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Pick Out the Patterns

What happens when shapes and colors are repeated and organized? Stunning patterns emerge! This cool Klimt style makes gorgeous Valentine cards.

  • Grade 6
    Grades 7 and 8
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Gustav Klimt, an Austrian painter, was born on July 14, 1862. His work usually dealt with the themes of life, love, and death. He created many wonderful portraits in the process of exploring these themes. Klimt was responsible for founding the Austrian school of painting known as the Vienna Secession. Klimt’s work is known for its decorative qualities. The Vienna Secession is considered to be the Viennese version of the Art Nouveau movement, which is highly decorative, using pattern, stylization, and flowery ornament.
    2. Invite students to look closely at Gustav Klimt’s Emilie Floge, his Bildnis Fritza Riedler, or his most famous painting, The Kiss. Notice how he uses extremely complex patterns to fill in large areas of the paintings, while his faces and hands remain smooth and composed. Pattern is simply a repetition of a shape or shapes in an organized manner. Ask students to describe what they see in Klimt's work.
    3. Ask students to create a pattern drawing of their own. Begin by using Crayola Washable Markers to divide paper into many smaller, irregular shapes. Look at Klimt’s artwork for pattern ideas. Use several different colors to create different patterns in each separate shape created. Students carefully place colors so the overall picture is well balanced. Fill entire page with patterns.
    4. Encourage students to try making Valentines, Mother’s Day cards, or other gift accessories with these colorful designs.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    VA: Select media, techniques, and processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.

    VA: Employ organizational structures and analyze what makes them effective or not effective in the communication of ideas.

    VA: Integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in their artworks.

    VA: Analyze contemporary and historic meanings in specific artworks through cultural and aesthetic inquiry.

  • Adaptations

    Teachers are encouraged to preview Klimt's work prior to the lesson in order to select the most appropriate treatment of subjects for students.

    Working in small groups, ask students to analyze Klimt's pattern work. Visually, how do the patterns look and make you feel? What do you think about Klimt's use of color in his patterning? How do the patterns assist with getting the artist's message across?

    Encourage students to create luscious fabric designs in the Klimt style using Crayola Fabric Crayons. Provide students with a 12" x 12" square of muslin to create their fabric artwork. If all or most students complete a square, set them together to create class quilt of designs.

    Students write a summary paragraph describing how they created their quilt squares and how their artwork reflects Klimt's technique. When displaying the completed quilt, post student writing near the quilt.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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