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Visual Arts Lesson: St. James on Horseback

Creating an estofado design of local leaves


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

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

4. Response/evaluation: a.


•The students will research and write on this sculpture of St. James and describe his importance to the Spanish soldiers who conquered Mexico.
•The students will create their own estofado designs in an engraving process suitable for the classroom of local foliar shapes.

Introducing the
Work of Art


Large Image

•Students will discuss the work as a whole and the historical significance of the piece. Research the meaning of the white horse.
•While viewing a large image of the sculpture, students will discuss the process of creating it including wood carving, polychrome decoration, attached objects of other material such the wrought iron stirrups and the technique of estofado shown in the armor.
•Students will describe the leaf motifs in the armor and the engraving process called estofado.

Art Activity

•Students will create paper etchings that recreate the type of decoration used in the armor of this sculpture.
•Students will first cover 9 by 12 sheets of white paper with a heavy coating of bright crayon using gold or silver metallic crayon if available.
•Add a small amount of detergent (to help in covering the crayon) to India ink or black tempera paint and paint over the crayoned sheets.
•The students will collect leaves from the school yard or bring them from home to get wider variety. Have students practice making drawings of these leaves. Looking at the use of line on the armor of the sculpture will help students see linear patterns in leaves and decorative arrangements of the leaves.
•Students will then use a sharp tool or opened paper clip to etch leaf shapes into the sheets of paper covered with dried black ink or paint. The etching process will reveal the gold or silver color beneath thus recreating the type of design in the armor of St. James.

Evaluation Procedure

•Students will discuss the etchings they have created and how they relate to the sculpture they studied.
•Each work should show an elaborate linear leaf design etched across the entire page that shows characteristics of the leaves that were studied as subject matter. .See assessment matrix.

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