Grades/Level: Upper Elementary (3–5), Middle School (6–8)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English–Language Arts
Time Required: Short Activity
1 1/2 - 2 hours (15 minutes for each activity)
Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education Staff

Activity Overview

Take your students into the world of Greek and Roman myths—ancient stories about heroes, monsters, gods, and goddesses. Seven activities introduce students to these stories and their characters through writing and drawing activities.

Learning Objectives

Students should be able to:
• recognize specific Greek and Roman mythological characters in works of art.
• make connections between a written story and an artist's visual depiction of the same story.
• compare how different artists represent the same subjects.
• identify ways that artists use body language, gesture, and facial expression to convey meaning.


• 7 activities — download them individually, or all together
• Itinerary

Activity Steps

1. Review the seven activities. Each chaperoned group will do the first six activities in a different order. All students will do Postcard Memories last. On the day of your tour, students will use the Itinerary sheet to note the order you give their group for the activities. You can delete activities if you need to.

2. Print out and make photocopies of all activity sheets for each student.

Below is a description of each activity:

Attributes—Clues as to Who's Who — In this treasure hunt-like activity, students learn to recognize mythical characters in a story by identifying the unique clothes, weapons, or other objects—called attributes—that they wear or carry.

Characters, Actions, and Settings — Students read an episode from a myth and then search for the painting that depicts the same scene. They explore the ways an artist depicts written words visually.

Creating a Monster — Students read a description of a mythic monster and search for the monster in a work of art. They then draw their own monster and write a story about it.

Lasting Traditions — Students compare how artists have depicted the same goddess over the centuries.

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words — Students study facial expression and gesture in paintings and explore how artists use these tools to tell a story.

Body Language — Students compare two statues of the same god and consider how the artists used body language to create similarities and differences in mood and expression.

Postcard Memories — Students write a postcard to a friend or their family describing their visit to the Getty and telling them about a character or myth they learned about.

Perseus & Phineus, S. Ricci
Perseus Confronting Phineus with the Head of Medusa, Sebastiano Ricci