Arts of Asia in Reach
Comparative Sculpture Lesson Plan
1. Lesson Overview

A Lesson for Prospect 5th Grade Gifted/Talented, Students Ages 10-12
Designed by Loren Fawcett, Education Assistant, Allen Memorial Art Museum


Throughout history artists in every culture and society have created sculpture of some kind. Sculptures come in many different shapes and sizes, are made using all kinds of materials and a variety of processes and techniques, and satisfy various purposes.

Types of Sculpture
As an art form, sculpture differs from painting in that it exists in space. It can be seem, touched, and even walked around. Paintings may hope to suggest or imply on flat surfaces the illusion of space, but it is actual space that is important to the sculptor. Sculptures fill out space creatively with three-dimensional forms. Such forms may express actual appearances, emotions, or ideas. There are two types of sculpture: relief sculpture, which cannot be seem from all sides; and sculpture in the round, which is freestanding sculpture surrounded on all sides by space.

Processes of Sculpture
Artists use a variety of different processes or techniques to create sculptures from the materials they select to use. These processes include: modeling; carving; casting; and assembling. In this lesson, students will encounter both carving and modeling.

Modeling is a process in which a soft, pliable material is built up and shaped. Artists use materials such as clay, wax, or plaster. In this process, sculptors add more and more material gradually as they create a three-dimensional form—thus modeling is known as an additive process. Some modeled sculpture requires the use of an armature to provide additional support as the sculpture is created around it.

Carving is cutting or chipping a form from a given mass of material to create a sculpture. Because material is removed from the starting mass until the sculpture is completely exposed, the carving is considered a subtractive process.

  1. Students will view original artwork from the museum's collection.
  2. Students will be able to define the art form sculpture.
  3. Students will be able to discuss the similarities and differences between the examples provided.
  4. Students will be able to discuss the three-dimensional quality of each example given.
  5. Students will create their own sculpture and describe its characteristics.
  6. Students will critique their own artwork.

Academic Content Standards

  1. Visual Arts
    • Content Standard #1: Students select techniques and processes, analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of their choices.
    • Content Standard #4: Students know and compare the characteristics of artworks in various eras and cultures. Students analyze, describe, and demonstrate how factors of time and place influence visual characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art.
    • Content Standard #6: Students compare the characteristics of works in two or more art forms that share similar subject matter, historical periods, or cultural context.

  2. Language Arts
    • NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective: Students read a wide range of print and non-print to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment.
    • NL-ENG.K-12.2 Understanding the Human Experience: Students read literature from a variety of periods and/or genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions of human experience.
    • NL-ENG.K-12.7 Evaluating Data: Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions and posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.

Ohio State Standards
  1. Visual Arts
    • Know and use elements and principles in an appropriate manner to create personal works of art.
    • Know and use vocabulary related to production and exhibition of works in the arts.
    • Relate works in the arts to varying styles and genre and to the periods in which they were created.
    • Know and use the critical examination processes of works in the arts and humanities.
    • Analyze and interpret specific characteristics of works in the arts within each art form.
    • Apply the process of criticism when comparing and contrasting meanings of a work of art.
    • Recognize that choices made by artists regarding subject matter and themes communicate ideas through works of art.

  2. Language Arts
    • Define the meaning of unknown words by using context clues and the author's use of definition, restatement, and example.
    • Establish and adjust purposes for reading, including to find out, to understand, to interpret, to enjoy and to solve problems.
    • Predict and support predictions with specific references to textual examples that may be in widely separated sections of text.
    • Analyze the difference between fact and opinion.
    • Demonstrate active listening strategies (e.g., asking focused questions, responding to cues, making visual contact).
    • Interpret the main idea and draw conclusions from oral presentations and visual media.
    • Identify the speaker's purpose in presentations and visual media (e.g., to inform, to entertain, to persuade).


The frame or skeleton structure used to support modeling material such as clay or plaster in sculpture. Armatures can be made from flexible wire, wood, pipes, rods, chicken wire, styrofoam, etc. A sculpture with appendages usually will require an armature.

A principle of design that refers to the equalization of elements in a work of art. Balance may be symmetrical (formal), asymmetrical (informal), or radial

A subtractiveprocess in which a sculpture is formed by removing material from a block or mass of wood, stone, or other material, using sharpened tools.

An element of art with three properties:
  • Hue: the name of the color, e.g.: red, yellow, etc.
  • Intensity: the purity and strength of the color such as brightness or dullness.
  • Value: the lightness or darkness of the color.

Elements organized in a work of art to create a unified whole.

The process, and result, of organizing the visual elements in a work of art. Among the concepts an artist may choose to work with or not, are rhythm, balance, unity/variety, focus / emphasis (focal point), scale, proportion, contrast, directional forces.

Elements of Art
The visual components of color, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value.

in a composition refers to developing points of interest to attract the viewer's eye to important parts of the body of the work.

element of art that is three-dimensional and encloses volume. Cubes, spheres, and cylinders, are examples of various forms.

Four Steps of Art Criticism
Description, analysis, interpretation, and evaluation.

A principle of composition achieved in a body of work by using similar elements throughout the work

An element of art which refers to the continuous mark made on some surface by a moving point; may be two-dimensional, like a pencil mark on a paper or it may be three dimensional, such as wire, or implied (the edge of a shape or form); often it is an outline, contour or silhouette.

A material used to make art.

The shaping or fashioning of three-dimensional forms in a soft material, such as clay

A principle of composition that shows action and directs the viewer's eye throughout the picture alone.

(pl. same; Italian for mercy) an artwork depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Christ.

Principles of Art
rhythm, balance, emphasis, unity, proportion, harmony, variety, and movement.

A principle of composition, also known as scale, that refers to the relationships of the size of objects in a body of work; gives a sense of size seen as a relationship of objects such as smallness or largeness.

In sculpture, figures projecting from a background of which they are part. The degree of relief is designated high, low (bas), sunken (hollow), or intaglio. In the last, the backgrounds are not cut back and the points in highest relief are level with the original surface of the material being carved.

A principle of composition that is a type of movement in artwork, often seen in repeating of shapes and colors or alternating lights and darks.

a three-dimensional work of art.

Subtractive process
carving out of wood, stone, etc. Form is released when excess is cut away.

Additive process
using plaster, wood pieces, metal that is welded, plastic that is bonded

An enclosed space defined by other elements of art; shapes may take on the appearance of two-dimensional or three-dimensional objects.

refers to the distance or area between, around, above, or within things. It can be a description for both 2 and 3 dimensional works.

Subtractive Sculpture
Sculpture made by removing material from a larger block or form.

A design (or composition) with identical or nearly identical form on opposite sides of a dividing line or central axis; formal balance.

An element of art which refers to the surface quality or "feel" of an object, such as roughness, smoothness, or softness.
Actual texture: can be felt
Simulated texture: implied

Having height, width, and depth

Achieved in composition when all the parts equal a whole; a composition with unity should not appear disjointed or confusing.

describes the lightness or darkness of a color; needed to express volume.

principle of composition that refers to the differences in the work; achieved by using different shapes, textures, colors and values in your work.

Continue to: 2. Lesson Materials