Grades/Level: Middle School (6–8)
Subjects: Visual Arts, History–Social Science, Music
Time Required: Long–Term Unit
Five to six 50-minute class periods, plus independent work
Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education Staff

Performing Arts in Art

Curriculum Home
Lesson Plans
Image Bank
Glossary (RTF, 255KB)
Print and Web Resources (RTF, 247KB)
National and California State Standards (PDF, 827KB)

Lesson Overview

Students will discuss the form, function, and decoration of an ancient Greek wine cup. They will learn about the importance of music in the daily life of ancient Greeks. They will discuss a page from a late-medieval choir book and compare and contrast the role of music in antiquity, the Renaissance, and today. They will create cups for a social gathering inspired by ancient Greek symposia, and create and perform a song, poem, or story.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• understand how music played a key role in the daily life of ancient Greeks.
• analyze the form and function of an ancient Greek wine cup.
• discuss a late-medieval manuscript page.
• compare the roles of music in ancient Greece, the Renaissance, and today.
• design and create cups inspired by red-figure kylikes used for symposia.
• create and perform a song, poem, or story about ancient Greek education, music, or art.


• Reproductions of interior and exterior views of Wine Cup with a Boy Holding a Lyre by Douris, painter, and Python, potter
• Reproduction of Initial R: The Resurrection by Antonio da Monza
• Background Information and Questions for Teaching about the wine cup and manuscript page
• Student Handout: "Ancient Greek Symposia"
• Audio recordings of reconstructions of ancient Greek music, such as Music of the Ancient Greeks by Ensemble De Organographia (Pandourion, 1997) or the "Ancient Melodies" section of Music of Greece: The Past Is Present on ARTSEDGE
• Student Handout: "Music in Ancient Greece"
• Student Handout: "Assignments for a Symposium"
• Materials for making musical instruments (see "Assignments for a Symposium" handout) (optional)
• Internet access
Video: "Making Greek Vases" in the "Multimedia" list on the Getty website
• Paper and pencils
• White, uncoated paper bowls
• Thick and thin black markers and black pens
• Materials for creating the handles and stem for wine cups, such as poster board and paper towel rolls
• Glue or tape

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).

Wine Cup / Python
Wine Cup with a Boy Holding a Lyre, Douris, painter, and Python, potter, about 480 B.C.