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MFA for Educators

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

What Makes a Myth Good?

The people of ancient ages shared stories called myths about the gods, goddesses, and heroes in which they believed. These exciting stories explained natural phenomena that could not be explained by science in the ancient world. The Ancient Greek culture has been kept alive by the oral and later written stories and the depictions in art through thousands of years. The artists often depicted narratives by showing a chosen moment or a hero from an episode of great importance to a story myth. These favorite episodes became formulaic representations of myths, some serving as parables for contemporary events

Today, many modern plays, novels, television programs, movies and even advertisements refer to Greek gods, goddesses, heroes and their stories. Adventurous and exciting stories delight and entertain us.

This lesson is part of a class in which students spend a semester studying Greek and Roman mythology. Prior to this lesson, students are asked to read episodes from Homer’s Iliad and familiarize themselves with Achilles and Trojan War.

Grade Level: 9-12
Learning Goals: Students will
-Familiarize themselves with the elements of a good myth.
-Look closely at objects and observe details.

Key Ideas:
- The depictions of myths in art are important to understand the ancient history, people and myths.
- There are several elements what makes a myth good.

Classroom Activity: - In previous lessons students has read parts of different myths. In today’s class they view images of selected objects in detail and explored the elements what make a myth good. At the end of the class students will be asked what they need in a good myth. Then they will be asked to make up a new myth about Achilles and have him become a modern day hero. After that they will draw one or more scenes of their mythological storyline. After making several preliminary sketches, students will lightly sketch their final illustration on paper and cut into the shape of an amphora. Finally, students will complete an oral presentation of their new myth using the amphora as a visual tool. Three-dimensional amphoras can be created with papier mache or actual pottery vases.

Created By

Senem Bas