Drawing Famous Art

Lesson Purpose

For this high school art lesson, I wanted to student buy-in. I also wanted students to practice drawing. This was an afterthought initially but it will be the primary emphasis the next time I run the course. For this lesson, I asked students to send me a link to an artwork. They were limited to certain art periods: The Ming Dynasty, The Edo Period, Realism, Impressionism, Post Impressionism, Surrealism, Pop, Street, and Contemporary. After we draw, we discuss each piece briefly. Further instructions are below my handwritten notes:

Lesson Timing

The drawing is silent, which only works for a 4 minute period. At 5 minutes, students get restless. This period includes the time it takes to write down the title, artist, style, and time for the piece. I do not check to make sure students are working. If they want to write down the information and then meditate, they are free to do so. Instead, I draw myself and make comments about things I struggled with. I find this encourages the class… and I like drawing!


1. Show students The MET website and search function. 
2. Ask students to send me a link to a work of art that fits under certain categories. (Although the lesson plan is called “drawing famous art”, students may choose any artwork they like from these genres, including obscure pieces.)
3. Arrange student works into slides.
4. Add extra slides for students who did not complete this piece of work.

1. I show the slide and read out the information with no commentary.
2. I set the timer for 4 minutes. I draw with students to familiarize myself with the piece and to ensure that I call out the timing at around the 2 minute mark.
3. I ask the class to brainstorm clues to help remember the title, artist, style, and dates. This was the single most successful idea I have had this year. Students found numbers in artworks. They shared historical information, noticed aspects of each style, and learned word definitions (“Treachery” and “Clairvoyance”). I love this lesson and I recommend it wholeheartedly. 

We did 32 slides per class. Slideshow activity in clusters of 5-7, depending on workload for the day. Great as warm-up.

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