Don Giovanni Teaching Resources

Art and Design Key Stage 4

Can the artist become the artwork?

Research the work of photographer Cindy Sherman, particularly the untitled film stills and celebrity portraits series.

Students can work in pairs to list 10 words to describe the characters in Don Giovanni, then make judgements about their personalities and what type of people they are just by looking at their photo. This can lead to a fuller discussion on stereotypes and judgements we make about people’s appearance.

Students can be asked to bring in props or costumes to recreate their own still-style portrait based on the characters in Don Giovanni. Directional lighting helps create drama in the classroom or locations around school; reflections also work well using puddles or mirrors.

How and why do designers change our body shape?

Looking at the production photographs, ask students to choose and then sketch a costume which has the most interesting silhouette or radically alters the shape of the body.

Annotate the sketch showing where and how the body shape or silhouette has been changed.

How does your subconscious influence your drawing?

Investigate the methods of Jackson Pollock and ask students to explain the following quotes: ‘I am nature’ and ‘When I am in my painting, I am not aware of what I’m doing’.

Look closely at ‘Autumn Rhythm number 30’ by Jackson Pollock and ask students to describe the colour palette and marks.

Play clips of the arias from Don Giovanni whilst experimenting with mark making in black and white media only. Firstly ask students to listen with their eyes closed, to try and connect with the unconscious mind. Start making marks on paper with dry media like chalk, charcoal and pastel in dark tones. Then, each time the music changes tempo, from major to minor key (or changes mood) or singer, ask the students to change marks or media. Finish by using the dripping technique in grey or white liquid media like ink or poster paint.

What made 1950s British designers world leaders?

Students could make a moodboard of found images and patterned fabrics and paper inspired by 1950s fashion shapes and interior fabrics.

Include information about a key 1950s designer working in Britain. For example: Lucienne Day, Robin Day, Marian Mahler, Jacqueline Groag.

Homework

Design a dress or suit that combines the exaggerated shapes and silhouettes of 1950s fashion and the colours and mark making of the abstract expressionist painters of the time (e.g. Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning).

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