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Italian Art: From Etruscan to Modern

Grade Level: 
6–12
Student Level: 
Middle School

Optional Italian language presentation available on request for an additional fee.

Italy has a long and rich tradition in the visual arts, but what do these images communicate about the country's history? This lesson provides a survey of Italy's artistic heritage by exploring why particular subjects were depicted in sculptures, paintings, and decorative arts. Students learn how factors such as patronage and subject matter convey some of the ideals and events important to residents throughout Italy in the last two thousand years. The objects shown range from decorative arts made by the ancient Etruscans to a print created by Boccioni, a proponent of the Italian Futurist movement in the early 20th century.

Program Format: 
  • Introduce the Etruscans and survey selected objects from ancient Rome.
  • Review works from the Middle Ages and examine the influence of Christianity.
  • Review works from the Renaissance, highlighting Humanism.
  • Optional classroom interactivity designing narrative panels as in Renaissance architecture.
  • Discussion of the Baroque and Modern world through early the 20th century.
  • Optional comparison interactivity linking Italian art works from several centuries.
Objectives: 
  • Students will learn about the forms and functions of Italian art by looking at a broad survey of images found in the Cleveland Museum of Art.
  • Students will consider what messages the objects communicate about the society that made them.
  • Students will discover how the artist's role in choosing subjects changed over time.