Students learn about Courbet and French Realism before making their own “real” artwork inspired by something from their own lives.
10+ sessions; 45 minutes per session
1. The students will view and discuss a slides presentation about Gustave Courbet, the French Academy, and Realism.
2. The students will understand the principles of French Realism.
3. The students will take at least 5 photos of scenes from their everyday lives for possible use in an art project.
4. The students will create a “real” work of art in the media of their choice based on things that are visible and tangible in their lives.
Day 1: Introduction/Discussion
-The teacher will explain that we are going to discuss the work of a new artist, Gustave Courbet, and how he rebelled against the French Academy.
-The teacher will go through the slides presentation and the class will discuss the text, artwork by Courbet as an example of Realism and Bouguereau as an example of Academic painting, and excerpts from Courbet’s letters. Information that the teacher wants to convey are in the notes section of each Slide.
-The teacher will make sure students understand that French Realists were concerned with making art about the contemporary world- people and events of their own time- that were “visible and tangible”.
-The teacher will encourage students, reminding them that their life is full of worthy subject matter for art.
-The first part of the assignment is for students to take photos of their lives to gather inspiration and imagery for the studio part of the assignment.
Day 2: Planning
-The students will bring in the photos they took and develop an idea for a work of art in the media of their choice based on something from their lives that is “visible and tangible.” -This could be a 2D interpretation of their photo but it doesn’t have to be.
-The students will get their plan approved by the teacher before beginning.
Days 3-14: The students will work on their projects.
Day 15: When the students have finished their projects, they will write an artist statement reflecting on their work and connecting it to Courbet’s idea of Realism.
I used this lesson in a class that had already been introduced to all media but you could limit it for your course.
Visual Arts Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
[9-12 Proficient] Students conceive and create works of visual art that demonstrate an understanding of how the communication of their ideas relates to the media, techniques, and processes they use
[9-12 Proficient] Students apply media, techniques, and processes with sufficient skill, confidence, and sensitivity that their intentions are carried out in their artworks
[9-12 Advanced] Students communicate ideas regularly at a high level of effectiveness in at least one visual arts medium
Visual Arts Standard 2: Using knowledge of structures and functions
[9-12 Proficient] Students create artworks that use organizational principles and functions to solve specific visual arts problems
Visual Arts Standard 3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
[9-12 Proficient] Students reflect on how artworks differ visually, spatially, temporally, and functionally, and describe how these are related to history and culture
[9-12 Proficient] Students apply subjects, symbols, and ideas in their artworks and use the skills gained to solve problems in daily life
Visual Arts Standard 4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
[9-12 Proficient] Students analyze relationships of works of art to one another in terms of history, aesthetics, and culture, justifying conclusions made in the analysis and using such conclusions to inform their own art making
Visual Arts Standard 5: Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others
[9-12 Proficient] Students identify intentions of those creating artworks, explore the implications of various purposes, and justify their analyses of purposes in particular works
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