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Impressionism And Beyond Impressionism-And-Beyond?

  • Subject: Visual Arts
  • |
  • Grade(s): 9-12
  • |
  • Duration: 2 class periods

Lesson Plan Sections

Student Objectives


  • Understand important facts about Impressionism, including artistic styles and techniques.
  • Describe the style and technique of one Impressionist painting.
  • Compare and contrast the works of different Impressionists.
  • Compare and contrast the styles of Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.

Materials


  • Discovering the Arts: Impressionism and Beyond video
  • Computer with Internet access
  • Color printer

Procedures


  1. After watching the video, remind students that Impressionism was an artistic movement that begin in Paris in the 1860s. Ask students to think about the paintings featured in the video and describe the typical style of these works. What did students notice about the palette and the brushstrokes? How was light important to the Impressionists? Would students describe these works as realistic? Why or why not?
  2. Talk about the subject matter. Were the paintings typically illustrating aristocracy? What was the typical setting of these paintings, inside or outdoors? How were these paintings like photographs? How were they like still images within a movie?
  3. Remind the class that although there were basic similarities among the Impressionists, there were also important differences. Tell the class that they're going to create a classroom Impressionist exhibition to compare and contrast some of the major artists of the movement. Divide the class into small groups and explain that each group is going to create a mini-exhibit about one Impressionist. Assign or let each group choose one of the following artists:
    • Mary Cassatt
    • Edgar Degas
    • Edouard Manet
    • Claude Monet
    • Berthe Morisot
    • Camille Pissarro
    • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
    • Alfred Sisley
  4. Have groups work together to explore the works of their assigned artist. Within each group, have each student select and make a color printout of one painting considered a good representation of Impressionism. Many works for each painter are at the following sites:
  5. Have each student create a label for a selected work, including the artist name, title, date, and a description, which should address the following:
    • Describe the subject: What does the artist show in this picture? What details or symbols give clues to its meaning? Where is the scene supposed to take place?
    • Describe the technique: How would you describe the artist's use of color and light? How would you describe the brushstroke?
    • Why would this be considered an Impressionist work?
    • How is it different from the work of other Impressionists? What makes this work unique to this particular artist?
  6. Have groups post their images and descriptions together in a designated spot around the room. Give students an opportunity to walk around the classroom, viewing and reading about works by other Impressionists. Then come together and have a class discussion comparing and contrasting these artists. How are they alike? What makes each artist unique?
  7. To conclude the lesson, show students works by the following artists: Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Paul Gaugin, and Georges Seurat. Explain that these artists are often considered Postimpressionists. The following site links to several works from these artists:
  8. Ask students to examine these works and compare them to those in their Impressionist exhibition. What similarities do they see? How might the Impressionists have inspired them? How are they different? How did the artists break away from the Impressionists? (Many of these artists continued to show real-life subject matter, using bright colors and visible brushstrokes. And like the Impressionists, these artists were not interested in showing a realistic view of the word with fine details. However, the Postimpressionists moved even farther away from realism, often showing subjects in more abstract, geometric forms, sometimes in unnaturally bright or unexpected colors.)

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Assessment


Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • 3 points:  Students demonstrated a strong understanding of Impressionism, including artistic styles and techniques; developed a clear, thoughtful description of the subject matter and technique of one Impressionist painting, answering all the questions; provided at least one similarity and one difference among the Impressionists; provided at least one similarity and one difference between Impressionists and Postimpressionists.
  • 2 points:  Students demonstrated a satisfactory understanding of Impressionism, including artistic styles and techniques; developed a clear, complete description of the subject matter and technique of one Impressionist painting, answering most of the questions; provided at least one similarity or one difference among the Impressionists; provided at least one similarity or one difference between Impressionists and Postimpressionists.
  • 1 point:  Students demonstrated a poor understanding of Impressionism, including artistic styles and techniques; developed an incomplete or unclear description of the subject matter and technique of one Impressionist painting, answering few of the questions; had difficulty identifying any similarities or differences among the Impressionists; had difficulty identifying any similarities or differences between Impressionists and Postimpressionists.

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Vocabulary


absinthe
Definition: An addictive, intoxicating drink made from wormwood; a cross between hard liquor and heroin
Context: Degas' most famous painting of café life is "Absinthe Drinker," depicting a woman stupefied by a narcotic drink sitting next to an alcoholic.

allegorical
Definition: Showing something with symbols that represent something about human life
Context: Adolphe Bouguereau quickly sold this 19th-century adaptation of Botticelli's "Birth of Venus." The angels and cupids make the woman allegorical, or noble.

Impressionism
Definition: An artistic movement or style of painting in which brushstrokes of bright colors are used to show the effects of reflected light
Context: Impressionism means painting nature in bright colors, such as painting the light that falls on a pleasant object.

perspective
Definition: The appearance of objects in a painting or drawing that shows their distance from the observer
Context: The architectural details and perspective had been minutely worked out before he painted the scene.

Salon
Definition: An official art exhibition in Paris sanctioned by a government-approved jury; beginning in the 18th century, the exhibition was public and held in the Louvre.
Context: For the artist who wanted to make a living in France in the 1860s, there was one gallery where his paintings simply had to hang, the Salon in Paris.

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Academic Standards


National Arts Education Associations
The National Arts Education Associations have developed national guidelines for what students should know and be able to do in the arts. To view the standards online, go toartsedge.kennedycenter.org/teach/standards.cfm.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
  • Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
  • Using knowledge of structures and functions
  • Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
  • Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
  • Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

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