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Atmospheric Perspective in Art-Renaissance Lesson Plan

Updated on January 14, 2013

Art of the Italian Renaissance-Lesson Plan For Children

I love finding great ideas for art appreciation for my children. We included this project in with our Renaissance history plans to learn more about the time period and Leonardo Da Vinci.

We have been learning about the artistic techniques that evolved in Italy during the Renaissance period of time, roughly the 15th and early 16th centuries. There is so much to learn that we have broken the concepts down into mini-lessons. Here is the first part of the lesson.

This lens will focus on Leonardo Da Vinci's artwork and how he incorporated these ideas into his paintings. Scroll down to find the lesson plan and an example of a follow-up art project.

Concepts that formed during this time period are:

Importance of the artist

Use of space and proportion

Realistic representation of the figure

This lens contains five paintings that represent the idea of aerial perspective.

Leonardo was the first artist to show objects as less detailed in the distance, contrasts between lights and darks became less distinct in the distance, and there appeared to be a bluish haze.

This is called aerial or atmospheric perspective.

View the paintings below and look for these features.

Short Video Lesson

Sometimes it is nice to actually see how artists put this into practice. This very short video will introduce a couple of really great ideas for getting started with atmospheric perspective.

You will see how an artist uses "blurred vision" to begin the painting and then using values of paint, he creates the atmospheric perspective.

Lady of the Rocks, 1483-1486 - Leonardo da Vinci

Mona Lisa, 1504-1506 - Leonardo da Vinci

Agony in the Garden, C. 1465 - Giovanni Bellini

Three Philosophers, 1505-1509 - Giorgione

The Tribute Money, 1427-1428 - Masaccio

Outdoor Art
Outdoor Art

Follow Up Project

Go outside and observe in an open place the atmospheric conditions that you can see. As you look in the distance, do the details seem to disappear? Do you see the bluish haze that Leonardo talked about? How about the colors? Are they more or less distinct in the distance?

Try your hand at painting with watercolors the scene you see before you. Try to incorporate the ideas that Leonardo talked about and then demonstrated in his paintings.

Our First Attempt at Showing Aerial Perspective

Our First Attempt at Showing Aerial Perspective
Our First Attempt at Showing Aerial Perspective

Looking for more Renaissance art plans? - Try my Harmony Fine Arts Ebook

Complete week by week plans with art prints, links, and follow-up activities.

Mona Lisa - Picture Study

More on Renaissance Artists

Renaissance Artists Who Inspired the World (Explore the Ages)
Renaissance Artists Who Inspired the World (Explore the Ages)

Middle School level book about the artists of the Renaissance. We really enjoyed this book in our family.

120 Italian Renaissance Paintings CD-ROM and Book (Dover Electronic Clip Art)
120 Italian Renaissance Paintings CD-ROM and Book (Dover Electronic Clip Art)

This book of paintings includes all of the images on CD so you can view the artwork on your computer, print it out, or use it for notebook pages. Very versatile and easy to use.

Eyewitness: Renaissance (Eyewitness Books)
Eyewitness: Renaissance (Eyewitness Books)

Excellent resource for art of the Renaissance. Typical DK style is easy to read with lots of colored images to illustrate the topics covered. Highly recommend this book.


I love to hear your comments!

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    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 6 years ago from Florida

      We're doing a unit study on Leonardo da Vinci right now, and your ideas are very helpful!

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 6 years ago

      The more I stare at the paintings the more I see aerial perspective. Thanks for sharing.

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 8 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      I like how the art is right in the lens. This is a one stop lesson!