Grades/Level: Lower Elementary (K–2), Upper Elementary (3–5)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English–Language Arts, History–Social Science
Time Required: 3–5–Part Lesson
Five 30-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, 827KB)

Lesson Overview

Students will discuss what is communicated in an ancient statuette by analyzing the size and poses of two figures. They will learn that stories were passed through oral tradition in ancient times. They will create sculptures of themselves, a companion, and a favorite musical instrument using spheres and cylinders, and then recite a story inspired by their sculptures.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• understand that stories in antiquity were shared through oral tradition, including song.
• make inferences about two figures depicted in an ancient statuette by analyzing the size and poses of the figures.
• identify forms in a work of art and then create their own sculptures by assembling balls (spheres) and coils (cylinders).
• create and recite a story inspired by their own sculptures.


• Reproduction of Statuette of a Lyre Player and His Companion by an unknown Greek artist
• Background Information and Questions for Teaching about the statuette
• Internet access
• Projector
Audio: Song inspired by James Ensor's painting Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889 by the storyteller and musician Makinto in the "Multimedia" list on the Getty website
• CD player
• CD of a song that tells a story
• Information and activities in the "Understanding Formal Analysis" section on the Getty website (optional)
• Air-drying clay
• Images of various musical instruments (optional)

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).

Lyre Player / unknown Greek
Statuette of a Lyre Player and His Companion, an unknown Greek artist, 690–670 B.C.