Larger Than Life

Larger Than Life lesson plan

Francisco de Goya's genre paintings inspire original fantasy drawings in response to literature and real life.

  • 1.

    Francisco de Goya was born on March 30, 1746, in Fuentendos, Spain, and was known for his haunting political satire painting and his imaginative portraits, which were dramatic and close to caricatures. His attention to detail enabled him to note both the reality of a situation (the everyday items and details) and the potential for imaginative additions to his subjects. The painting Colossus shows his imagination quite well, while Portrait of Mariana Waldstein exemplifies his keen observational skills. Many of his paintings were political commentaries, using dramatic color and light to further dramatize his work.

  • 2.

    Read classic or contemporary fantasy stories, either individually or with the group. Imagine how Goya might have illustrated these stories.

  • 3.

    To create your own genre painting (painting of everyday life) that also includes fantasy, imagine yourself in an everyday setting. On white paper, use Crayola® Washable Markers to draw yourself in a familiar place, such as your bedroom or your yard.

  • 4.

    Then draw a thought bubble of yourself, doing something terrific! Imagine yourself larger than life, doing whatever you dream you could do. Think about Goya's Colossus and create an imaginative image of yourself that is strong and bold. Use bold and vibrant colors to make a powerful impact with your drawing, as Goya did with his paintings.


  • LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of grade level text's complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • LA: Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
  • LA: Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • 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: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.
  • SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.


  • Possible classroom resources include: The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamilo; The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamilo; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  • After reading a fantasy story, use Goya's style to illustrate a self-selected scene from the story.
  • Working in small groups, students read a teacher-selected fantasy story. Students collaborate to re-write the closing chapter of the story, altering the story line. Students use Goya's style to illustrate their new ending. The altered closing should be presented to classmates.
  • Students look closely at Goya's portraiture, "Group on a Balcony." Use Crayola Crayons or colored pencils to draw a group portrait of yourself and several friends talking casually on a balcony or porch.