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Leonardo da Vinci was fascinated with faces. Students view faces similar to those Leonardo drew in preparation for making original self-portraits.
Introduce students to Leonardo da Vinci, an artist fascinated with human idiosyncrasies. He filled notebooks with his sketches of facial features. Inform students that in this lesson they will use Leonardo's observational techniques to inspire self-portraits. First provide class time and resources for students to investigate da Vinci's live and artistic career. What type of artist was da Vinci? Where was he from? What was his childhood like? What other artists may have influenced his career? In small groups, students discuss their findings.
Students view their own faces in mirrors. Ask them to think about something that makes them really happy. They'll see a smile forming, and all of the changes in faces that accompany the smile: cheeks rise, and eyes may close slightly, creating laugh lines. These lines, which extend down from one's nose on either side of the mouth, will deepen, and dimples may form. What other changes can be seen? Ask each student to make a list of changes they see in the mirror with each new facial expression.
Ask students to think about something that elicits a sad emotion. How does the facical expression change? Challenge students to try making faces that show other emotions, such as surprise or indignation.
On white construction paper, students use Crayola® Washable Markers to draw their faces showing one of the experimental emotions. As students look at their reflections in the mirrors, have them draw so what them see, keeping focused on facial details. Encourage students to refer to their notes as needed.
Students color their portraits with Crayola Construction Paper Crayons.
Once self-portraits are complete, ask students to write a short paragraph identifying their facial expression, describing what they incorporated into the artwork to show that expression and how their self-portraits art similar to, or different from, da Vinci's style. Assist with writing as needed.
Post student artwork and writing pieces on a classroom bulletin board or in a school corridor.
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