Grades/Level: High School (9–12)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English–Language Arts
Time Required: 3–5–Part Lesson
One to three class periods
Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education Staff

Stories in Art Contents


Curriculum Home
Lesson Plans
Image Bank
California Content Standards (RTF, 237KB)

Lesson Overview

Students will focus on the life and times of the artist Joseph Mallord William Turner. They will also discuss the historical narrative that Turner depicted in his painting Van Tromp, Going About to Please His Masters. Students then explore how the Romantic Movement influenced both literature and painting in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• examine the life of artist Joseph Mallord William Turner.
• observe the painting Van Tromp, Going About to Please His Masters by Joseph Mallord William Turner as a historical narrative.
• explore how the Romantic Movement influenced literature and painting at that time and today.

Materials

• Reproduction of Van Tromp, Going About to Please His Masters by Joseph Mallord William Turner
• Background Information and Questions for Teaching about Van Tromp, Going About to Please His Masters
• Student Handout: "Romanticizing Turner"
• Pencils and/or pens
• Paper (8½" x 11"; if needed)

Lesson Steps

1. Show students the reproduction of Van Tromp, Going About to Please His Masters by Joseph Mallord William Turner.

2. Have a class discussion, prompting students with the questions from the Background Information and Questions for Teaching about Van Tromp, Going About to Please His Masters.

3. Inform students that the painting Van Tromp, Going About to Please His Masters is probably based on the life of a Dutch naval officer, Cornelius Van Tromp, and that a depiction of a story from the past is called a "historical narrative."

4. In addition to having a class discussion about the Background Information regarding Joseph Mallord William Turner's life, ask students to do some research on the life of Turner.

5. Explain to students that Romanticism grew from a longing for a more emotional, imaginative side of human nature in the midst of the scientific Age of Reason. Focusing on the awesome power of nature was one aspect of the Romantic Movement. Tell students that, for the next activity, they will write about evidence of Romanticism in Turner's painting.

6. Pass out the handout "Romanticizing Turner." Provide students with pens and/or pencils.

7. Guide students to follow the instructions on the handout "Romanticizing Turner."

Van Tromp/Turner
Van Tromp, Going About to Please His Masters, Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1844

Assessment

Students will be assessed on their
• discussion of the life of artist Joseph Mallord William Turner.
• observations regarding the painting Van Tromp, Going About to Please His Masters by Joseph Mallord William Turner as a historical narrative.
• observations on how the Romantic Movement influenced literature and painting at that time and today.

Extensions

Have students illustrate another historical event from the 18th or 19th century. Ask students to carefully consider the setting, the actions of the figures, and what details to include in order to effectively tell the story.