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Visual Arts Lesson - The Adoration of The Shepherds

Creating a bas-relief sculpture


•Knowledge and skills.Complete TEKS for 6th grade art.

1. Perception: a. and b.
2. Creative expression/performance: a.and c.
3. Historical cultural heritage: a. and b.

4. Response/evaluation: a.


•The students will describe the subject matter of this work and its significance in the Catholic Church in viceregal Mexico.
•Students will list the art elements and art principles used in this piece and analyze how they contribute to its expressive content.
•The students will create a bas-relief sculptures of themselves with animals in clay.

Introducing the
Work of Art


Large Image

•While viewing a large image of this bas-relief sculpture of the Adoration of the Shepherd, the students will discuss subject matter, its meaning in the Catholic Church and the role of the Church in viceregal Mexico.
•Students will describe the us of the elements of art
(color, line, shape, value and texture) and principles (center of interest, balance, and repetition).in this work and how they are used to enhance the expressive content of the work.
•The students will analyze the process of bas-relief sculpture. Will determine how the artist was able to place this many people in the same space and still achieve an effect of depth.

Art Activity

•The students will create small bas-relief modelings of themselves with an animal in clay.
•Using a rolling pin, students will roll out a back ground and cut it to a 6" by 6" square that is at least one/half inch in depth.
•Students will then build up the clay on the background to create a representation of themselves and an animal. Other elements such as curtains, trees, or furniture might be worked into the modeled piece to complete the composition.
•Allow the pieces to dry thoroughly and then fire them. When fired they can be painted in tempera to add details to the work.
•When all pieces are finished assemble them together as a wall decoration to be displayed in the school.


•Students will describe their bas-relief sculptures and how they worked to meet the objectives of the lesson or write a comparison of their work with the bas-relief sculpture from the Franz Mayer exhibit.
•Assessment: The finiished pieces should show the student in relief against the background in correct proportions with an animal and other objects as needed to complete a balanced composition. See assessment matrix.

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