Art and Design 

Key Stage 3 and 4

Lesson One

Lesson One

Share the Glyndebourne website for Agreed. Then ask the students to read the synopsis and identify some of the key themes.

Teacher notes:

  • Casting out - outcasts, bible stories (casting out demons), exile, division.
  • Forbidden boundary - prohibited barrier, border and frontier. Ask the students to name as many boundaries as possible: physical, emotional/psychological and geographical.
  • Unrest spirals – disturbance, agitation, name any public demonstrations. How might they escalate?
  • Conscience – sense of right and wrong, moral compass.

A key theme to be explored in these teacher resources is conflict.

Starter Activity

Show the students The Scream by Edvard Munch 1893.

Explain to the class that expressionism in Northern Europe was characterised by emotional extremes. Edvard Munch and Vincent Van Gogh were very influential artists of the time. These artists used vivid colours and exaggerated swirling brushstrokes to give the sense of energy and movement in their work.

Looking at the painting The Scream, 1893 Edvard Munch. Ask the students to:

  • Describe what they see? (The colours, the shapes, the composition).
  • Why do they think the person is screaming?

Main Activity

Ask the students to re-imagine the painting by taking a photo of themselves or by asking someone to take the picture for them in the act of screaming.

  • Try to express the emotion that they think is being portrayed through the Munch portrait e.g. loss, loneliness, isolation.

In their sketchbook, copy their portrait. They could experiment in different ways, starting with one in pencil and then going on to use colour.

  • Compare the differences and annotate their work with the thoughts and ideas that they have as they develop.

Lesson Two

Lesson Two

Starter Activity

Ask the students to look at the painting Self –portrait with Bandaged Ear by Van Gogh 1889.

As a class:

Describe the physical characteristics of the painting. How was Van Gogh feeling at this time?

Then, in their sketchbook, ask the students to make a list of their personal and physical characteristics.

  • Draw out three columns labelled: physical/ personal /mood. For example: Physical - blonde hair, brown eyes. Personal - caring, friendly. Mood - sometimes sad, occasionally lonely

Main Activity

Using a media of their choice, ask the students to create an image of themselves experimenting with different colours to portray mood.

  • Oil pastel or chalk blend well and can be manipulated to give swirling patterns similar to those of Munch and Van Gogh.
  • Try creating a number of portraits expressing their different emotions.
  • Try and develop the feeling in their work through their choice of colour and mark.
  • Work quite small, A4/A5 so that they can work quickly with their experiments.

 

Lesson Three

Lesson Three

Starter Activity

Ask the students to listen to the song Mad World by Gary Jules.


  • Play the track a few times for the students and as they listen let their pencil wander and doodle on their page.
  • Let the students know they don't need to think about anything but the words and the sounds and see what happens on the page.

Main Activity

Show the students Ein Warter by Erich Heckel. Explain that Expressionists believed art should try to change society.

Expressionism was all about expressing the artists inner emotions, its aims were to provoke feelings of discomfort and to challenge the traditional way of looking at the world. These emotions run through the opera Agreed with its political divisions, its divided people and the conflict that builds between a community and family. 

Ein Warter by Erich Heckel explores the deep emotions of the sitter through exaggeration and distortion.

  • On a small piece of paper, ask the students to choose one of their own strong emotions or one that they have taken from Agreed and sketch out an expressionist portrait.
  • Experiment until they have a portrait that they are happy with which shows the emotion they are trying to portray clearly.

Lesson Four

Lesson Four

Starter Activity

Discuss with the class:

During the first world war, Kirchner was discharged from the army because of a nervous collapse. He took his own life in 1938 after being greatly affected by the confiscation of over 639 paintings when Hitler declared the Expressionists as degenerate.

  • Ask the students to look at the Kirchner woodcut Old Woman and Young Woman 1921 and see how he has embodied the emotions and feelings of the two women into the picture.

Main Activity

Using their finished portrait from the previous lesson, ask the students to trace the image using a 3B pencil.

  • If you have access to woodcutting equipment trace the design down onto a piece of MDF. If not then lino will work just as well. Ask them to trace the image onto the lino and go over the tracing with a Sharpie to make the lines clear and easy to see.
  • Using the appropriate equipment and working safely, cut out your expressionist style portrait.

Once complete, print off a number of images experimenting with different colours until they have one that expresses all the emotions that they are trying to portray.

  • They can also experiment with different papers and colours to print on as this will also affect their final outcome.

 

Homework/Extensions

Homework one

Ask the students to stick a copy of The Scream into their sketchbook and draw a copy of it. Research the painting and consider what Munch was experiencing when he painted this image.

 

Homework two

The leader in the opera Agreed is fearful. He is losing what is most precious to him.

  • Ask the pupils to think about what is most precious to them and how this would make them feel. In their sketchbook try and draw what this would look like. It might be a picture of themselves or it might not.
  • How will they visually show an image of this emotion?

 

Homework three

Ask the students to present a page in their sketchbook on ‘Die Brucke’ group and the artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner or Erich Heckel.

 

Homework four

Reflective task: Ask the students to stick a copy of their final print into their sketchbook and annotate it with the thought processes they went through to achieve their final piece.

  • Are there any ways in which they would improve their print?
  • Have they been able to express emotion through their portraits?
  • If they used one of the emotions from Agreed, how successful has this worked in their final piece? 

In the following lesson, students can look at the work of their peers and share their thoughts together on how the project has gone. Can their peers recognise the character or emotion they have portrayed?