Writing Table / Oeben

Explore decorative arts with your class and discover ways to engage your students in the investigation of objects used in the daily life of the French nobility. This curriculum examines furniture, tapestries, porcelain, and scientific objects.

The collection of French decorative arts at the J. Paul Getty Museum spans the period 1660 to 1790. During this time, French art evolved stylistically in three phases that are usually identified by the terms Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical. They correspond approximately to the reigns of three French kings: Louis XIV (reigned 1643–1715), Louis XV (reigned 1723–1774), and Louis XVI (reigned 1774 until his deposition during the French Revolution in 1792). The development of these styles and their undercurrents can be observed in the Museum's decorative arts collection.

The materials in this curriculum are designed for elementary and secondary teachers to prompt discussion and activities. Six objects from the collection, chosen for their potential as teaching tools in the classroom, represent different styles of French decorative arts from the mid-17th through the 18th century.

The lesson plans connect to visual arts, language arts, and science content areas for elementary and secondary students. Connections to California state standards are listed in the lesson plans. Information about each object and "Questions for Teaching" that can be used to prompt examination and conversation about each piece are available in the Image Bank.