Katherine Roundtree: High Museum Lesson Plans, Elementary
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African Mask Making
Why are masks important to African traditions and cultures?
After visiting the High Museum and seeing African masks, ask the students this question:
“Why were these mask made and what were they used for?”
Although masking ceremonies are not as common place in Africa as they once were, masks are still looked at as an important part of African culture and history and are still used in important rituals and celebrations.
v In this art lesson students will learn how to make an African mask using papier mache.
v In the process they will also learn about how masks were used in Africa and about the many ethnic groups in Africa.
v The students will learn how to apply the mathematical concept of Symmetry.The Art Lesson:
Your classroom is being transformed into an African Art museum. You have been hired as a curator to help design the African Mask section. You will need to:
1. Choose an African Mask.
2. Research the Tribe in which the mask is from.
3. Recreate the Mask using papier mache.
4. Write a Museum Piece that describes your mask and tribe.
newspaper and brown paper bags wall paper pastemasking tape file folders/cardboard
paint (various colors) glue, scissors, exacto knife varnishfeathers (varies)
rope (varies) raffia (varies) beads (varies) other adornments
Steps Suggested Time Frame
1. Crush newspaper into the desired shape of the mask. For the most part, the shape of an adult human head is the easiest shape with which to work. 1 class period
2. With a few pieces of masking tape, roughly tape the newspaper into the desired shape. Use cardboard or file folders to hold the shape together. 1-2 class periods
3. Prepare the papier mache solution by mixing wall paper paste and water (50/50). With torn (not cut) strips of newspaper, dip the strips into the solution and cover the front and sides of the mask form only. Strips should not be longer than five inches each and should not be wider than one inch. Complete this process until mask has been covered with at least four layers of papier mache. Mask should be wet, but not dripping with mixture. If the mask is too wet, add another layer of dry strips. 2-3 class periods
4. Nose, brows, eyelids, and other facial characteristics should be added at this time. Use pieces of file folders and newspaper to These additions should be covered with four layers of papier mache. Place the mask on a dry surface to dry. 3-6 class periods
5. When mask is thoroughly dry (usually the next day after you finish step 4), cut a hole in the back or under the mask and pull the foundation (the original balled-up form) from the papier mache. To strengthen the edges of the mask, tear small pieces (two inch strips) of brown paper bags, dip in paper mache mixture, and cover around the entire rim of the mask. The purpose of this process is to strengthen the weakest part of the mask.
Pieces of brown paper bag with printing should not be used. 1-2 class periods
6. Cut areas on your mask where the eyes, mouth, nose, etc. should be. Cover the entire mask with strips of paper bag and the mixture. The inside of the mask should also be covered with brown paper bag strips. When done, you should only see brown strips of paper bags covering your mask.2-4 class periods
7. When dry, the mask is ready to be painted (usually the day after you finish step 6). Depending on the design of the mask, painting may take several sittings. 2-4 class period
8. Varnish mask when paint dries (usually day after step 7). 1 class period
9. Feathers, beads, yarn, rope or other adornments may be added. Depending on complexity of mask, the time this takes to complete varies. 2-4 class period
10. Holes are punched in the sides of the mask for the purpose of display. 1 class period
African Mask Making continued…
The students choose a mask to reproduce. The goal is to replicate the mask as closely as possible. Students use papier-machè formed around a base to construct their replica. Features are then added. The features are then papier mached until hard. Next, the mask is painted and varnished. The last step is to add any other elements such as hair, cloth, raffia, and metal to the finished mask.
Phase 2 of the lesson:
The museum writing consists of two sections. The first section element is a well-researched article on the tribal group were the mask originated. The students must determine which materials were used to produce the mask. These materials must be indigenous to Africa and the region in which the tribe lived. In this section the student will also describe the region in detail geographically. The last part of the museum writing component, and perhaps the most important, is to describe the ceremony or purpose of the mask. In other words, how did their tribal group use the mask. The research for this is sometimes quite difficult. If the exact purpose of the mask cannot be determined, the student must create appraise for the mask based on what other ceremony masks are used for by the tribe.
Extension Activities Ideas:
•Expand research and create ethnic group reports
•Use ethnic artifcacts from Africa to spark ideas for further investigations
•Research how masks are used in other places
•Investigate why masking ceremonies are no longer common place in Africa
•What and how are other objects used in ceremonies around the world including the United States
•Black Africa by Laure Meyer (1992)
•Masks of Black Africa by Ladislas Segy (1976)
•The Principal Ethnic Groups of African Art by Jacqes Kerchache
•The Shape and Belief - African Art by Mary Roberts and Allen F. Roberts
•From Afar to Zulu by Jim Haskins and Joann Biondi (1995)
•Africa books from Ethnic Arts and Facts
•Africa Culture Kits from Ethnic Arts and Facts
MONET'S GARDEN BY THE SEA
Grade: Grades: 4– 8th, but can be modified for high school
Subject: Art History / Integrating mathematical concepts
This lesson is part of a unit of study focusing on “Impressionist Painters. It explores the art of Claude Monet, by looking at his painting - "Garden at Sainte-Adresse". The concept of using strong vertical, horizontal, and diagonal line is introduced, and the students will create their own garden by the sea utilizing a similar composition design.
Time needed for lesson:
2-3 periods depending on the group of students
Establish their own design utilizing a similar composition to Monet's.
Integrate their drawing skills in creating a "garden by the sea".
Utilize strong vertical, horizontal, and diagonal line within their compositions.
Utilize intersecting and parallel lines.
Incorporate their skills of establishing foreground, middle ground, and background in their composition.
What You Need:
Display size reproduction of Monet's "Garden at Sainte-Adresse.
12"x18" white drawing paper
What You Do:
Pass out paper, pencils and erasers.
Display and discuss Claude Monet's painting "Garden at Sainte- Adresse".
Discuss Monet's love of flowers and water.
Review the concept of foreground, middle ground, and background on the picture plane.
a. Instruct the students to lightly establish these 3 areas by drawing 2 light horizontal lines on their papers.
Point out Monet's use of horizontal line (horizon of the ocean, the wooden fence in the garden), vertical line (flag poles, tall standing flowers), and diagonal line (patio). Also point out Monet’s use of intersecting and parallel lines.
Instruct the students to create their own "garden by the sea"
a. Remind the students they must establish strong vertical, diagonal and horizontal lines.
1. Hint: The lines can be almost anything, trees, houses, roads, etc.
b. Students can depict any type of scene, but they must include flowers and water.
7. Students must show their pencil drawings before introducing oil pastels.
Differentiated instruction accommodations - Students who are more advanced drawers can get as complex as they would like with this project. Beginning students or students with special needs should be encouraged to establish basic compositions - offering any necessary assistance.
Did the student use strong diagonal, horizontal, and vertical line in his/her design?
Were flowers and water incorporated into the composition?
Did the student establish a foreground, middle ground, and background on the picture plane?
Linnea in Monet's Garden
by Christina Bjork, Lena Anderson
Linnea has visited Claude Monet's garden! In Paris, she got to see many of his actual paintings. Now she understands what it means for a painter to be called an Impressionist. This innovative art book for children contains full-color photos of many of Monet's famous paintings.
“A LOOK AT IMPRESSIONIST PAINTERS”
In the 1860s and 1870s, a group of French painters created what was then a shocking new style of painting that eventually came to be knownas Impressionism. Monet, Degas,Renoir, Cezanne, and other artists rejected the official Academy standards for both subjects and technique, leaving behind traditional mythological or historical subjects in favor of images of middle-class life in France. The paintings were shocking to the public and often provoked considerable scorn and anger from contemporary critics and writers on art. The sketchlike application of paint was roundly derided. It has even been reported that some of the rowdy scenes among the hostile public caused such pandemonium in the salesroom that the police had to be called in to resume the peace. In January,1897, when the Impressionist painting collection was first shown at the Musee du Luxembourg, violent protests erupted in political and artistic circles.
Although these early initiatives attracted a few supporters among private collectors who had the vision to buy this new and “difficult” art, it would take over twenty years for Impressionism to receive the official sanction of the museums.
In order to understand the difficulty of Impressionism, we must look at the “Pre-Impressionism,” or, as correctly labeled, “Realism.”
Realism or the Realist school and realism - The realistic and natural representation of people, places, and/or things in a work of art. The opposite of idealization. One of the common themes of postmodernism is that this popular notion of an unmediated presentation is not possible. This sense of realism is sometimes considered synonymous with naturalism. Realism denotes a mid-nineteenth century art movement and style in which artists discarded the formulas of Neoclassicism and the theatrical drama of Romanticism to paint familiar scenes and events as they actually looked. Typically it involved some sort of sociopolitical or moral message, in the depiction of ugly or commonplace subjects.
Below are some examples of “Realistic” paintings:
The definition of “good and acceptable” painting, before the Impressionist painters came along to “upset the apple cart,” was realistic painting. Paintings had to correctly mimic reality, all objects had to look “real,” in order to constitute successful painting. Paintings also had to address an important issue. The Impressionist painters were an insult to the critics. This group of painters, who chose to use “raw brushstrokes,” and paint about everyday life, were considered amateurs painters who were trying to pass-off art sketches as finished art. It was distasteful to leave brushstrokes showing in a painting. And, the critics didn’t believe that professional painting should ever be about middle-class life.
THE LIFE OF MARY CASSATT
Mary Cassatt (b. May 22, 1844, Allegheny City, Pa., U.S.--d. June 14, 1926, Château de Beaufresne, near Paris, Fr.), American painter and printmaker who exhibited with the Impressionists.
Mary Cassatt was the daughter of an affluent Pittsburgh businessman. Her father’s French ancestry had endowed him with a passion for that country. After Cassatt studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, she battled with her father for the right to go to Paris and study painting. She then travelled extensively in Europe, finally settling in Paris in 1874. In that year she had a work accepted at the Salon and in 1877 made the acquaintance of Degas, with whom she was to be on close terms throughout his life. His art and ideas had a considerable influence on her own work; he introduced her to the Impressionists and she participated in the exhibitions of 1879, 1880, 1881 and 1886, refusing to do so in 1882 when Degas did not.
Mary Cassatt was a unique artist because she was a woman who succeeded in what was in the nineteenth century a predominantly male profession. She was also unique because she was the only American invited to exhibit with a group of independent artists later known as the Impressionists, and because she responded in a very distinctive way to their mandate to portray modern life.
In regard to Degas's invitation to exhibit with the Impressionists, she told her biographer, Achille Ségard:
“I accepted with joy. At last, I could work with absolute independence without considering the opinion of a jury. I had already recognized who were my true masters. I admired Manet, Courbet, and Degas. I hated conventional art”.
Cassatt was a great practical support to the movement as a whole, both by providing direct financial help and by promoting the works of Impressionists in the USA, largely through her brother Alexander. By persuading him to buy works by Manet, Monet, Morisot, Renoir, Degas and Pissarro, she made him the first important collector of such works in America. She also advised and encouraged her friends the Havemeyers to build up their important collection of works by Impressionists and other contemporary French artists.
Her own works, on the occasions when they were shown in various mixed exhibitions in the USA, were, at first, unfavorably received. Cassatt’s disapointment with this reception was, in part, her reason for choosing to live and exhibit in France. Of cource, later the USA was happy to embrace, and claim Cassatt as their contribution to Impressionism. Her paintings were later very favourably received by the critics and contributed greatly to the acceptance of Impressionism in America. Despite her admiration for Degas, she was no slavish imitator of his style, retaining her own very personal idiom throughout her career. From him, and other Impressionists, she acquired an interest in the rehabilitation of the pictural qualities of everyday life, inclining towards the domestic and the intimate rather than the social and the urban (Lady at the Teatable, 1885; Metropolitan Museum, New York), with a special emphasis on the mother and child theme in the 1890s (The Bath, 1891; Art Institute of Chicago). She also derived from Degas and others a sense of immediate observation, with an emphasis on gestural significance. Her earlier works were marked by a certain lyrical effulgence and gentle, golden lighting, but by the 1890s, largely as a consequence of the exhibition of Japanese prints held in Paris at the beginning of that decade, her draughtsmanship became more emphatic, her colors clearer and more boldly defined. The exhibition also confirmed her predilection for print-making techniques, and herwork in this area must count amongst the most impressive of her generation. She lived in France all her life, though her love of her adopted countrymen did not increase with age, and her latter days were clouded with bitterness.