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Michelangelo Buonarroti
Pablo Picasso
Studying Piet Mondrian

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Michelangelo Buinarroti - A Famous Artist

This lesson allows students to study the work of the famous Michelangelo and to try their hand at painting a Sistine Chapel "ceiling"!

To begin the lesson, discuss the background of this famous man. Share stories of his life as he grew to become the famous artist. These sites provide excellent biographies of Michelangelo...
Michalengelo Biography Site

Discuss some of Michelangelo’s famous works. If possible, download some of the paintings and print them with a colour printer. Have students discuss the elements of design used by Michelangelo in groups. Encourage students to talk about colour, line, texture, etc. See this site for samples of his work.

Tell the students about Michelangelo’s famous work painting the Sistine Chapel. Ask the students to guess which part of the chapel he painted (the ceiling). Discuss as a group what painting upside down would be like and how it might affect his work - difficulty, time, materials, etc. Share pictures of the Sistine Chapel paintings. This site has the ceiling in several sections to study.

Tell the class that they will be working as a group to paint their own simplified version of a "ceiling". As a class, chose an overall theme that you want to depict in the painting. Cut several large sheets of paper into pie shapes with rounded ends. Show the class how when all the pieces are finished and put together they will make a large circle (this is your simplified shape). Divide the class into groups. Each group will work on a section of the "ceiling". Groups must cooperate to decide what will be painted in their section. Now tape the sheets to the bottom of several tables. (NOTE: You might need to get your custodian to help out here by lowering the table height). Cover the floor with newspaper or drop sheets and go to work! (HINT: Be sure to take photos of this event to display with your finished product!)

When all groups are finished, have them paint a black outline around their pie-shaped paper. Display all "pie" pieces together in a circle to represent your own ‘ceiling’!

- Shayni Tokarczyk

Pablo Picasso


Consider introducing your students to Picasso during your art classes. Read to the students about Picasso's life, explaining that his artwork often reflected his mood/feelings at that particular time in his life. There was a long period in his life where he painted in blues (after a friend's suicide) and times where he painted in bright, happy colours (when he was in love). I hand out a mini copy of Picasso's "Still Life on a Pedestal Table" to each student and have them glue it into their art journal. We discuss how to "critique" an art piece and they write about this piece. I encourage them to write about how the painting makes them feel, the colours, lines and textures used, the message Picasso was trying to send, and whether or not they like the painting. 

The second step is to have the students try their own Picasso piece. I bring in a variety of "strange" materials, such as vases, stuffed animals, containers and odds and ends and we set up two displays. The students choose the one they want to try. The results were way beyond what I had imagined and the kids loved the activity. The picture to the right represents a student sample.


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Discovering the Primary Colours with Piet Mondrian

If you are interested in teaching your students about the primary colours of red, yellow and blue, be sure to check out the work by artist Piet Mondrian. Mondrian created many works but a large portion of them were done with only the primary colours. By using horizontal and vertical black lines intersecting at right angles with small rectangles of colour (red, yellow or blue), Mondrian produced several works of abstract art. These are excellent to introduce your students to these vibrant colours. Be sure to check out some of Mondrian's sites (see below) to download and print samples of his work and a biography to share with your students.

Sites to visit with biographies and samples of Piet Mondrian's work...

Piet Mondrian Site 1

Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue
Piet Mondrian, 1921

- Shayni Tokarczyk

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est. 1999 Shayni T.  Clip Art Downloading Instruction & Terms of Use
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Last Updated on December 21, 2014