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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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