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The Artistic Influence



Exploring the Legacy and Impact of the Art and Architecture of Italy on Contemporary Society

the Art and Architecture of Italy on Contemporary Society Architecture of the Roman Empire & Art

Architecture of the Roman Empire & Art of the Italian Renaissance

Italy is full of a rich cultural and artistic history. Some of the most iconic works of Western art were created in Italy during the ancient Roman Empire and the Italian Renaissance, helping to establish the conventions of Western art still present today. Explore, analyze and evaluate the lasting impression of the art of Italy, from the architecture of ancient Rome to the paintings of the Renaissance through research, discussion, critical thinking, and studio art activities. Discover how this artistic legacy has influenced your own surroundings and the art that is made today.

Written by Susan Uhlig, 2005-2006 for West European Studies of Indiana University

This unit of The Artistic Influence of Italy: Exploring the Legacy and Impact of the Art and Architecture of Historic Italy on Contemporary Society addresses national standards in the Visual Arts, Science, Geography, History, Geometry, and English and is adaptable for grades 5-12. It consists of two main topics: Architecture of the Roman Empire and Art of the Italian Renaissance.

About this unit on the Artistic Influence of Italy… • Use this lesson plan unit

About this unit on the Artistic Influence of Italy…

Use this lesson plan unit as a guide or starting off point to enhance your own lessons.

The set of plans is geared towards grades 5-12. While this is a wide range, individual teachers can adapt the lessons to meet the needs of their own students by making the lessons more challenging or by lessening the amount of work required.

Locate maps of Italy. Use a current map to compare to the past. Locate several maps of the Roman empire in various stages, especially at its height. Examine a map of the borders during the Renaissance to see the different duchies and states.

BCE means “Before Common Era”. CE means “Common Era”.

The “Suggested Artworks” in every lesson are listed for you to use with the corresponding lesson activities. Find these images in books or by doing a simple search on the internet.

The accompanying PowerPoint corresponds in order of the lessons in the unit. Use these images in other areas as needed or print images for students to refer to.

All photos taken by Susan Uhlig unless otherwise noted.


Materials ? Questions Suggested Images/Photos

Lessons in The Artistic Influence of Italy

Unit 1: Architecture of the Roman Empire Lesson 1: Innovations Lesson 2: Colosseum and the Arena Lesson 3: Roman Basilica to the Cathedral Culminating Activities Ideas for Further Exploration Terminology Resources Unit 2: Art of the Italian Renaissance Lesson 1: Spatial Constructs Lesson 2: Representing the World Around Lesson 3: Importance of the Artist Culminating Activities Ideas for Further Exploration Terminology Resources National Standards Addressed

The Artistic Influence of Italy
The Artistic Influence of Italy

Unit Section One

The Architecture of the Roman Empire

The founding of Rome was in the 8 th century BCE- April 21, 753 BCE to be exact. Legend has it that twins Romulus and Remus were thrown into the Tiber River by their great uncle, who thought that the twins (whose father was Mars) would one day overthrow his rule. The twins were found by the she-wolf, who suckled them. Raised by a shepherd, the twins grew strong, found out their heritage, killed the great uncle who tossed them into the river, and settled on the Palatine Hill. Remus thought Romulus wasn’t properly building the walls on the hill, so Romulus killed him. To get women for his new city of Rome (named after him), Romulus and the largely male population of Rome carried off the women in the nearby Sabine tribe.

From the Republic and its senators (509 – 27 BCE) to the Empire and its emperors (27 BCE – 476 CE), Roman culture quickly flourished through its expansion. By 117 CE, the last year of Emperor Trajan’s reign, the Roman Empire spread around the Mediterranean Sea, including western Europe, north Africa and east Asia. The Roman legacy and influence spread with the expansion, bringing the language of Latin, the use of coins, the building of roads, and other building projects. A variety of emperors went on building sprees, building larger and grander structures than the last.

The Romans spread their influence, but also assimilated the culture of those conquered. The Greeks were probably the most influential culture the Romans conquered, and the Romans copied their statures, admired their craftsmanship, and assimilated their architecture into their own.

One of the purposes of Roman architecture was to show their strength and might, the Roman’s hold over its vast empire. The structures were massive and innovative, making use of new technologies, such as the dome, and new materials, such as concrete. The design of many of today’s buildings, especially governmental and civic buildings, have been based on Roman structures, and the architectural innovations of the Roman Empire, such as the arch and the use of concrete, are still present today

In 476 CE, Rome was sacked and the Empire fell. Their legacy, however, continues.

Unit One will explore how the architecture of the Roman Empire continues to influence the architecture of today.

Architectural Innovations of the Romans: The Arch, the Dome, and Concrete

The Colosseum: Arena Prototype

Basilica: From Meeting Hall to Christian Church

Culminating Activities

Ideas for Further Exploration

Architectural Innovations of the Romans:

The Arch, the Dome, and Concrete

Innovations of the Romans: The Arch, the Dome, and Concrete An arched doorway in Florence Background

An arched doorway in Florence

Background of Architectural Innovations

Although the arch was not invented by the Romans (the Sumerians were the first to invent the arch, and the Etruscans applied it in their architecture), the Romans did develop the use of the arch for its full potential. The arch became a basic feature in Roman architecture, seen in the arcading of the Colosseum and the expansive property of the aqueducts, as the arch could span a great distance with great stability due to the balance of compression and tension of its structure. The arch could be made by using a variety of materials, such as brick, stone or concrete, a new building material made from lime, sand, water, and stones, rock or pottery combined with volcanic stone to delay drying time. The design of the arch also had personality: Baker and Baker thought the Roman arch portrayed “power and strength of individual.”

The arch was also the basis of other structural forms. By extending the arch, it becomes a barrel vault. By intersecting two barrel vaults perpendicularly, a cross or groin vault occurred. By rotating the arch 360˚ on its axis, a dome is formed.

Architectural Innovations of the Romans: The Arch, the Dome, and Concrete

Innovations of the Romans: The Arch, the Dome, and Concrete The Pantheon in Rome Background of

The Pantheon in Rome

Background of Architectural Innovations and the Pantheon

The Pantheon embodied the architectural innovations of the dome and concrete and is one of the most iconic and intact Roman buildings from antiquity. The Pantheon, a temple dedicated to all of the gods, was rebuilt by Hadrian in c. 118-125. The original temple was built by Marcus Agrippa in 27- 25 BCE. Much of the original building was destroyed by fire in 80 CE, so Hadrian honored Agrippa by the inscription on the portico. It reads: M-AGRIPPA-L-F-COS-TERTIUM-FECIT, "Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, consul for the third time, built this."

The dome of the Pantheon is the largest from antiquity and was the largest dome in the western world for approximately 1300 years until the early 15 th century when Brunelleschi built the Duomo in Florence. The height of the dome, approximately 139 feet (some sources list as 141 feet), is the same as its diameter, forming a sphere in its negative space. The Pantheon was meant to be entered from the front, and in antiquity, a welled courtyard was constructed in the front to funnel visitors through the portico. Once through the large, Greek styled portico, the grand effect of the domed interior would then be revealed. Today, the wall is gone, and visitors can walk around the massive, cylindrical exterior.

The dome of the Pantheon was formed by using concrete. To reduce the weight as well as to accentuate the design, coffers were used, creating a honeycomb pattern made by inserting wooden

plates into the concrete and removing them once the concrete was dry. An oculus, or eye, of 30 feet

in diameter allows light to filter in. the sun.

The oculus is the only source of light, and is said to symbolize

Architectural Innovations of the Romans: The Arch, the Dome, and Concrete

National Standards

NAVA 1, 3, 4 NS 2, 5 NSS GK 2 NSS WH 4 NM GEO 1, 4

Learning Objectives

Students will learn:

1. How to construct a dome.

2. How to apply terminology of the arch and the dome

3. That the arch and dome are structurally very sound.

4. To appreciate the ancient Roman innovations of the arch, dome, and concrete.

5. That the Roman development of concrete allowed for slower drying times, enabling larger, more complex structures to be built.

6. That the Pantheon has influenced the look of architecture for the past 500 years.


Per student:

Worksheet: Parts of the Pantheon Toothpicks Modeling Clay Pipe cleaners Plastic or metal dish

In general:

Suggested Images A large utility sponge Permanent marker Styrofoam arch (one to demonstrate to a large group, or several for small groups of students to explore) X-acto knife Concrete and mixing material Newspaper cooking spray

Suggested Images

Diagram of an arch Diagram of a barrel vault Diagram of cross or groin vault Diagram of dome Roman aqueduct Pantheon, both interior and exterior Giovanni Paolo Panini’s painting of Pantheon interior, c. 1734 Palladio’s Villa Rotunda Jefferson’s University of Virginia Rotunda Jefferson’s home in Monticello Examples of domes in your state, region, town

Architectural Innovations of the Romans: The Arch, the Dome, and Concrete

Introduction/Motivation: Creating an arch

The arch was developed by the Romans for use in their architecture because of its tensile strength. Use a large utility sponge to demonstrate the use of compression and tension. On the longer side of the height of the sponge, draw a line horizontally (parallel) down the middle with a permanent marker. Above the line, write TENSION and below the line write COMPRESSION. When the sponge is bent slightly, an arch is formed. Tension occurs on the outside of the arch, as the sponge is stretched apart, whereas compression occurs on the inside of the arch as the sponge is bunched together. It is the balance of the two that make the arch structurally sound.

Now apply this same idea with the Styrofoam arch. Measure the inside of the Styrofoam arch and

divide by 5 for larger pieces or 9 for smaller pieces (just make sure the number of pieces is an odd number). With the permanent marker, mark the inside accordingly. Now measure the outside of the arch, divide by the same odd number as used on the inside, and mark accordingly. Connect the marks

with a ruler. Number each section. Cut the Styrofoam with the X-acto.

voussoir. The top center wedge is the keystone, the last and most important piece of the arch as it locks the other voussoirs into place with compression. Stack the voussoirs back into the arch, placing

the keystone in last.

Each wedge is called a

? Where is the area of compression in the Styrofoam arch?

? What is a keystone? Why is it important?

? What materials do you think an arch could be made of?

? Where are arches found in your school? Neighborhood? Community?

? What would happen if the Styrofoam arch was extended or if many Styrofoam arches were placed together? (Introduce term barrel vault)

? What would happen if two barrel vaults were placed perpendicularly, in a cross shape? (Introduce term cross or groin vault)

? What would happen if the arch were rotated 360 ˚ on its axis? (Introduce term dome)

What would happen if the arch were rotated 360 ˚ on its axis? (Introduce term dome

Architectural Innovations of the Romans: The Arch, the Dome, and Concrete

The Arch


Architectural Innovations of the Romans: The Arch, the Dome, and Concrete Main Lesson: The Pantheon

Architectural Innovations of the Romans: The Arch, the Dome, and Concrete

Main Lesson: The Pantheon and the Dome

Reinforce idea of arch as stable structure.

Introduce the Pantheon- application of dome as a solid structure, which is essentially an arch rotated 360º on its axis.

? If buildings have personality, and the arch portrays “power and strength” as Baker and Baker suggest, what does the Pantheon represent?

Many buildings are based on the Pantheon’s exterior; Thomas Jefferson based the rotunda at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1817-26, on the Pantheon. Jefferson was also inspired by Palladio’s Villa Rotunda, 1550-59, which was also inspired by the Pantheon. Michelangelo was inspired by the Pantheon in his construction of the dome of St. Peter’s, and Brunelleschi was inspired by the Pantheon for the Duomo in Florence.

? Where are Pantheon-like domes found in the U.S. today?

? Why is the dome used extensively in government buildings?

Look at the parts of the Pantheon. The portico is the entryway. It consists of columns and the triangular pediment. The dome is visible at the top of exterior. In the interior, the oculus is visible as well as the coffered ceiling.

Replicate the Pantheon’s majestic dome using simple building materials.

1. Use either pipecleaners or toothpicks and balled up modeling material to replicate the dome. Pipecleaners can be twisted together to connect them. The toothpicks can be connected with modeling material or other suitable material (peas or mini-marshmallows could also be used).

2. Include an oculus, or opening, at the top of your dome.

3. Test the strength of your creation by stacking increasingly heavier weight of the top of it.

4. See who can build the strongest dome, the best looking dome, and the dome that looks most like the Pantheon.

The Artistic Influence of Italy
The Artistic Influence of Italy
Architectural Innovations of the Romans: The Arch, the Dome, and Concrete Extension/Enrichment: Using Concrete Concrete

Architectural Innovations of the Romans: The Arch, the Dome, and Concrete

Extension/Enrichment: Using Concrete

Concrete is a common building material today. Structures like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in New York City couldn’t have been built without the use of concrete. We value concrete for its relatively slow drying time (enabling work to be done on it), its strength, and its versatility, all things the ancient Romans also valued it for. The Romans were the first to find a suitable recipe for concrete. It consisted of mortar made with lime (from burned chalk or limestone), rubble (for strength), water, and pozzolana (volcanic ash).

The interior of the Pantheon’s dome was made in concrete, and it had coffers, translated as “box” or “chest”. The coffered ceiling not only added architectural interest, but also helps to reduce the weight of the dome. The coffers were created by inserting wooden molds into the wet concrete and removing them once the concrete was dry.

Create a stepping stone or other small relief sculpture using concrete to experience working with this material. This will get messy, so plan on lying down newspaper around the work surface.

1. Each student should have a plastic or metal mold in the desired size. Put a light layer of cooking spray in the mold to act as a release.

2. Follow the directions on making concrete on the package.

3. Pour the concrete into the mold.

4. As the concrete is setting, insert objects into it. As the concrete sets a bit more, impressions or indentations can be made into the concrete. Modeling clay can be made into stamps to stamp coffers into it if desired.

5. Once dry, pop out the stone.

The Artistic Influence of Italy
The Artistic Influence of Italy

Architectural Innovations of the Romans: The Arch, the Dome, and Concrete

Parts of the Pantheon

The exterior of the Pantheon Dome Pediment
The exterior of the Pantheon



The interior of the Pantheon

Oculus Coffers

Architectural Innovations of the Romans: The Arch, the Dome, and Concrete

Label the Parts of the Pantheon


The exterior of the Pantheon
The exterior of the Pantheon

The interior of the Pantheon

the Parts of the Pantheon Name The exterior of the Pantheon The interior of the Pantheon
The Artistic Influence of Italy
The Artistic Influence of Italy

The Colosseum: Arena Prototype


The Colosseum: Arena Prototype Background : The Colosseum in Rome A large numbers of Romans enjoyed

The Colosseum in Rome

A large numbers of Romans enjoyed watching events such as gladiator fights. This gave rise to the construction of the circular arena to hold all the spectators while allowing for direct sight of the action. The Colosseum, while not the only arena built in ancient Rome, was the largest and is certainly the most well known today.

The Colosseum was ordered by Vespasian and completed in 80 CE under Titus.

built on the large residence and swimming pool of Nero.

Amphitheatre, but has been known since the Middle Ages as its present name due to the colossal statue of Nero that once stood alongside the structure. The Colosseum is set at the southeast end of the Forum, and was the largest permanent arena, or amphitheatre built in Rome. (Others were built, though they were temporary ones made from wood.) An amphitheatre means “double theatre.” It is an elliptical shape, and is approximately 615 by 510 feet in diameter. It stands approximately 160 high, and has four floors. The first three floors on the façade have eighty arches with columns in the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian order (respectively). The top floor had consoles that supported posts onto which awnings would be stretched to shield the audience from sun and rain.

The Colosseum was

It was originally named the Flavian

The Colosseum supported up to 50,000 people, and admission was free. Each class or group had different sections to sit in the amphitheatre and different entrances to use, reflected in the ticket needed for admission and the numbered archways to enter. Four arches were restricted to ordinary citizens and were used by the emperor and his family, the senators, vestal virgins, priest, and


death. Often, exotic beasts were added for excitement and thrill of the hunt. According to many sources, the Colosseum was also able to hold water, flooded for mock naval battles. (Scholars are divided on that issue, however. Some have concluded that early in the Colosseum’s history, the arena was able to be flooded, but after the subterranean floor was divided up into many hidden entrances for the gladiators, this was no longer possible.)

The Colosseum was primarily used for gladiator fights, where the fight would be until

Other events besides gladiator fights included performances by jugglers, dancers, acrobats, and parodies of legends. Events were publicized with posters. The savage gladiator events stopped in 404, but public executions continued. From the 6 th century up until the 19 th century, the Colosseum fell in disrepair by plundering and neglect. It still stands today, but it suffers from 20 th century pollution.

The Colosseum: Arena Prototype

National Standards

NA VA 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 NS 5 NSS GK 1 NSS WH 9 NM GEO 4 NL ENG 7, 8

Learning Objectives

Students will learn:

1. That today’s sport’s arena has its roots in the Roman arena, such as the Colosseum.

2. That the Colosseum used a ticketing system to let event goers know where to sit.

3. To appreciate the longevity of the Colosseum’s shape for use in allowing thousands of people watch an event.

4. That the façade of the Colosseum incorporates the Greek orders in the order of their appearance.


Per student:

worksheet “The Colosseum VS. the Modern Sports Arena” graph paper 2- 12” x 18” sheets of white paper thin Sharpie marker pencil eraser 2 ½” x 5” piece of cardstock paper tube (from paper towels, toilet paper, gift wrap) paper glue

In general:

suggested images access to computer with color printer

Suggested Images

Roman Colosseum, both interior and exterior Diagrams of the Greek column orders Pantheon, exterior of portico Plans and photos of major sports arenas and stadiums around the United States, such as Soldier Field in Chicago Plans and photos of sports arenas in your area

The Colosseum: Arena Prototype Introduction/Motivation: Tickets, Please! A recent advertisement for Rome; Engineering an

The Colosseum: Arena Prototype

Introduction/Motivation: Tickets, Please!

A recent advertisement for Rome; Engineering an Empire on the History Channel has a drawing of

the Colosseum with the corresponding text “The World’s First Superdome (with parking for thousands of chariots.)” The comparison of such an ancient building to the superdome of today helps bridge that gap between ancient and modern.

It seems today that most people, kids included, have been to an event in an amphitheatre.

? Has anyone been to a sports event or a concert in an arena?

? What did you see?

? Describe how you went from the outside to the inside of the arena, then how you ultimately found your seats.

? Where were your seats?

? How did you know where to sit?

? How was your view of the action?

? Typically, where are the expensive seats located?

? Where are the “cheap seats” located?

There were 80 entrances to the Colosseum. While the events at the Colosseum were free, each audience member needed to have a ticket to enter. The Romans developed the ticket system so people could locate their seats by knowing what section their seats were in and what entrance to go into. The privileged (emperors, vestal virgins, and senators) had the better seats while other citizens sat according to their rank in society. The seats highest up went to plebeians and women.

Use the worksheet “Colosseum Vs. Modern Sports Arena” worksheet to compare more information about the Colosseum with students’ event experiences in arenas.

The Artistic Influence of Italy
The Artistic Influence of Italy

The Colosseum: Arena Prototype

Main Lesson: Design an Arena

The Colosseum was built solidly of marble and stone, allowing it to stand for almost 2,000 years. Contemplate what the Venerable Bede, English historian and Benedictine monk (672/3 – 735) said regarding the Colosseum:

While the Colosseum stands, Rome will stand; When the Colosseum falls, Rome will fall; When Rome falls, the world will fall.

? What does that mean? To what extent would you agree? Disagree?

There are hundreds of arenas in the United States, and every year, “old” ones are being torn down as new ones are built. (Interesting that our “old” arenas are usually only about 50 years old!) For example, plans are underway to build Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, a $625 million project. Architects design new features, such as retractable roofs and VIP seating. But the basic shape and structure remain similar to the arenas of the past.

Design your own stadium. (And try to make it last as long as the Colosseum has lasted!)

1. Look at internet sources, such as Stadiums of the NFL ( Also look at a variety of plans and both exterior and interior photos of arenas. Be sure to look

carefully at the plan of the Colosseum.

2. Consider the following when planning your design:

? What is the main purpose? For sporting events? Which sport?

? What other events can be held in there? Conventions? Circuses? Flea Markets? A temporary storm shelter?

? Will it be open or enclosed with a roof?

? How many people can it seat?

? How many entrances will it have?

? What will the exterior look like?

? Will food stations be included? How many?

3. Make a plan of the stadium on graph paper. Indicate where the main action will be taking place, how many sections there are, how many balconies there are.

4. Draw a plan for the exterior of the stadium on a 12” x 18” sheet of paper. Use pencil to lightly sketch your idea, and then go over with the thin marker. Erase your lines. Will your inspiration be classical, modern, or eclectic?

5. Finish off the arena by staging an event.

? What type of event will you have? An NBA playoff game? A circus? A football game? A concert?

6. Create a poster advertising the event with markers on the 12” x 18” piece of paper.

7. Make a fake ticket to accompany your event on the 2 ½” x 5” piece of cardstock. Make sure to include suggested entrance gate, section number and seat number.

The Colosseum: Arena Prototype

Extension/Enrichment: Capitals & Columns:

There are five orders of columns. The Greeks developed the Doric order, the Ionic order, and the Corinthian order. Romans added to these orders by incorporating the Tuscan order and the Composite order, both hybrids of the Greek orders. The Doric order uses a cushion-like capital, tapered shaft, and lack of base. The Ionic order of column uses a curved volute capital, straight fluted shaft, and stepped base. The Corinthian order uses acanthus leaf capital, straight fluted shaft, and base.

Each tier of the Colosseum incorporates the three Greek orders in corresponding sequence of invention. Identify each order.

Look at other examples from Roman buildings, such as the Pantheon. What order of column is used? Find examples in your community and identify the type of column used.

The Romans borrowed the orders from Greek architecture. They combined different styles to create their own orders. Design another order of column. How did you come up with the design? Use a paper tube (paper towel, gift wrap, toilet paper) as a basis to create a type of column. Use paper to add a capital and base.

paper) as a basis to create a type of column. Use paper to add a capital
paper) as a basis to create a type of column. Use paper to add a capital

The Colosseum: Arena Prototype

The Colosseum Vs. the Modern Sports Arena




Your arena:

What is its main purpose?


When was it built?


Who built it?


Is it open or enclosed?


What is the seating capacity?


What does it look like?


What is the typical cost of admission?


What other functions does it have?


The Roman Basilica to the Christian Church

The Roman Basilica to the Christian Church Basilica of Maxentius/Constantine in the Roman Note: This lesson

Basilica of Maxentius/Constantine in the Roman

Note: This lesson addresses the religion of Christianity and requires study of the basilica structure and its application to churches in the Christian faith today.


The year was 313 CE. The Emperor Constantine signed the Edict of Milan, which allowed the tolerance of all religions in the Roman Empire, including Christianity. Soon after, Christianity became the official religion of the Romans. Christian worship went from clandestine meetings in homes to avoid persecution to many worshipping together in large groups. A new type of building needed to be constructed to hold the growing Christian congregations, something other than reusing the pagan temples. The basilica, which served as a hall for a covered market and courthouse, became the new building model for worship. The basilica is a rectangular building divided along its long axis into the nave, the central portion, and side aisles. At one end of the nave is a hemispherical apse. Once the basilica shape became adapted for the new Christian religion, architects began adding features. The transept is perpendicular to the nave, and the shape of its crossing the nave resembles a cross. The narthex is opposite the apse, and is the entrance to the basilica. Arcading, or repeated arches, were used for the interior side aisles. Clerestory windows, place in the area above the nave, allowed light to filter in.

The Roman Basilica to the Christian Church

National Standards

NA VA 1, 4, 5, 6 NS 5 NM GEO 4

Learning Objectives

Students will learn:

1. That the building plan of many churches today is based on the Roman basilica shape.

2. How to apply terminology associated with the basilica.

3. How to design a new structure based on the basilica shape.


Per student:

worksheet “Roman Basilica” pencil

In general:

suggested images

Suggested Images

Plan of Roman basilica Plan and elevation of Basilica of Maxentius/Constantine Plan and elevation of Old St. Peter’s Plans and photos of a variety of churches and cathedrals Church in your town or area that follows a basilica plan

The Roman Basilica to the Christian Church

Introduction/Motivation: Intro to Basilica

Introduce the Roman basilica shape by showing a plan of the basilica shape. This type of structure was used initially as a covered market or courthouse.

? What are the advantages of this type of structure?

? When Christianity was legalized in the 4 th century in Rome, worshippers needed a place to gather together. Why was the basilica shape utilized?

Show examples of churches.

? What do the churches have in common?

? How are they structurally similar?

? How are the churches similar to the Roman basilica?

Main Lesson: Design a Basilica

Design a structure based on the basilica.

1. Use or trace the plan of the basilica from the worksheet.

2. Think of a purpose for the basilica. Will it be a church? A town forum? A covered shopping market?

3. Add features on the plan such as a nave, aisles, apses, transepts or any feature you think would make a good design.

Extension/Enrichment: Tour a Church

Go to a local church and tour the interior.

Can you locate the following:

? Narthex?

? Trancept?

? Apse?

? Nave?

? Side aisles?

? How is this church different from a Roman basilica?

? What other features do you see?

The Roman Basilica to the Christian Church

The Roman Basilica


The Roman Basilica to the Christian Church The Roman Basilica Name The Artistic Influence of Italy
The Roman Basilica to the Christian Church The Roman Basilica Name The Artistic Influence of Italy
The Roman Basilica to the Christian Church The Roman Basilica Name The Artistic Influence of Italy
The Artistic Influence of Italy
The Artistic Influence of Italy

The Roman Basilica to the Christian Church

Roman Basilica Plan



Side Aisles


Side Aisles



Basilica Church with Transepts

Apse Transept Transept Side Aisles Side Aisles Nave Narthex The Artistic Influence of Italy
Side Aisles
Side Aisles
The Artistic Influence of Italy

Culminating Activities for Architecture of the Roman Empire

Learning Objectives

Students will learn:

1. How to create an architectural model

2. How to apply Roman architectural aspects to create a new design

3. To appreciate the architecture in their own community

4. How to recognize architectural innovations from ancient Rome in their own communities.


Per Student:

Graph paper Acetate sheet Permanent marker Bristol or tag board White glue

In General:

Foam core board Corrugated cardboard Cardboard tubes Variety of materials for building

Designing a Classical Building

Roman architecture has been influential for two thousand years. Many homes, museums, and governmental buildings have direct inspiration from Roman sources. For example, the architect Richard Meier designed the complex and gardens of the Getty Center in Los Angeles (1984-1997) with inspiration from Hadrian’s Villa located just outside Rome in Tivoli (118-134). William Randolph Hearst was a world traveler, and designed the Neptune Pool at Heart Castle (1919-1947) in San Simeon, California after a Greco-Roman Villa. And the majestic dome of the Pantheon, of course, inspired Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, Thomas Jefferson, and countless state capitol buildings!

Draw a structure. Before you begin designing, be able to answer these questions:

? What will it be used for? (worship, personal residence, sports arena, government building, etc.)

? Where will it be located?

? How big will it be? (This may depend on its purpose.)

? What aspects of classical architecture will it incorporate?

Getting started:

1. Create a plan, which shows the layout of each floor, of your structure on the graph paper.

2. Draw the section, which is the vertical cutaway of the interior (like a doll house) on a sheet of paper.

3. Tape an acetate sheet over the section to draw the elevation, or side view of the exterior,

with permanent markers.

4. From the small plan on graph paper, enlarge it to the scale, or size, you want the model to be on bristol board.

5. Now begin construction on your classical building. Use any variety of construction materials such as foam core board, cardboard, modeling clay, papier mache, stiff paper, etc.

Community Architectural Hunt

Discuss the innovations of Roman architecture, including:

the arch

the dome



basilica shape

Your community is probably filled with many of these innovations as well as designs based on classical elements!

Walk around your neighborhood to find Roman/Classical inspired designs and innovations. Use the “Community Architectural Hunt” worksheet to make a tally of how many times you saw that architectural innovation and use a specific location to write down exactly where you saw that feature and sketch it in the box.

Community Architectural Hunt


Walk around your neighborhood to find Roman/Classical inspired designs and innovations. Next to each item, jot down every time you see that innovation/design. Then, in each box, include a specific location of where you found the innovation and draw a quick sketch of it.

Arch -

Dome -

Arcading -

Vault (type?) -

Concrete -

Column (type?) -

Arena -

Oculus -

Coffers -

Basilica -



For Further Exploration on the Art of the Roman Empire

Ideas that relate to Roman art and architecture and have applications for today

Roman art and arch itecture and have applications for today Mosaics Romans are well noted for


Romans are well noted for their beautiful and practical mosaics on the floors and walls of homes and baths, such as the “Cave Canem” (Beware of Dog) mosaic used to warn visitors of their family dog in a Roman home. Mosaics are designs made of bits of tile or glass called tesserae. Today, mosaics are found everywhere, from public art sculptures such at Watts Towers in Los Angeles to candleholders found at a local store. Where else can you find mosaics? Create a mosaic using tile or glass and mortar. Or, for a simpler, more classroom friendly option, use construction paper tiles.

Roman Frescoes

The Romans decorated their walls with paintings in the form of frescoes. There were four major styles of frescoes:

simple, little color, copying Greek pictures or those that resemble marble

pictures to resemble architecture, landscapes, and vistas in a trompe l’oeil fashion

landscapes in background, figures in foreground

Combo style: filled with figures, statuary, landscapes

Where are wall paintings seen in your own community? (Perhaps public art murals?) Create a fresco

based on one of these styles or plan a mural for the wall of the classroom.

these styles or plan a mural for the wall of the classroom. Roman Sculptures The ancient

Roman Sculptures

The ancient Romans admired Greek statuary so much that they made reproductions of them. In fact, most of the sculptures we know as Greek are really Roman copies of Greek originals that have since been lost or destroyed over time. The Romans did, however, create original portrait sculptures, capturing the expression and details such as wrinkles of a real face, as opposed to an idealized Greek appearance. Look at sculptures at your school, local art museum, and around town. Do the sculptures you see contain these kinds of details? How is Roman influence noted? Create a clay bust of someone (yourself?). Try to capture all of the details of the face, including wrinkles and facial hair.

Roman baths

Roman baths were large, and each had a specific purpose, such as a room for hygiene and a room for exercise. What does that sound like? Spas and gyms! Compare this relationship further to what was offered in the Ancient Roman baths vs. what is offered in today’s spas and sports complexes. Also compare the plans and overall architecture of a modern facility with that of the Roman ones. How are they similar? How are they different?


The word graffiti is a plural derivation from the Latin word graffito, which was derived from the Greek word graphein meaning “to write.” Some of the earliest graffiti was found in Pompeii, carved into the walls of homes and monuments. Subject matter included quotations from literature, insults, political statements and caricatures, and love declarations. (Sound familiar?) Today, graffiti continues from its ancient legacy to evolve into “writing” by using spray paint. Graffiti is prevalent in the streets of Rome today, and can be found on virtually any viaduct or railroad car in the United States. Examine more of this history and its evolution to an artform (albeit illegal artform) today. In Indiana, a great place to see artistic and legal graffiti is in Broadripple. Which then begs the question, is it really graffiti if it is legal? Should graffiti be an area of study given its illegal history in the U.S.? Why is it illegal if it has been practiced for thousands of years?

it illegal if it has been practiced for thousands of years? Aqueducts and Fountains Aqueducts carried

Aqueducts and Fountains

practiced for thousands of years? Aqueducts and Fountains Aqueducts carried water from springs in the countryside

Aqueducts carried water from springs in the countryside to Rome’s fountains, baths and some individual homes. Some of these systems are still in use today, enabling fresh, clean water to continuously stream out of fountains around the city, allowing anyone to quench their thirst as they walk around the city streets. How do the drinking fountains look in your community? Is it safe to drink the water coming out of public fountains? Why or why not? Design your own fountain for drinking that incorporates Roman designs.

Vitruvian Man

Vitruvius was a Roman engineer, architect, and author of De architectura (“On Architecture”), which as written c. 27-23 BCE. De architectura was a 10 book treatise on architecture. In these 10 books, Vitruvius wrote clearly and simply on both theoretical and practical applications of architecture and construction. Vitruvius was rediscovered during the Renaissance and greatly influenced architects such as Alberti and Palladio (who subsequently wrote their own books on architecture in the 16 th century). He also influenced other Renaissance artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, who drew the iconic Vitruvian Man in the 16 th century based on the proportions of man set forth by Vitruvius in his books. Vitruvius continued to influence the direction of architecture through the early 20 th century, until modernist values rejected his theories. Read all or some of the books of De architectura ( View Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man and test to see if the proportions Vitruvius wrote of are correct. For ideas on lesson plans, see the Drexel Math Forum site (

Terminology for Roman Architecture aisle amphitheatre apse aqueducts arcading arch arena barrel vault basilica

Terminology for Roman Architecture

aisle amphitheatre apse aqueducts arcading arch arena barrel vault basilica clerestory windows coffers Column Orders: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian compression concrete, dome Edict of Milan graffiti groin vault keystone mosaic narthex nave oculus pediment portico portrait sculptures Roman baths tensile strength tension tesserae transept voussoir

The Artistic Influence of Italy
The Artistic Influence of Italy


Children/Juvenile/Illustrated Books Ancient Roman Art Book to introduce students to Ancient Roman art and architecture. Susie Hodge. Heinemann Interactive Library, Reed Educational & Professional Publishing; 1998.

Ancient Rome Well-illustrated book on the architecture and culture of ancient Rome. Peter Connolly. Text by Andrew Solway. Oxford University Press; 2001.

Ancient Rome: Monuments Past and Present Descriptions of Roman buildings such as the Forum, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and St. Peter’s with transparency overlays to help reconstruct what the original building looked like. Romolo Augusto Staccioli. Vision S.R.L. Roma; 2006 (new edition with CD-DVD ROM)

Classical Ingenuity: The Legacy of Greek and Roman Architects, Artists, and Inventors Activity book focusing on the art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. Charles F. Baker and Rosalie F. Baker. Cobblestone Publishing; 1993.

The Colosseum Cartoguide (English version) resource for the Colosseum. Text edited by Nunzio Giustozzi. Ministero per i Beni e le Attivitá Culturali, Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma, mondadori Electa S.p.A., Milan; 2003 (reprint).

Crafts of the Ancient World: The Crafts and Culture of the Romans Wordy children’s book with limited illustrations, but includes some unique ideas for projects based on the culture of ancient Rome. Joann Jovinelly and Jason Netelkos. Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.; 2002.

Masters of Art: The Story of Architecture Well-illustrated book of architecture through history. Francesco Milo. Illustrated by Lorenzo Cecchi, Studio Galante, and Andrea Ricciardi. Peter Bedrick Books. 1999.

Rome Antics Children’s picture book concerning a pigeon that flies across Rome; drawings are done from a variety of vantage points providing unusual perspectives of the urban landscape. David Macaulay. Houghton Mifflin Company. 1997.

Smart Structures: Stadiums and Domes An in-depth look at the technology and history of stadiums and domes, well-illustrated with photographs of actual structures and drawings illustrating vocabulary and concepts. Julie Richards. Minnesota: Smart Apple Media. 2004 (2003 MacMillan Education Australia).

Technology in the Time of Ancient Rome Well-illustrated book helps to simplify the innovative technology of the ancient Romans. Robert Snedden. Raintree Steck-Vaughn Company. 1998.

The Colosseum In-depth look at the Colosseum and its history, well illustrated. Lesley A. Dutemple. Lerner Publications Company. 2003.

The Pantheon In-depth look at the Colosseum and its history, well illustrated. Lesley A. Dutemple. Lerner Publications Company. 2003.

Adults/Older Readers Classical Architecture: An Introduction to Its Vocabulary and Essentials, With a Select Glossary of Terms Well-illustrated resource on the history of architectural styles. James Stevens Curl. W.W. Norton & Company; 1992, 2001.

Web-sites Architectural glossary

Architecture lesson plans, with National Standards

Great Buildings: The Roman Colosseum

Create a 3-D model of the Colosseum from Great Buildings

Comprehensive coverage by Andrea and Daniele Pepe and Catherine McElwee of the history and architecture of the Colosseum

Rome Guide of the Colosseum

Rome Guide of the Pantheon

Stadiums of the NFL

Odyssey Online: Themes of Rome

Vitruvius’ De architectura

Drexel Math Forum with Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man lesson plans

Unit Section Two

The Art of the Italian Renaissance

The word Renaissance means “rebirth.” Rebirth of what? Of classical thought and values. The ancient Greeks and particularly the Romans were of direct inspiration to the thinkers and artists of the Renaissance. So what about the Middle Ages? There were approximately 1,000 years between the fall of Rome and the beginning of Renaissance thought, a period lasting roughly from 1400 to 1530. Those many years were looked on with disdain by the Renaissance thinkers, a “dark” period where nothing useful was created and much of intellectual classical thought was destroyed. Although Italy was politically unstable after the Middle Ages, it seemed to recover economically faster than the rest of Europe. Having money and resources, Italy, especially the city of Florence, became the center of trade and manufacturing. The ruins of ancient Rome surrounded these late 14 th /early 15 th century thinkers and artists, enhancing the atmosphere for such a “rebirth” in the art of the Renaissance. Subject matter during the Renaissance also sought inspiration from the ancients through classical and mythological imagery while focusing largely on Christian themes.

The Renaissance is considered to be the beginning of modern thought and was a time for scientific discoveries, humanistic thought, and the fervent exploration of far away lands. Certainly, there were many innovations during the Renaissance, such as the invention of the printing press in mid- fifteenth century Germany and the formulation of oil paint as a painting medium in early fifteenth

century Flanders, that are worthy of further study for application to today’s world.

unit focuses solely on the artistic innovations that came from Italy during the Renaissance, a period of approximately 130 years spanning the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Many of the conventions of how contemporary Western society views the arts were formed during this time in Italy, such as:

However, this

the concept of the fine arts and the importance of the artist

the use of space and proportion in painting

and the realistic modeling of the figure.

According to Wumdram, who alludes to Vasari, two factors were introduced to the art of the early 15 th century: the perfect imitation of nature (idealizing only to show the divine beauty of an object) and the mathematical application of spatial constructs (i.e. linear perspective). According to Lemaître and Lessing, the study of geometry, measurement, and other mathematical principles were introduced in schools for children about 11 years old, mainly for future use in business purposes. These mathematical principles were not just for specialists and had practical and direct application for merchants, architects and artists.

Note: The subject matter of Renaissance art often portrays religious scenes in Christianity. Some of the artworks also contain nudity.

Unit Two will explore how the art of Renaissance Italy continues to influence art of today.

Spatial Constructs: Linear and Atmospheric Perspective

Representing the World Around: Modeling the Figure

Concept of Fine Arts and Importance of the Artist: Exploring Giorgio Vasari

Culminating Activities for Renaissance Art

Ideas for Further Exploration

Spatial Constructs

Spatial Constructs Fra Carnevale, Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple (?), c. 1467 , Boston

Fra Carnevale, Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple (?), c. 1467, Boston Museum of Fine Arts

in the Temple (?), c. 1467 , Boston Museum of Fine Arts View from Villa d’Este

View from Villa d’Este in Tivoli


Artists during the Renaissance were concerned with representing the idea of space and volume in art. Space and volume, however, are three-dimensional concepts. How does an artist represent what has depth on a flat surface, like paper, that only has height and width? To represent architecture and other geometric masses in a convincing way, linear perspective was developed. To represent the landscape and other vistas that reach into the distance, aerial or atmospheric perspective was used.

National Standards

NA VA 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 NS 2, 5 NSS WH 6 NM GEO 1, 4

Spatial Constructs

Learning Objectives

Students will learn:

1. How to represent space on a flat surface using linear perspective.

2. How to represent space on a flat surface using atmospheric perspective.

3. How to construct a fresco.

4. That fresco painting is a very durable method due to the chemical bonding of plaster and pigment.

5. That linear perspective was developed by the Renaissance architect Brunelleschi who wanted to use mathematical reasoning to depict architectural space on a flat surface.

6. That Leonardo da Vinci observed that in atmospheric perspective, the further in distance objects are in the landscape, the bluer they become.

7. That objects seem to get smaller and less distinct the further in distance they become.

8. To appreciate the Renaissance innovation of linear and atmospheric perspectives.

9. To appreciate the method of creating a fresco.


Per student:

ruler marker a few sheets of white paper pencil watercolor paper wooden board larger than the water color paper paintbrush pie tin or 5” x 5” piece of wood nail vine charcoal

In general:

camera permanent marker acetate sheet (overhead transparency) suggested artworks masking tape water containers paper towel plaster of Paris trowel watercolor or tempera paints powdered or crushed charcoal large dry brush

Spatial Constructs: Linear Perspective

Linear Perspective

Spatial Constructs: Linear Perspective Linear Perspective School of Pierro della Francesca, The Ideal City , ca
Spatial Constructs: Linear Perspective Linear Perspective School of Pierro della Francesca, The Ideal City , ca

School of Pierro della Francesca, The Ideal City, ca 1460, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums

Fra Carnevale, Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple (?), c. 1467, Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Linear perspective is a system to indicate spatial depth.

It is based on the idea that straight lines seem to recede back into space to the vanishing point, a single point on the horizon line. As objects recede into space, they appear to get smaller, they appear more vertical on the picture plane, and are obscured by overlapping objects in the foreground.

Masaccio (1401-1428) was one of the first artists to employ the use of linear perspective. Masaccio’s The Trinity, 1425/26 (located at Santa Maria Novella in Florence) is said to be the one of the first paintings of the Renaissance. The mathematical concept of linear perspective was invented by the architect Brunelleschi (see “The Importance of the Artist”), a contemporary of Masaccio, and Masaccio translated this theory visually onto the large fresco with reference to the interior of Brunelleschi’s San Lorenzo. Masaccio’s work later became a model for other artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci, who would go and sketch his frescoes of The Trinity and the Brancacci Chapel fresco cycle located at Santa Maria del Carmine.

Suggested Artworks

Masaccio, The Trinity, 1425/26 Brunelleschi’s perspective experiments Alberti’s diagrams of perspective Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper, 1495-98 Raphael, School of Athens, 1510-11 School of Pierro della Francesca, The Ideal City, ca 1460

Spatial Constructs: Linear Perspective

Introduction/Motivation: Converging Lines in the Built Environment

Go outside and observe the landscape. Look at the school building itself- notice the edges of the building.

? Do all the vertical lines of the building remain parallel?

? What happens to the horizontal edges of the building?

Take photographs of the school or surrounding buildings from different vantage points (stand in different places and photograph from different angles). Make a copy of the photographs so a pair of students gets at least one copy. Use a ruler to determine where the major horizontal lines converge and to indicate where the orthogonal lines are. Use a copy of one of the suggested artworks and lay an acetate sheet over it. Use a permanent marker to determine converging lines.

Main Lesson: Draw in one-point linear perspective

1. Examine the terminology of linear perspective, such as horizon line, vanishing point, and orthogonal.

2. Practice drawing in linear perspective. Start simply with boxes.

3. Draw a square or rectangle on the paper. Above the quadrilateral, draw a horizontal line that will act as the horizon line. Create the vanishing point by drawing a dot on the horizon line.

4. Use your ruler to draw lines (the orthogonals) from each corner of the quadrilateral to the vanishing point. Draw a line from each corner that makes a direct line only.

5. To complete the “box”, determine what you want the depth of the box to be. Draw a line parallel to the horizontal edge of the original square, and then draw a line parallel to the vertical edge of the square. Erase the unnecessary lines to the vanishing point.

6. Draw a few more boxes at different areas of the paper. Try stacking boxes for a challenge.

7. Proceed to more complex shapes, such as your name in block letters or drawing an interior hallway.

Challenge- Draw an exterior scene of buildings or use two-point linear perspective where two vanishing points are used

Spatial Constructs: Aerial Perspective

Aerial or Atmospheric Perspective

Aerial Perspective Aerial or Atmospheric Perspective View from Villa d’Este in Tivoli Masaccio, The Tribute

View from Villa d’Este in Tivoli

Atmospheric Perspective View from Villa d’Este in Tivoli Masaccio, The Tribute Money, 1427-28, Brancacci Cha pel,

Masaccio, The Tribute Money, 1427-28, Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence

Aerial or Atmospheric Perspective

The Renaissance artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci, sought to reproduce the landscape as it appeared in nature. Leonardo was one of the first artists to discover that as the distance became greater in the landscape, objects became

less detailed and distinct

contrasts of lights and darks lessened

and a bluish haze appeared

In Leonardo on Painting, Leonardo addresses aerial perspective by stating, “… if you wish in painting to make one appear more distant than the other, you should represent the air as rather dense.” This is done by making the objects appear more blue the further away the landscape, and “that which is five times more distant make five times more blue.” (pp. 80-81) This is called aerial or atmospheric perspective. Some artists, such as Giovanni Bellini and Giorgione, used the landscape as an integral and important part of the composition. Later artists, such as Pieter Bruegel in Northern Europe, focused the attention on the landscape itself.

Suggested Artworks

Leonardo da Vinci, Lady of the Rocks,1483-86; Mona Lisa, 1504-06 Raphael, The Alba Madonna, ca. 1509 Giovanni Bellini, The Agony in the Garden, c. 1465 Giorgione, Three Philosophers, 1505-1509 Masaccio, The Tribute Money, 1427-28

Spatial Constructs: Aerial Perspective

Introduction/Motivation: Seeing the Distant Landscape

Go outside and observe the landscape. Look off into the distance at the natural shapes where there is nothing to obstruct your view.

? What happens to the landscape as it recedes into the distance?

? What is the color?

? What happens to the details of objects?

? What happens to the size of objects?

Take a photograph of this vista for a few consecutive days in different times of day. Study what

happens to the viewpoint with the different position of the sun or during different atmospheric conditions.

Main Lesson: Make a painting using aerial perspective

1. Go outside and look at the landscape. An open vista or mountain view is best to see the effects of atmospheric perspective.

? What do you notice?

? A bluish haze, as Leonardo had written?

? Do colors start to fade and become lighter in value?

? Do details seem to disappear? Look at examples of artists who incorporate atmospheric perspective, such as Leonardo’s Lady of the Rocks or Raphael’s The Alba Madonna.

2. Take a sheet of watercolor paper and tape down to a wooden board for sturdiness. (The paper will stretch when wet and then will buckle when dry if not taped down first.)

3. Use a pencil to lightly sketch the main areas of the landscape.

4. Use watercolors to reproduce your atmospheric experience. Painting on dry paper gives greater control and keeps colors separate. For a more organic shape, try a wet-on-wet technique where you wet the paper first before applying watercolor, then watch the colors bleed together. Paint in layers- put the lightest colors down first, and gradually build up the darker values. Paint details last; dry paper is best.

5. Once the painting is completed and dry, carefully peel off the masking tape.

Spatial Constructs

Extension/Enrichment: Create a fresco

Many of the early Renaissance works, such as Masaccio’s The Trinity, were done on walls in great scale with fresco. Although fresco was a technique used by Renaissance artists, it is a painting process developed thousands of years ago (the Romans, for example, painted the walls in Pompeii using fresco.) Fresco painting has proven to be a very permanent and stable process because the pigment (which is colored, crushed minerals) is applied to damp plaster, forming a permanent, chemical bond. This type of fresco is called buon fresco which is true fresco. It is a laborious

process- artists have to lay down plaster for what they can only paint that day. Michelangelo painted

the ceiling of the Sistine chapel using true fresco.

type of fresco is fresco secco, or dry fresco. In fresco secco, paint is applied to dry plaster. Because no chemical process takes place to form a permanent bond, the paint usually flakes off, and it has proven to not to last. Leonardo da Vinci used a fresco secco technique in the Last Supper. He was experimenting with mixing glue and pigments on dried plaster so the painting process wouldn’t quite be so tiresome. If you compare the restored frescoes of Last Supper and the Sistine Chapel ceiling, you can see that the true freco of Michelangelo is in much better shape!

It took him 4 years to cover the ceiling! Another

Suggested Artworks

Leonardo da Vinci, Last Supper, 1495-1498 Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel ceiling, 1508-1512 Raphael, School of Athens, 1510-11 Masaccio, The Tribute Money and The Trinity

Create a modified fresco with a focus on linear perspective or on atmospheric perspective.

1. First, decide on a subject and sketch out a few ideas. Create either a landscape using atmospheric perspective or a city or interior scene using linear perspective.

2. Trace around the mold or around the 5” x 5” wood board. Draw your subject in contour line in the traced border. Use a nail to poke holes every ¼” or so along the cartoon, or drawing.

3. Mix up Plaster of Paris and pour in a mold (pie tin, cut milk gallon container, etc.). Shake container gently to allow paint to settle flatly. Or, if using the wooden board, spread a thin layer of Plaster of Paris with a trowel.

4. Once set (an hour or so), place the cartoon over it and secure to the sides of the container with tape. Pounce powdered or crushed charcoal over the surface with a dry brush. Where there are holes, the charcoal will go through, creating a dot-to-dot to follow as your sketch. Remove cartoon and connect the dots to recreate your line drawing with vine charcoal.

5. To complete the painting, use paint, such as tempera or watercolor, on the dampened surface of the plaster.

6. Let the entire fresco dry completely.

7. Due to the chemical reaction of the plaster drying with the pigment of the paint, the painting should be permanent.

Note: While this process mimics the fresco techniques of Masaccio and Michelangelo, the plaster composition and the pigments in the paints are different so a true fresco is not achieved.

Spatial Constructs: Linear Perspective

Spatial Constructs:

Linear Perspective

Vanishing Point Horizon Line Orthogonal Keep lines parallel
Vanishing Point
Horizon Line
Keep lines parallel
Point Horizon Line Orthogonal Keep lines parallel School of Pierro della Francesca, The Ideal City ,

School of Pierro della Francesca, The Ideal City, ca 1460, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums

Spatial Constructs: Aerial Perspective

Atmospheric Perspective

The further back into the distance of the landscape, the: fewer the details smaller the
The further back into the distance of the landscape, the:
fewer the details
smaller the objects
less distinct the objects
lighter the values
bluer the objects

Photograph of Tivoli from Villa d’Este

Representing the World Around

Representing the World Around Raphael, School of Athens , 1510-11, Vatican Museums Background One of the

Raphael, School of Athens, 1510-11, Vatican Museums


One of the concerns of the Renaissance artist was to represent the natural world in a realistic way. And one of the primary artists who advocated the study of the natural world was Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo da Vinci kept numerous sketchbooks and created thousands of sketches, inventions, and scientific notations of the world around him. In order to gain knowledge of the world, Leonardo drew. And in order to be a better artist, Leonardo studied objects. The study of anatomy was also very important. Leonardo drew from live models and also studied cadavers to determine the correct skeletal and muscular structures.

Leonardo wrote volumes in his sketchbooks, including descriptive notes and labeling of objects as

well as offering advice for the young artist.

should first learn perspective, then the proportions of all things. Next he should learn from the hand of a good master, to gain familiarity with fine limbs. …then from work done in three dimensions along with the drawing done from it, then from a good example from nature, and this you must put into practice.” (Leonardo on Painting, p. 197)

He gave this advice for the young painter, “A youth

In order to create the idea of volume or depth in a figure or an object, artists during the Renaissance used chiaroscuro, an Italian word meaning “light dark.” This basically means that artists used value to model three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface. Study how light hits an object. Notice that the lighter areas are where the object sticks out towards the light and the darker areas are where the object is away from the light. (You may need to squint to help notice the distinctions of values.) Where the object or figure was rounded was rendered in values of gray. This created a modeled effect, which gave a three-dimensional quality to the object. Look at one of Leonardo’s portraits, such as the Mona Lisa. Where are the lightest values (the highlights)? Where are the darkest areas? How does Leonardo make the figure come alive?

Representing the World Around

National Standards

NA VA 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 NM GEO 1

Learning Objectives

Students will learn:

1. That keeping a sketchbook helps an artist observe the world around.

2. How to draw an object using chiaroscuro.

3. How to draw a portrait in proportion.

4. That portraiture can reveal more than just the physical appearance of a person.

5. To appreciate the tradition of portraiture.

6. How to draw in silverpoint.


Per student:

Sketchbook pencil Set of pastels or charcoal Paper for charcoal or pastels Gessoed board or clay coated Karma Cover

Optional: oil pastels or paints 1 ½” of soft sterling wire Old plastic mechanical pencil with pencil lead removed In general:

Suggested artworks Fixative spray

Representing the World Around

Introduction/Motivation: Keeping a Sketchbook

Look at examples of Leonardo’s sketchbooks and make a list of categories of objects he rendered. (The list will be long and will include flowers, the landscape, animals, figure studies, studies of hands and heads, biological studies of the body done by drawing cadavers, machinery, inventions, architecture, and so on.)

? Why did he draw those items?

? Do they look real?

? How was Leonardo able to draw something on a flat, two-dimensional piece of paper and make it look like a three-dimensional object? Point out the highlights and shadows.

Suggested Artworks

Leonardo da Vinci, assortment of sketchbook drawings (they number in the hundreds if not thousands!) including Study for a Man’s Head in Profile, c. 1490

Have students keep a sketchbook (can be hand made or purchased) to record the world around them. Leonardo kept a sketchbook with him always! Sketchbooks are great for taking notes, keeping record of things seen, providing a creative outlet, practicing your drawing skills, and so on. Create drawings every day in the sketchbook, even of things that you think are boring. Take notes about what you see as well. To tie in with biology, sketch an animal being dissected.

Here’s a suggested list of subject matter for the sketchbook:

Series of chiaroscuro studies






Pet or animal from life



Profile of a person

¾ portrait view


Individual body parts




Representing the World Around

Main Lesson: Pleasing Portraits

In the early 15 th century, the portrait became increasingly more important as wealthy patrons wanted

their likeness rendered.

Duke of Urbino by Piero della Francesca. Later in the 15 th century, artists began depicting the figure in three-quarters view, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. (The Mona Lisa was also innovative for the inclusion of hands at rest, the pyramid format, and the use of sfumato or smoky layers of

glaze seen around the mouth and hands.) Artists were interested in drawing portraits as realistic as possible, making sure to apply the correct proportions of the human body.

What can portraits reveal about the sitter? Their interests, a family history and even how the artist feels about the sitter. The position of the sitter also can provide the viewer with a dialogue of sorts; a profile view of the sitter rejects conversation while a frontal position can fully engage the viewer.

Look at samples of Renaissance portraits. Focus on one. Discuss the following:

Artists initially painted their subjects in profile, such as the portrait of the

? Where is the sitter looking?

? What is the position of the body?

? How much of the body is being included?

? What is the sitter doing?

? What do you think the personality of the sitter is like?

? What is in the background?

Suggested Artworks

Raphael, Lady with a Unicorn, c. 1504 Titian, Portrait of Pope Paul III, 1543 Domenico Ghirlandaio, Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni, 1488 Piero della Francesca, Portraits of Battista Sforza and Federico daMontefeltro, c. 1474 Leonardo da Vinci, Young Woman Holding an Ermine, 1488-1490 and Mona Lisa, 1504-06

All of the suggested artworks were painted in oil paint, a relatively new medium for this time. Oil paints were said to be discovered in the early 15 th century in Flanders. By the 16 th century, most artists across Europe were using this new versatile painting medium. Compare reproductions done in oil (any of the works above) to ones done with tempera or fresco. (For tempera, see Botticelli’s Primavera. For fresco, see the segment on fresco in the Spatial Constructs section).

1. Use the sketch of a person from your sketchbook as a starting point or use a live model (another student in the class or another teacher- how about the principal?)

2. Before you begin your portrait, consider these questions:

? Where is the sitter looking?

? What is the position of the body?

? How much of the body will be included?

? What is the sitter doing?

? How is the sitter’s personality included?

? What is in the background?

3. Sketch out the basic parts in proportion using pencil on paper

4. Model the figure using chiaroscuro or a gradation of values with charcoal or chalk pastels. Set the charcoal or chalk with a fixative (or aerosol hairspray).

5. Optional: Oil paints were discovered during the Renaissance, so include either the use of oil paints, or for a less costly and low odor alternative, use oil pastels.

6. For a Renaissance composition, set the model in an architectural setting, which infuses linear perspective into the composition, or set the model against a landscape (like the Mona Lisa) that infuses atmospheric perspective.

Representing the World Around

Drawing a Portrait

These are basic guidelines for portrait drawing. Adjust as needed!

Head: ⎯ Look at the overall shape. ⎯ Is it egg? oval? square? Eyes: ⎯
Look at the overall shape.
Is it egg? oval? square?
fall in center of face
generally almond shape
iris is rounded on bottom, goes
into eyelid on top
pupil is black but reflects light
notice parts such as tear ducts
lashes are not as large/long as
eye lid has thickness as well
arched and follow shape of
eye/brow bone
follows contours of brow bone
falls half-way from eyes to chin
nostrils generally have more
definition than rest of nose
Portrait of a Young Woman, c. 1505-1510
top of head

1/3 to 1/2 distance from bottom of nose to chin

notice where corners of mouth fall to relationship of eyes

top of ear usually to bottom of eye

bottom of ears- generally to corner of mouth

hairline starts in forehead, not on

Before you begin your portrait, consider these questions:

? Where is the sitter looking?

? What is the position of the body?

? How much of the body will be included?

? What is the sitter doing?

? How is the sitter’s personality included?

? What is in the background?

Representing the World Around

Extension/Enrichment: Drawing with Metalpoint

Metalpoint is a type of drawing done with a metal stylus on a gessoed board. Silverpoint is done with a sterling silver stylus. The resulting line is faint, delicate and permanent.

Metalpoint’s advantage over pencil or charcoal is that it is permanent, so no fixing is required to set the drawing. Metalpoint was first used during the Middle Ages, and was also used during the Renaissance before drawing with chalk became more popular.

Drawing with metalpoint (as well as guidelines and directions for how to mix pigments, create frescoes, and render subjects) is outlined in the book The Craftsman’s Handbook (“Il Libro dell’ Arte”) in the section HOW YOU SHOULD FIRST START DRAWING ON PAPER WITH CHARCOAL, AND TAKE THE MEASUREMENTS OF THE FIGURE, AND FIX IT WITH A SILVER STYLE. This is how Cellini explains how to do metalpoint:

First take the charcoal, slender, and sharpened like a pen, or like your style; and, as the prime measurement which you adopt for drawing, adopt one of the three which the face has, for it has three of them altogether: the forehead, the nose, and the chin, including the mouth… And then, when you feel that it is about right, take the silver style and go over the outlines and accents of your drawings, and over the dominant folds, to pick them out. When you have got this done, take the barbed feather once more, and sweep the charcoal off thoroughly; and your drawing will remain, fixed by the style. (p. 17)

Suggested Artworks

Leonardo da Vinci:


Antique Warrior, c. 1472 (metalpoint)


Study of Arms and Hands, c. 1474 (silverpoint with chalk)


Perspective Study for the Background of the Adoration, c. 1481 (pen and ink over metalpoint)


Study for the Head of a Girl, c. 1483 (silverpoint)

Try your own hand at Silverpoint

1. Gesso a board or paper and let dry OR use the Karma Cover clay paper. The surface should be slightly rough and have a bit of a tooth so the silver can rub onto the surface.

2. Put the silver wire into the plastic casing of the pencil or attach the wire securely to a dowel rod.

3. You can use charcoal (as suggested above) or use pencil to sketch your subject.

4. Then go over the sketch with the point of the silver.

5. Use hatching and cross-hatching to create value tones.

6. Erase the pencil or charcoal away, leaving the metalpoint intact.

Concept of Fine Arts and the Importance of the Artist

Concept of Fine Arts and the Importance of the Artist Background The back of the Vasari


The back of the Vasari designed Uffizi in Florence

During the Middle Ages, artists worked in guilds and remained largely anonymous. During the Renaissance focused on intellectual thought and gifted individuals gained prominence and importance. The High Renaissance, a period from roughly 1500 to 1525, was a peak of achievement with artists such as Raphael, Leonardo, and Michelangelo creating magnificent works of art. They were considered geniuses, and they were respected and commissioned by popes and kings.

Renaissance writers, scientists and artists were interested in excelling in their discipline, advancing new ideas and also advancing their own status. In the 14 th century, Dante wrote in The Inferno, He who, without Fame, burns his life to waste leaves no more vestige of himself on the earth than wind blown smoke, or foam upon the water. Humanism was a key aspect of the Renaissance. Humanism was a concept which focused on individual expression, creativity and thought, on straddling the secular with aspects of religion, on reviving Greek and Roman philosophies, and on scientific implications on man.

Giorgio Vasari was born in 1511 in Arezzo. True to the idea of the “Renaissance Man” where one excelled in many areas, Vasari was an artist, architect as well as a writer. Vasari is often credited with being the first art historian after the first edition of Lives of the Artists appeared in 1550. Vasari was certainly the first person to write an extensive set of biographies on the major artists of the Renaissance, beginning with the late medieval masters Cimabue and Giotto who influenced the direction of art in the Renaissance. According to the introduction in Lives of the Artists, Vasari “conceived the historian’s primary task to be that of making distinctions among artists by the quality and style of their works and explaining the evolution of Italian Renaissance art with a theory of its organic development.” He helped to shape who and what were important in Renaissance art; what he held in high esteem is still regarded highly today.

The concept of the fine arts also arose from this time. The “fine arts” consist of architecture, sculpture and painting- all areas highly revered by the people of the Renaissance. During the Middle Ages, the arts included stained glass, metal work, textiles- all areas that are considered part of the “crafts” today. The craft areas were looked down upon during the Renaissance, and were not highly respected. Consider the connotation of crafts today. What does the word imply?

The Importance of the Artist

National Standards

NA VA 4, 5 NSS GK 2 NL ENG 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9

Learning Objectives

Students will learn:

1. how to communicate to a given audience by writing an artist’s biography.

2. how to research and evaluate primary source information.

3. that Vasari is credited with being the first art historian.

4. to appreciate

5. how to obtain information through interviewing.


Per student:

Worksheet, “Importance of Artist” interview sheet

In general:

Giorgio Vasari’s book Lives of the Artists An assortment of artists’ books from the Renaissance Access to the internet Access to local artists Reproductions from “Selected Works”

Suggested Artworks

Giorgio Vasari, Self-Portrait Any of the images from the “Selected Works” (below in table)

Note: Why are there no women artists listed in the “Table of Selected Artists”? During the Renaissance, women were not taken as apprentices in the field of art. In some convents, however, nuns were taught to paint. (For example, the Abbess Plautilla Nelli painted a large fresco in Santa Maria Novella in Florence.) A challenge for this section is to find the women artists of the Renaissance!

The Importance of the Artist

Introduction/Motivation: Reading Vasari

Read passages from Lives of the Artists aloud or have students take turns in reading from the text. (Pick an artist that you have reproductions for or that you have been studying.)

? What kind of information is included in Vasari’s biography?

? What information about the artist is important for you, the reader?

? What information about the artist is interesting to you?

Main Lesson: Writing an Artist’s Biography

Students will further explore an artist from the Selected Artists of the Renaissance table (below) using at least three different resources (such as Vasari’s The Lives of the Artists, internet resources, or other texts).

Focus on what is unique about the artist. Include an in depth discussion on a work of art. Length of paper depends on ability level – minimum 2 pages for upper elementary/middle school/junior high to 10 pages for upper highschool.

For Enrichment: Researching a Contemporary Local Artist

Write about a local artist (students can work solo or in pairs to research a local artist). They can also write biographies about one another.

Use the interview sheet “The Importance of the Artist: An Artist Biography” to make notes. Include biographical information, and information about a few key artworks by the artist.

Write a one-page artist biography. This information could accompany a local artist exhibition in a catalog or on the wall labels. Local newspapers might also want to run a local artist segment written by your students.

The Importance of the Artist: An Artist Biography

Interview an artist and fill in the following information.

What is your name?

Where were you born?

Where are currently living?

What training or educational background do you have?

What material(s) do you usually work with?

Describe your artistic process of creating a work of art.

What goals or intentions do you have when you create your art?

What’s the most interesting or funny thing that happened to you in your studio?

Other Question:


For the interviewer to fill out after the interview

Describe one of this artist’s works in detail.

Sketch of work:

The Importance of the Artist

Table of Selected Artists from the Italian Renaissance






Selected Works





Architecture ruled by the law of numbers; the Ancient Roman architect Vitruvius influenced Alberti’s treatise, De re Aedificatoria, in the rightness of proportion and the comparison of buildings and the human body.

The façade of Santa






Maria Novella, 1458-1470, Florence

*Fra Angelico




The monk’s work is flavored by Gothic flatness, but also incorporates the more modeled qualities evident of Masaccio. Colors are brilliant and sparkle with gold. Fra Angelico’s work is rich in spirituality and Christian iconography.

Any of the frescoes for San Marcos, Florence. The Annunciation, ca. 1449, fresco, San Marco Monastery, Florence









Founder of the Venetian school of painting, Bellini infused light into his paintings, mostly religious works done in tempera or later in oil.

St. Francis in the Desert, c. 1480 and Portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan,









Created luminous tempera and fresco paintings. The Medicis were prominent patrons, and Botticelli painted Primavera to celebrate a Medici marriage.

Primavera, ca. 1482 and Birth of Venus, ca. 1482






Early training as painter, which helped to shape his early and later architecture. Bramante was court architect to Duke in Milan, moved to Rome to rebuild St. Peter’s.

Tempietto, San Pietro in Montorio, Rome, 1502


and painting




Sculpture and

Applied mathematical principles to his architecture, and innovated the use of linear perspective.

The dome for Santa Maria del Fiore, 1420-1426, Florence Foundling’s Hospital, 1419-1424, Florence



The Importance of the Artist





Donatello studied and worked in Florence during the early Renaissance, was friends with Brunelleschi and Michelozzo, was a member in Ghiberti’s workshop, and worked for the Medicis.

David, c. 1430; St. John the Baptist, 1438; St. Mary Magdelen, c. 1457






Originally trained as a goldsmith, Ghiberti became one of the prominent artists of the Renaissance by winning the commission for the Bastistry doors for the cathedral of Florence.

The doors of the Baptistry in



Florence: The Life of Christ, 1401-1425, Northern Doors; Gates of Paradise, 1425-52 Eastern






Excellent craftsman, prosperous workshops. Michelangelo trained with him early in his career. He is known for his fresco paintings.

Fresco cycle in Santa Maria Novella in Florence.








Part of the Venetian School, Giorgione was one of the earliest artists to paint for private collectors as well focusing on evoking a mood in his work rather than to focus solely on subject matter.

Pastoral Concert (Fête champêtre), 1508-1509; The Tempest, c. 1505







An artist ahead of his time, Giotto imbued his religious subjects with life by modeling the figures and exploring spatial constructs. He was a student of Cimabue.

The fresco cycle in the Arena chapel at Padua (1304-1306),



total of 38 frescoes

illustrating the life of

Jesus Christ, such as The Lamentation and Adoration of the Magi which includes



depiction of

Halley’s Comet.





Leonardo is the quintessential Renaissance Man – he was an accomplished artist, musician, scientist, inventor. His Last Supper is often cited as the first work of the High Renaissance.

The Annunciation, 1472-75; The Last Supper, 1498; Mona

Lisa, c. 1503-1505 and thousands of

da Vinci



Drawing and



The Importance of the Artist

*Fra Filippo




Originally a friar, Lippi was inspired to become a painter after seeing the frescoes of Masaccio. Using an “unnatural” palette and a flattened approach to figurative work, Lippi created fantasy-like scenes and was patronized by the Medici.

Madonna and Child; Adoration of the Magi, c. 1445; Portrait of a Man and a Woman; The fresco cycle in the Prato Cathedral







Isola di


Many works are religious; explored use of illusionistic perspective and foreshortening

Agony in the Garden, c. 1459; The Lamentation over the Dead Christ, c. 1490





Padua and







Masaccio’s work The Trinity is said to be the first painting of the Renaissance. He employed principles of perspective invented by his friend, Brunelleschi.

The Trinity, 1427, fresco, Santa Maria Novella, Florence The Tribute Money, fresco, Brancacci Chapel, Florence











Renaissance man,

The Pieta (1499) in St. Peter’s, the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512), the dome of St. Peter’s



Michelangelo could do many things well, but preferred sculpture and was quite a poet.


and Poetry





Not quite the mathematical preciseness like

Monastery of San Marco, Florence


Brunelleschi or Alberti, but Michelozzo had a simplicity and an ordering








Used classical Roman principles in his architecture and wrote Quattro Libri dell’Architettura (Four Books on Architecture), influencing future architecture.

San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice





(1560-1580), Villa Rotunda, Vicenza






Early Renaissance artist whose late Gothic influence adds decorative and detailed elements to his paintings

The three panels illustrating the Battle of San Romano



The Importance of the Artist

*Piero della




Painted primarily religious works. Skilled in perspective, math, and geometry.

Baptism of Christ, 1448-50; the series of frescoes on the




Legend of the True Cross in the choir of San Francesco at Arezzo, c. 1452-







Had apprenticed with Leonardo da Vinci. Known more for his early Mannerism work of religious scenes. Influence on adopted son and pupil, Bronzino



Medici villa at Poggio a Caiano








One of the main artists of the High Renaissance. It is said that when Raphael died, painting also died, which contributed to the end of the High Renaissance

Numerous depictions of the Madonna; the “Raphael rooms” at the Vatican (the Stanza), especially the fresco of School of Athens, 1510-11






Pupil of Piero della Francesca, interested in rendering action and sensitivity of light.

Lamentation over the Dead Christ, 1502; Scourging of Christ, c. 1480








Studied with/under Bellini

Religious works, such as Assumption




and Giorgione. Leader of the Venetian School.

of the Virgin, 1516- 18; Mythological works, such as Venus of Urbino,






Vasari was a prolific painter and was successful as an architect, but he is best known for his contemporary biography of Lives of the Artists.

Artist biographies in the book, Lives of the Artists; Uffizi in Florence; Self- portrait painting




Painting, and








Trained as a goldsmith. Perhaps studied under Donatello, worked with Botticelli, and was teacher to Leonardo da Vinci. Skilled as painter and sculpture.

Painting The Baptism of Christ, 1472-75; Sculpture The Young David,






* artists in Vasari’s The Lives of the Artists


Culminating Activities for the Art of the Renaissance

Learning Objectives

Students will learn:

1. How to recognize Renaissance innovations in contemporary artwork in their community.

2. To appreciate the Renaissance innovations found in contemporary artwork.

3. That images from the Renaissance are often appropriated in today’s contemporary art and advertising.

4. How to appropriate images from the Renaissance to put in a contemporary context.


Per Student: