These lessons will build students' awareness of how stories can be told visually and how artists use color, line, gesture, composition, and symbolism to tell a story. Students will interpret or create narratives based upon a work of art and apply what they have learned to create works of art that tell a story.

For the Classroom


Lesson Plans

Lessons 1 of 2

Telling Stories: Witness to a Brawl
Grades/Level: Middle School (6–8)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English—Language Arts
Lesson Overview: Students explore how an artist emphasized the narrative in a work of art that depicts a single moment from the story. They then write a newspaper article, using visual clues in the painting to imagine how the narrative depicted may have unfolded.

Musicians' Brawl / G. de la Tour

Telling Stories: Symbols of a Life
Grades/Level: High School (9–12)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English—Language Arts
Lesson Overview: Students identify the narrative elements in a work of art and learn how artists use symbolic imagery to communicate the larger narrative of a person's life. Students then write their own narratives about an historic figure and use visual symbols to create an image about that person that communicates important events in his or her personal narrative.

Birth of Alexander / M. Jardin vertueuse consolation

Lessons 1 of 2