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CC Cycle 1 Lesson plans

Cycle 1 covers so many great historical periods. We get to walk through ancient Egypt, ancient Greece and Rome, Medieval Europe and the Far East and then end with a look at the Renaissance period.

Even though your art time is limited to a crisp 30 minutes, you can still keep it classical and stick-in-the-sand simple by quickly introducing the time period, defining a few vocabulary words, and then teaching a new art concept in a fun, relevant art project- all of which is included in each of our lesson plans.

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(References to Classical Conversations do not constitute or imply endorsement by the company.)

Cycle 1 Art Lesson Plans are Here!

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First Quarter: Drawing with Ancient Art

Drawing with Ancient Art

Don’t you love Ancient History? With so many years between us and the ancient cultures, all the stories seem a little more magical and a little less gruesome. We can let our imaginations loose as we explore prehistoric cave paintings in France and the stately Pharaohs of Egypt. The Greeks and Romans inspire our artistic endeavors while we ask questions about the rise of the Medieval period. Art brings these time periods to life and helps us explore them more deeply!

These 6 lesson plans touch on cave paintings, ancient Egyptian art, ancient Celtic art, Greek and Roman art and architecture, and medieval Illuminated manuscripts. The same lesson plans also cover these drawing basics: using basic shapes and the components of shape to draw, the 7 Elements of Art, the Principles of Design, the use of symmetry in art, the exercise of upside-down drawing, abstract art, and linear perspective.

  1. Lines and Shapes in Prehistoric Art: Investigate cave paintings and rock art as we learn about the basics of drawing and the Elements of Art.
  2. Drawing King Tut’s Mask Using Symmetry: Explore the idea of symmetry while learning about Egyptian art and drawing the sarcophagus of King Tut.
  3. Drawing Greek Gods Using Upside-Down Drill: Learn more about the “Upside Down” drawing drill and use it to recreate the art from a rare piece of Greek pottery: Dionysus’ Cup.
  4. Abstract Celtic Art: Examine the intricate patterns of Celtic / Insular art and recreate a simple version of the Celtic Knot.
  5. Drawing the Parthenon using Linear Perspective. Practice the mathematically-based skill of linear perspective (1 or 2 point) that was formalized in the Renaissance period and use it to draw the famous Greek Parthenon.
  6. Illuminated Manuscripts: Learn about the Medieval art of creating illuminated manuscripts and create your own by drawing your choice of patterns, figures, plants and animals!

These 6 lesson plans are available individually, or at a discount in the “Ancient Art Drawing Package,” which is ideal for weeks 1-6 of Fine Arts in a cycle 1 Classical Conversations Foundations community. The package includes some helpful extras like a supply list and a shopping list:

Ancient Art Drawing Package- Cycle 1


3rd Quarter: Renaissance Artists (Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist)

Renaissance Artists (Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist)

Once we complete our study of the Medieval period we get to move on and watch the world awake into the great Renaissance period! Art is a beautiful mirror of the transitions that took place as the flat and stylized Gothic style was left behind and the idyllic, realistic Renaissance style was embraced. After a couple hundred years we then see the pendulum begin to swing back to favoring representative art over realistic art in the Mannerist period.

These 6 lesson plans walk you and your students through that historic journey as we discover Giotto, Ghiberti, Fra Angelico, Durer, Michelangelo, and El Greco.

  1. Drawing Clothing with Giotto: Learn about how this Gothic-era artist ushered in the techniques of the Renaissance in his paintings of figures in the Arena Chapel. Then practice drawing and painting clothing like Giotto.
  2. Ghiberti and the Gates of Paradise: Learn about this child prodigy who created relief sculptures that Michelangelo later called “Gates of Paradise.” Then create your own clay relief using air-dry clay or homemade clay.
  3. Understanding Foreshortening with Angelico: Learn about this humble artist and his beautiful, realistic depiction of Biblical scenes. Then practice drawing and painting people using the technique of foreshortening.
  4. Creating Prints like Durer: Learn about Renaissance artist Durer and his amazing stamp-like wood blocks. Create a “stamp” of your own using a simple pencil and foam.
    • Listen in on our podcast episode #39, all about Durer! (coming soon!)
  5. Sculpting with Michelangelo Learn about the creator of the Sistine Chapel and the Pieta. Then make your own clay bust using air-dry or homemade clay.
    • Listen in on our podcast episode #40, all about Michelangelo! (coming soon!)
  6. Creating Value like El Greco: Learn about this imaginative Post-Renaissance artist who resisted the trend to paint accurate portrayals of people and nature, ushering in the brief Mannerist period. Study the strange light sources in his paintings, portrayed through a variety of value (lights and darks) and then practice shading to create value in your own art.
    • Listen in on our podcast episode #41, all about El Greco! (coming soon!)

These 6 lesson plans are available individually, or at a discount in the “Renaissance Artists Package” which is ideal for Cycle 1, weeks 13-18 of Fine Arts in Classical Conversations Foundations community. The package includes some helpful extras like a supply list and a shopping list:

Renaissance Artists DELUXE Package- Cycle 1


Our Renaissance Artists DELUXE Package also includes these great bonuses:

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(References to Classical Conversations do not constitute or imply endorsement by the company.)

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