Rediscovering… Picasso!

By Elena Peterson, upper school Spanish


Making Cubist portraits

We started our unit on Picasso just like last year. After covering his life, paintings, periods, technique, we watched a documentary about his life and works and students were able to make connections with other subjects. I thought: “This is it: connections.” This is what every teacher hopes for at the end of a lesson to do with History, Art and Spanish.

This year, I was able to bring in an artist so students could become hands-on “Cubist painters” for a day. The class experienced and produced some fun and creative Cubist works and reflected more deeply on Picasso. I felt this was the time when they became masters for a day. Students made Dani_03quick portraits of each other and drew one another in a Cubist fashion following our guest´s prompts. (photo above)

We then decided to get to know Picasso more in-depth and I asked the class: “How about designing a Cubist collage to express an idea in a Cubist manner?” Cathy Van Lancker and I met a couple of times regarding materials students could use, a Walk Gallery for their collages, etc. The new artists created very interesting compositions. La cara importante de las cosas (The important face of things), Autorretrato (Self-portrait), El ojo de Dios (God´s Eye) amongst many others. Daniel W. created an impressive and highly detailed Cubist collage of Napoleon. (photo right)

Recently, our unit culminated in a visit to the RISD Museum. We admired some of the RISDartists who influenced Picasso´s work, his own paintings and post-Picasso works. Someone accompanying us through the museum commented “I am impressed on how much the students already know!”

We learned there is a little bit of Picasso in all of us and that our lessons as teachers are rediscovered every year thanks to our own students.


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