Degas Analysis


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Review the elements of line, spacing, shading, and use of light in a variety of different pieces of artwork. Use the thinking strategy of “Color, Shapes, Lines” by having students answer and describe these questions: What colors do you see? What kind of shapes do you see? What kind of lines do you see?

Share out and chart the list of descriptions from the pre-assessment. Circle words/phrases that overlap for bigger themes and ideas.

Lesson Process:

Step 1:  Study the variety of artistic sketchbooks of Edgar Degas. Analyze his use of line, subject, and light in his work using the “Color, Shapes, Lines” thinking strategy from pre-assessment.

Step 2: Have students choose an object or a theme and pick two words from each category (color, shape, and line) to focus on. Incorporate this information into an original work in the style of Edgar Degas using student sketchbooks and either a charcoal medium or pencil sketches.

Step 3: Each student will complete an artist statement to describe their work. These statements should address the following questions:

1. Why did you create this work?

2. What does this work signify?

3. How did you create this piece/solution?

4. What is the work made of (if applicable)?

5. What does this work mean to you?

Time Required:
30-45 minutes

Materials List:

  • Variety of Edgar Degas sketchbooks
  • Sketchbook papers
  • Charcoal or pencils
  • class blog space or wiki


Blogged Response.

Have students add their artistic statement to a blog/wiki. Each student must comment about at least two other statements. Assess both the writing analysis performed by students and the use of color, line and shape, in their work.