Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lesson 3: Greek Pottery

This lesson is sort of three in one. All three of my students will be learning about Greek pottery and decorating an Amphora, but each will be using a different Greek style.
Homemade Scratch Paper (made with appropriate colors for the style of Greek pottery to be created. See this post for how to make scratch paper.)
something to scratch with- we used toothpicks
images of Greek amphoras and the style or styles you plan to teach- There are a ton on Wikipedia. I didn't have to pull images from any other source.
1- Intro to Greek Pottery- Much of the artwork we know of from ancient Greece is ceramic. This is not necessarily because they made so much, but because it is what has survived.  In this lesson we will explore three of the different decorative styles used on Greek pottery: Geometric, Black Figure, and Red Figure. 
2- What colors are seen on Greek pottery? - The range of colors which could be used on pots was restricted by the technology of firing: black, white, red, and yellow were the most common. 
3- What Subject Matter is used to decorate Greek pottery?
-Greek pottery often told stories about Greek daily life such as funerals, marriages, wars and athletics. Athletics and wars were particularly popular subjects for pottery. These vases depict men wrestling, running, high jumping or throwing a discus. Another very popular subject matter for ancient Greek pottery was scenes from mythology
4- What is an Amphora- a vessel with a 2 handles and a long neck that is narrower than the body. They were used in large numbers to store and transport both liquid and dry goods. Show an image, which can be found on Wikipedia.
5- Go over each style with the student who will be using it. Show images of the style as you explain it. I found plenty of images for each style on Wikipedia. There is a page about Greek pottery as a whole and individual pages for each of the styles. Demonstrate how to used the scratch paper and help them brainstorm what they could draw to mimic the Greek style. Let the student practice on a test piece before doing the real Amphora. 
Geometric was one of the earliest styles (900-700BCE). In the Geometric style pots have several bands going around them creating horizontal lines. Shapes used to decorate include circles, semi-circles, zig-zags, meanders, and simple animals in later Geometric pieces. (There is a page on wiki for meanders that shows exactly what that design looks like)
Black Figure was common between the 7th and 5th centuries BC. The style features black figures painted onto a reddish colored pot.
Red Figure 530BC until 3rd century BC Red Figure is the opposite of Black Figure; a read figure on a black pot.
6- Place each of the styles of Greek pottery on the timeline.

Here is our finished work:


Black Figure

Red Figure

Info in this lesson came mostly from Wikipedia. 
The initial concept for this lesson came from:

By the way, I love that last site. It is an incredible resource for art lesson plans and inspiration and it is well organized. I used it all the time when I was teaching in public school.

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