Skip Discover Education Main Navigation
Skip Discover Education Main Navigation

Lesson Plans Library 9-12 > Fine Arts
20th-Century Painters: Masters of Color
20th-Century Painters: Masters of Color
Grade level: 9-12 Subject: Fine Arts Duration: 2 class periods
 



lesson plan support
Student Objectives
  • Understand how the artwork of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso evolved throughout their lives.
  • Describe how the work of the artists reflected the their lives and times, and how they inspired new artistic movements.
  • Compare and contrast the works of the two artists at different periods in their lives.
Materials
  • Masters of Colorvideo
  • Computer with Internet access
  • Color printer
Procedures
  1. After watching the video, review important facts about Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. What country was each artist from? When did these artists begin to paint professionally? How would students describe their early works? What other artists or movements inspired them?
  2. Show students the following works by Matisse and Picasso. What was unique, innovative, or shocking about these paintings? Ask students to compare and contrast the forms and colors in the paintings.Explain that these works represent one phase in each artist's life. In fact, their artwork evolved throughout their lives as they experimented with styles, subjects, and media. Tell students that they'll work in two groups to explore the works and create a visual timeline of the art and life of Matisse or Picasso.
  3. Each timeline should include at least ten works of different media. Talk about some of the different media these artists used. (A medium can refer to the materials artists use, as well as the type of art they create.) For example, Matisse and Picasso created paintings, drawings, sketches, collages, sculptures, cutouts, and stained glass.
  4. Tell students that their outlines should include at least one work from each decade during the artist's lifetime, starting in the 1890s. The paintings they select should reflect the style that artist used during each period.
    Students will find many images of the artwork by Matisse and Picasso at the following Web sites:
  5. Once students find their selected works of art, have them print out the image in color. They should also create a label for each work that includes the artist name, title, date, and description. The description should answer at least one of these questions:
    • How does this work reflect the places, people, or events in the artist's life at this time?
    • How does this work reflect artistic movements of the period, or how did this work reflect a new and different artistic style?
    Have students hang their timelines on a bulletin board, one above the other. Have each group present each work of art on the timeline to the rest of the class.
  6. To conclude the lesson, have students compare and contrast the style and subjects of the works in the two timelines. How were their styles alike and different in each period?

Back to Top

Assessment
Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • 3 points: Students demonstrated a strong understanding of how the work of Matisse or Picasso evolved throughout their lives; developed a clear, thoughtful description of how the work of an artist reflected his life and times and how he inspired new artistic movements; provided at least one similarity and one difference between the two artists.
  • 2 points: Students demonstrated a satisfactory understanding of how the work of Matisse or Picasso evolved throughout their lives; developed a complete description of how the work of an artist reflected his life and times and how he inspired new artistic movements; provided one similarity or one difference between the two artists.
  • 1 point: Students demonstrated a poor understanding of how the work of Matisse or Picasso evolved throughout their lives; developed an incomplete or unclear description of how the work of an artist reflected his life and times and how he inspired new artistic movements; did not provide any similarities or differences between the two artists.

Back to Top

Vocabulary
Abstract Expressionism
Definition:An artistic movement that first emerged in New York after World War II in which painters often created large canvases with abstract, nonrepresentational forms; paint was often applied quickly or forcefully to express feelings and emotions.
Context:In Matisse's painting, the subject is barely recognizable. Still, there is a doorway, but his intention is to express a mood. Fifty years later the style would be called abstract expressionism.

Cubism
Definition:An artistic movement of the 20thcentury in which the subject matter is broken up and reassembled in abstracted, sometimes geometric form, often as if viewed from different angles
Context:Around 1910, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque set out to bring a new art into the 20th century ? Cubism.

Impressionist
Definition:An artist from the artistic movement or style of painting called Impressionism, in which brushstrokes of bright colors are used to show the effects of reflected light
Context:Matisse's radically new style stunned the art critics of his day. Its shocking use of bright, non-descriptive color contrasted greatly from the style of the Impressionists of his day.

medium
Definition:The materials an artist uses to create a piece of work, or the method an artist uses to create the work
Context:After his surgery, Matisse cut shapes from plain white paper painted into bright colors. He no longer had to draw lines or use brushes or clay. He had found a new medium.

palette
Definition:The range of colors characteristic of an artist's work.
Context:In works from Picasso's blue period, his palette remained cold blue.

Back to Top

Academic Standards
National Arts Education Associations
The National Arts Education Associations have developed national guidelines for what students should know and be able to do in the arts. To view the standards online, go toartsedge.kennedycenter.org/teach/standards.cfm.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
  • Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
  • Using knowledge of structures and functions
  • Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
  • Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
  • Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

Back to Top