2nd Grade - Gustav Klimt Designs
I borrowed this lesson from my mentor teacher. It was such a fun lesson to do during my student teaching, that I decided to modify it a bit and give it a shot this year in my own classroom.
We started by talking in length about Art Nouveau, or “New Art”. We focused heavily on Gustav Klimt and his use of gold background, shapes, and spirals to create interesting designs and compositions. The major points I wanted the students to identify were his heavy use of shapes, groups, overlapping, and spirals.
I then had the students begin their own collages inspired by Gustav Klimt’s Tree of Life painting. We started by selecting either gold, silver, or copper paint, and creating a background on which to glue our collage. Once our backgrounds were painted we began to cut shapes. I taught the students how to cut multiple shapes at once by folding their paper. I made sure that the students had both large and small versions of every shape they made so that we’d be able to make interesting overlaps later on.
Once everything was ready, we started to put together our collages. Rather than creating an actual tree, I wanted to the students to create a unique design. This would encourage each student to create something of their own, inspired by the artist, rather than flat out copying his work. The only real guidelines that I gave them were that they had to include groups, overlapping, and that they couldn’t make a “picture” using their shapes, it had to be a design. At the very end, students filled in any empty space with spirals.
The results were outstanding. Collectively, the work created a cohesive display that demanded the viewers attention. Everyone who walked by - teacher and student alike - stopped to look at and read about what the second grade did. The work was even more impressive when it was examined up close and you could see each piece was a unique work of art.
I really was blown away by the results of this project, and the second grade students were overjoyed to have their work displayed in the main hallway by the front entrance of the school!