Pointillism is a subcategory of Postimpressionism, and Pointillist artists created entire compositions by only using dots of pure color. Pointillists were interested in how adjacent colors influenced color, optical mixing, and afterimages. This lesson introduces high school art students to Pointillism and illustrates some of the color theory applications.
The main focus of the art history lecture is Georges Seurat’s Pointillist masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte. The students will make observations on close-up sections of the painting and complete note organizers during the lecture. Next, there is a section where the students will see 10 different Postimpressionist paintings and will determine if they are examples of Pointillism or not. Next, students will create their own Pointillist landscape paintings by following the guidelines set by the included rubric. The students will also write artist statements to help them relate their artwork to Seurat’s and share their intent with viewers. This art project has a high rate of success for all students.
This zip download includes the Pointillism Lecture PowerPoint, which is over 40 slides long and includes examples of high school student artwork. There is a PDF lesson plan that encompasses the lecture and project. The lecture note organizer is a double-sided half sheet PDF file, and an answer key is included. There are two PDF rubrics: the Pointillism Landscape Painting and the Pointillism Artist Statement. There are multiple rubrics per sheet in order to cut down on copying. Both rubrics also include blank point value options if you need to edit the point system for your classroom.
Anchor Standard: 3. Refine and complete artistic work.
Anchor Standard: 10. Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.
Objective: Students will be able to list the characteristics of Pointillism and identify A Sunday Afternoon. Students will be able to apply optical mixing to their own artwork.
Activity: Lecture with notes, and students will create a Pointillist painting.
Materials: “Pointillism Lecture” PowerPoint, Pointillism Note Organizer, Pointillism Landscape Painting Rubric, Pointillism Artist Statement Rubric, drawing paper, pencils, 9x12” canvas paper, tempera or acrylic paint, paint brushes, toothpicks, paint trays, lids, water cups, and paper to cover the tables
Time: 4 weeks