Masterpiece Distortions with Phillip Martin
Lesson Plan

My school once hosted a guest artist. I've long since forgotten his name but I won't forget the dinner we shared. He said he really thought teachers should never ask kids in their classrooms to make reproductions of famous masterpieces. I held my tongue until I was asked for my opinion. So, I said, "He's allowed to have his own opinion even if he is wrong." Yes, there was an awkward silence.

Working with masterpieces is a great way to introduce your class to some of the great artists in history. This was made ever so clear to me when I took my class to the National Portrait Gallery in London. They recognized so many works that they and their friends created. I was so pleased.

This project integrates with math and still provides me with an opportunity to throw in a little art history -- with a unique twist.  At any age, using a grid is a useful tool for an artist.  In this project the grid goes over a famous painting.  They copy the masterpiece one block at a time.  But, the grid they transfer their art onto had been somehow twisted.    It was a great way to introduce some famous artists and their work. 


Copyright 2000, revised 2012 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.