Vegetable Faces: A Giuseppe Arcimboldo Portrait Study
Students create portraits from vegetables in the same manner as the famous Italian master, while learning how to identify different foods.
- Grades: PreK–K
- Unit Plan:
As part of the Meet Your Vegetables thematic lesson plan, students create vegetable portraits like the Italian painter, while learning how to identify different fruits and vegetables in a healthy diet.
After completing the unit plan, students will:
- Gain the knowledge and skills to select a diet that supports health and reduces the risk of illness and future chronic diseases. –Massachusetts Health Curriculum Framework
- Identify a variety of fruits and vegetables and how they are grown and harvested.
- Identify the connection between food served in the home with regional food production. –Massachusetts Health Curriculum Framework
- An assortment of vegetables
- Drawing paper
- Colored pencils
- Black Sharpie markers
- Black construction paper (about 11" X 17"), one sheet per student
Set Up and Prepare
- Visit Giuseppe Arcimboldo Online and the Web Gallery of Art to print out color copies of some of Arcimboldo's famous paintings.
- Send home letters to parents requesting fresh vegetables to use in class.
Step 1: Gather students together and share some of the Giuseppe Arcimboldo images. Have a discussion about what the artist used to create his faces. Explain that students will have the opportunity to create similar faces.
Step 2: Use a Sharpie to demonstrate how to draw the outline of a vegetable. Use colored pencils to color the vegetable drawings before cutting them out. After washing their hands, give students the opportunity to arrange the vegetables to create faces.
Step 3: After they've had a chance to experiment with vegetable faces, students can arrange their vegetable drawings on a sheet of black paper to create a portrait. Once they are satisfied with their face, they can glue the drawings to the paper.
Supporting All Learners
Have sample face collages posted around the room to serve as visual cues for the project. Use toothpicks with attached facial features to create individual Mr. Potato Heads.
- Have students write a grocery list of the vegetables they used in their collage.
- Try using fruits to perform the same activity.
This lesson can establish a home connection in a variety of ways. Parents can contribute to this project by donating vegetables as requested in the newsletter. Hang the artwork in a prominent place outside of the classroom. Be sure to include photos of the project in both the classroom and school newsletter (PDF).
- Make a list of the vegetables used in the face collage.
- Create a "vegetable face" using Play-Doh.
- Was I clear in my directions?
- Was I set up and prepared with the proper materials?
- Would I do anything differently next time?
- Are students engaged and on task?
- Do all students have a finished product that looks like a face?