Vincent XL

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Slide 1: Tekstslide
ArtPrimary EducationLower Secondary (Key Stage 3)

In deze les zitten 11 slides, met interactieve quiz en tekstslides.

time-iconLesduur is: 60 min


Using a grid drawing made by Vincent van Gogh, the class will enlarge an image of a Japanese figure.


General learning objectives
 - The class will learn about one of Vincent van Gogh's works.
- The pupils will enlarge a grid drawing by Vincent van Gogh and then make their own creative versions of it.

- Make sure the materials are in place before the lesson begins.

Materials required
- The worksheet 'Tracing a Courtesan by Vincent van Gogh'
- Sturdy art paper (A4 format)
- Coloured paper (A3)
- Pencils, erasers and rulers
- Dip pens and India ink, or fineliner pens
- coloured pencils or markers

Optional variations
1. Have the class enlarge the image to other dimensions (like 2.5 x 2.5 cm on A3 paper or 4 x 4 on A2).
2. Instead of coloured pencils or markers, use gouache, poster paint or acrylic paint (and thin brushes). If you use paint, don't use fineliners to draw the lines.
3.  If you have extra time, have the pupils plan a decorative edge around their Japanese figures and then carry out their plan. They could paint, draw, or use wrapping paper, for instance.
4. Use the lesson to introduce the basic idea of enlarging an image with a grid. Then let the students pick their own images to enlarge.

Background information
Vincent van Gogh admired the lines, colour fields and cropping that Japanese artists used when depicting figures, landscapes and city scenes. Japanese prints differed from the European art that he was used to, and from his own work. Vincent studied such prints and then made his own versions of them, proceeding very carefully. For example, he used grids to enlarge the images from Japanese art so that they would be the right size for his canvases.


Onderdelen in deze les

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

Ask the class to study the image carefully for a few seconds, without saying anything.  Then go on to the multiple-choice question on slide 2.

This woman is from...

Slide 2 - Quizvraag

Deze slide heeft geen instructies

Slide 3 - Tekstslide

Tell the class: This is the front page of a French magazine from long ago: Paris Illustré from 1886. This issue is about Japan, 'Le Japon'. The front cover is illustrated with a print by the Japanese artist Keisai Eisen.

Slide 4 - Tekstslide

Continue: Vincent van Gogh loved Japanese art. After he read that French magazine, he decided to make a painting based on the cover.

Courtesan (after Eisen), 1887

Slide 5 - Tekstslide

Continue: Even though Vincent was good at copying drawings, he needed a special technique to copy the Japanese figure.

Slide 6 - Tekstslide

Continue: That was because he planned to make the painting much larger than the magazine cover.

Slide 7 - Tekstslide

Continue: Vincent's trick was to use a grid. He first traced the picture from the magazine cover onto a sheet of paper. Then he drew a grid over that. He drew the same grid pattern on the canvas for his painting, but larger. That way he could make a larger copy of the drawing, one square at a time.

Slide 8 - Tekstslide

Ask the class how many large squares Vincent used.


> vertical x horizontal: 7 (plus a little extra) x 2.5

Slide 9 - Tekstslide

Continue: Vincent divided the large squares into smaller ones. This grid made it easier to copy the details correctly.


Question: How many squares did he draw in total?

> 5 x 14 = 70, plus 5 narrow strips at the top, which have about the same combined area as one square.

Your turn!
  1. Draw a grid with 14 x 5 squares. Leave room for an extra strip on top!
  2. Make each square ___ x ___ centimetres in size.
  3. Copy the figure, one square at a time. Start by using pencil.

Slide 10 - Tekstslide

While the worksheets, art paper and other materials are being passed out, discuss the assignment and explain how to use the materials. Use the pencil function on the lower right to fill in the chosen size of each square: for example, 2 x 2 cm or 3 x 3 cm. After drawing the figure in pencil,  the pupils can trace over the whole thing in pen and ink or fineliner, including the lines around it. Then they can remove the pencil lines and colour in the figure.

How did it go?

Slide 11 - Tekstslide

At the end of the lesson, look at the results together. Was this hard or easy? Are the students happy with what they made? You can display the paintings in a prominent place in the classroom or somewhere else in the school.