Art Lesson Plan: Art History Research Painting

Art History Research Painting

Submitted by: Gloria Rabinowitz, North Shore Hebrew Academy HS, Great Neck, NY
UNIT: Painting - Art History Research
Lesson: Painting with and Learning From Art History - Extend the Composition
Grade Level: High School (adaptable to middle school)



To create a painting based on the style of an artist from a particular art period in history. Research a modern artist and present critique of one major work.



Acrylic Paint., Acrylic Gloss Medium., Stretched Canvas. (or Canvas Panels.), a small reproduction of the artist's painting. (Can use Gesso. on corrugated cardboard). Handout for artist research (Adapt this to your needs) Fine Art reproductions (about 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.7 cm) to 8" x 10" (20 x 25.5 cm)



Collect a number of reproductions from magazines, post cards and calendar prints. Prepare a list of artists for students to research based on your collection - or have students find image on line (or scan in from book)


art history painting art history painting art history painting art history painting
Dali Magritte Manray Thiebaud



  1. Present a PowerPoint overview of the modern art styles students will be focusing on - just a brief introduction as students will go more in depth. Alternate: Show video of modern art styles.

  2. Talk about copyright issues with this lesson. Students are appropriating an image. Discuss Fair Use and whether or not this lesson falls under Fair Use guidelines. (Students could look up Fair Use guidelines - then give their responses based on what they read).


  1. Students select an artist for study - find an image that appeals to them. They will use the entire image or a cropped version.

  2. With acrylic polymer medium, paste the artist's reproduction in the center of the canvas to be painted on.

  3. Place Tracing Paper. on top of the entire canvas and have students sketch out a composition. Think about similarities and differences, large and small, near and far.

  4. When the students are pleased with their tracing sketch, have them transfer the drawing to the canvas.

  5. Have the students paint in the style of the artist's work while making a relation to their own composition. Title works "After (name of artist)"

  6. Students present their research to the class (students may choose to do a poster, PowerPoint or written report). Class critique of finished work.


  1. Is the composition unified?

  2. Did students relate their composition to the artist's work?

  3. Did the students paint in the technique and style of the artist they chose to copy?

  4. Did the students create a good work of art utilizing the elements of art and principles of design?

Extending the Composition - Lesson Variation from Melissa Speelman

It might be fun to have the students take digital photos that concentrate on one of the elements of art without letting on that they will be using it later.  Attach the photo to the canvas and extend the composition to include all or some of the remaining elements/principles.


(Revised from Marianne Galyk)

Assessment Rubric

Student Name:

Class Period:

Assignment: Art History Research Painting

Date Completed:

Circle the number in pencil that best shows how well you feel that you completed that criterion for the assignment.




Needs Improvement

Rate Yourself

Teacher’s Rating

Criteria 1 – Student's composition shows relationship to original work

10 - 9

8 - 9

7 - 8

6 or lower



Criteria 2 – Composition shows understanding of elements and principles of design

10 - 9

8 - 9

7 - 8

6 or lower



Criteria 3 – Painting technique reflects style of original artist through use of color and brush strokes.

10 - 9

8 - 9

7 - 8

6 or lower



Criteria 4 – Effort: took time to develop idea & complete project? (Didn’t rush.) Good use of class time?

10 - 9

8 - 9

7 - 8

6 or lower



Criteria 5 – Craftsmanship – Neat, clean & complete? Skillful use of the art tools & media?

10 - 9

8 - 9

7 - 8

6 or lower



Total: 50

(possible points)







Your Total

Teacher Total


Student Comments:


Teacher Comments:


National Standards:


1. Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

2. Using knowledge of structures and functions

4. Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

5. Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

Students apply media, techniques, and processes with sufficient skill, confidence, and sensitivity that their intentions are carried out in their artworks

Students demonstrate the ability to form and defend judgments about the characteristics and structures to accomplish commercial, personal, communal, or other purposes of art

Students differentiate among a variety of historical and cultural contexts in terms of characteristics and purposes of works of art

Students identify intentions of those creating artworks, explore the implications of various purposes, and justify their analyses of purposes in particular works

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

Students evaluate the effectiveness of artworks in terms of organizational structures and functions

Students describe the function and explore the meaning of specific art objects within varied cultures, times, and places

Students describe meanings of artworks by analyzing how specific works are created and how they relate to historical and cultural contexts


Students create artworks that use organizational principles and functions to solve specific visual arts problems

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

Students reflect analytically on various interpretations as a means for understanding and evaluating works of visual art



Add to or Comment on this Page:

More To Explore