materials for making props (see Materials list for Intermediate-Level Lesson)
• Assorted materials for making costume accessories (i.e., masking tape, Rigid Wrap®, ribbon, paint, and paint brushes)
• Student Handout: "Brainstorming for Your Skit"
• Student Handout: "Stage Directions"
• Black chalk
• Pencil
• Watercolor paper
• Quill or reed pens or thin branches from a tree
• Water bottles half full of a variety of "inks" in several dark and warm colors (i.e., coffee, tea, liquid watercolor, and ink diluted with a little water)

Lesson Steps

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

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

Punchinello / G.D. Tiepelo
Punchinello Is Helped to a Chair Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, about 1791

Standards Addressed

Common Core Standards for English Language Arts

Grades 9–12

Key Ideas and Details
1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

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.

Visual Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools

Grades 9–12 (Proficient)

5.0 Connections, Relationships, Applications
5.1 Design an advertising campaign for a theatre or dance production held at a school, creating images that represent characters and major events in the production.

Grades 9–12 (Advanced)
1.0 Artistic Perception
1.3 Analyze their works of art as to personal direction and style.

2.0 Creative Expression
2.4 Demonstrate in their own works of art a personal style and an advanced proficiency in communicating an idea, theme, or emotion.

Theatre Content Standards for California Public Schools

Grades 9–12 (Proficient)

2.0 Creative Expression
2.2 Write dialogues and scenes, applying basic dramatic structure: exposition, complication, conflict, crises, climax, and resolution.