Enjoy the season while learning about art history!
Art History with Snowmen
One way to use snowmen in your art lesson plans is to ask students to look at snowmen as famous artists might have and create their own versions of snowmen in the style of a famous artist. This lesson in art history is a good way to help students understand different artists and art styles in art history because the basic shape of a snowman can be the same for everyone—three balls of snow stacked on top of one another with black eyes and a carrot nose, plus sticks for arms. To do this activity, give students art supplies such as different colors of paper, water colors, markers, glue, and scissors.
- Show students four examples of art from different artists with very different techniques. Explain the history of each artist and the technique the artist used to interpret the world around around them, including any terms that the artist helped to define.
- Ask students to pretend to be the famous artists and create a snowman in each style as the artist might have.
- Let students be creative and create their interpretation with whatever tools are available to them in the allotted time.
- After all four snowmen are completed, ask students to choose their favorite and ask some students to explain why they chose to represent the snowman in the way they did.
Some of our favorite artists to include in this exercise include Picasso, Andy Warhol, Paul Cezane, and Henri Rousseau. You can use the following paintings to help students see the differences among these four artists.
Picasso – Three Musicians
Andy Warhol – Marilyn Diptych
Paul Cezane – Boy in Red Waistcoat
Henri Rousseau – Fight Between a Tiger and a Buffalo
Ask students to look at the different paintings and compare and contrast the differences. How are colors used? What about shadows? How do the artists use perspective? Do artists use thick lines or do lines blend together?
This activity is a fun one for a day after a snow day when students have had fun building snowmen and enjoying the wintery weather.