User Menu

MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

John Singleton Copley: Describing Important People Through Portraits

John Singleton Copley:

Description

In this lesson students will explore a range of historically significant portraits by John Singleton Copley. A portrait is a picture of a person and often emphasizes the person's face, expression, mood and special interests. In this lesson we will explore several of Copley's portraits from the American Revolutionary period. Inquiry based questions will guide students through a close investigation of content and meaning in each portrait. Students will make connections between art and history throughout the lesson.

Students will create a portrait of someone important to them using what they learned from looking at Copley’s portraits. They can choose a caregiver, a sibling, a grandparent, a teacher, a coach, etc. The portrait should include an object that represents why that person is important to them. For example, a portrait of a mother may include a favorite book she read to them. A portrait of a grandparent may include an element from a family tradition they shared together.

Learning Goals

Students will--

Learn to “read” a portrait: Inventory-describe what is in the portrait; Identify design elements-describe the colors, textures, shapes; Sensory impact- describe the artwork using the 5 senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, smell

Explore the artist’s choices for the sitter: Pose; Emotion; Looking front or side; Location; Attire; Props

Explore the function of portraits: Recording history, Showing social status, Memory keepsake

Create their own portrait of someone who is important to them. They can choose a caregiver, a sibling, a teacher, a coach, etc. The portrait should include an object that represents why that person is important to them. For example, a portrait of a mother may include a favorite book she read to them. A portrait of a grandparent may include an element from a family tradition they shared together.

Use what they learned from the MFA online exploration of Copley’s portraits and include in their portrait: color, texture, shape, focal point, choice for pose, emotion, location, attire, and prop.

(See lesson plan attachment under Related Resources)

 



Related Resources