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.

Symbols of Power in Art

What can we find out about a culture through its images of power? How are different social classes represented through art? Who gets depicted in art, why? What do we know about who is in power? How are our lives affected by others in power? What are conventional representations of power, and what could challenge these representations?

Students will examine works that provoke us to examine how Power affects our lives and values. Representations of Power includes qualities of strength, protection, grace, wealth, forces of nature, as well as relationships between gender and race. Students will be asked to reflect upon their own interpretations of power. This is designed for 5th graders, but could be adapted to a range of grades.

Pre Visit - Students will discuss images shown in the below slideshow.

Visit - Students will go on a scavenger hunt in groups of 4 to locate other works that depict elements of Power. They will then present their findings to the rest of the class (approx. 24 students = 6 groups). Each group will discuss their interpretations and ask the class to offer alternative perspectives.

Post Visit - Students will create a piece that uses the re-appropriation of a work from the Museum and modify/reinterpret the work to shift the dynamics of power (who is in power?, how is power shown?, what message does this now suggest?).

Created By

Sarah Altone