Lesson Plan

Post Impressionism and Van Gogh

Studying the Post Impressionist style through the works of Vincent Van Gogh
Donald P.
Classroom teacher
N.F. Woods Advanced Technology and Arts Center
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Arts
EdTech Mentor

Students will be able to...

Understand the Post Impressionists as an art movement and what it represented (B.CX.1.2 Explain how art influences historical perspectives on 

Identify works of art as being from the Post Impressionist time period (B.V.1.3 Classify art according to specified styles.)

Explain the impasto technique in relation to other painting methods (B.V.3.3 Exemplify characteristics of different artistic processes.)

Explain and describe events from Van Gogh's life and how they affected his artwork (B.CX.1.3 Understand how art is used to document human experience)

Create an artwork in the style of Van Gogh using a digital software (B.V.3.2 Use a variety of media, including 2-D, 3-D, and digital, to 
produce art.)

Answer questions, reflect and critique their own artwork (B.CR.1.2 Use teacher-generated criteria to evaluate personal art.)

Note: these are the NC art standards for beginning secondary art - they may be different for your state - the national standards are currently under review


English Language Arts
Social Studies
cultural understanding
historical figures
Grades 9 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Free, Paid

Teacher introduces the Post Impressionists with a Prezi presentation on the Post Impressionists focusing mainly on the life of Vincent Van Gogh. 

2 Direct Instruction

Teacher loads Google Art Project and introduces students to the program.

  • How to search
  • How to switch between 'views' including 'museum view'
  • How to create their own 'user gallery'
  • Do a search for Van Gogh and briefly discuss what the results are showing.
  • Select 'Starry Night'
  • Show students the 'zoom' feature that is enabled on select paintings - 
    • Scroll around and zoom in on different areas 
      • the 'blacks' that are actually greens and browns
      • the stars and moon
      • look for areas of bare canvas showing through that demonstrates his passion in the creation of the painting.

3 Guided Practice

  • Have students do a search on either Van Gogh or Post Impressionism
  • Students search through museums (including the Van Gogh museum) c
    • Each student creates a 'user gallery' of their favorite piece.

4 Independent Practice

This step infers that students already have experiene using this app. 

  • Students create an artwork in the style of Van Gogh without directly copying one of his works
    • teacher can choose to let students choose other Post Impressionists
  • For those with weaker skills or who are hesitant - or need adaptations:
    • student or teacher can load in a copy of a Van Gogh painting for students to trace over
  • Teacher emphasizes impasto technique and texture in the 'brush strokes'. 
  • Teacher assists with technique where needed.

5 Wrap-Up

Free, Paid

This step infers that students have used Prezi previously.

  • Students create their own Prezi presentation on the life of Van Gogh and what they learned about him
    • Teacher can assign other Post Impressionists to students instead of Van Gogh
  • Students finish the presentation with their artwork created in the style of Van Gogh and answert three of the folowing questions in relation to their artwork:
    • 1. Artists create original art.

      -think creatively

      -develop original ideas

      How did you use your own unique ideas in your work?

      Did you use a source for inspiration, then combine it with your own ideas to make it original?

      2.  Artists develop art making skills.

      - learn techniques and processes

      - explore media

      Did you learn new techniques or processes as part of the work for this project?

      Did you gain skill with familiar materials?

      3. Artists communicate through their work.

      - self-expres

      - include personal interests

      - examine important issues

      What is this artwork intended to say?

      What issues are you examining through your artwork?

      How is this artwork about who you are or what you like?

      4. Artists take risks.

      - try new things

      - experiment

      Did you try something that you weren’t sure about as part of this project?

      Did you pick a material or technique that was new or different over something that was familiar?

      5. Artists collaborate.

      - share ideas and knowledge

      - teach

      - help

      Did you ask another student for feedback during your work process?

      Did someone help you understand important information or inspire you?

      6. Artists solve problems.

      - try alternative solutions

      - use mistakes as learning opportunities

      How did you respond to challenges that occurred as you worked?

      Did your work take an unexpected turn due to a mistake or did something happen that was unplanned?

      7. Artists reflect.

      - analyze work and process

      When did you step back and analyze you work during this project?

      8. Artists understand the art community.

      - art in history

      - current art and artists

      - how technology affects art

      - local arts community

      How did any of the descriptors above affect your work?

  • Teacher can choose to have students present to class or to simply turn their work in to the teacher.