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Exploring Identity through Portraiture

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Civics +4 Age Levels Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

Exploring Identity through Portraiture explores the ways in which artists and sitters use portraiture as a means to convey individual, community/cultural, and national identity. By analyzing portraits, including self-portraits, students will consider how the artists tell the sitters’ stories, paying attention to how the artists’ choices reveal some—but perhaps not all—aspects of the sitters’ identity. Students will explore how portraiture can be an avenue that they can use to represent their own identities and make meaning of what is important to them.


Curriculum Connections: This lesson plan is suitable for students in grades 4-12 Civics and Visual Arts classes. 


Objectives: After completing this lesson, students will be better able to: 

• Examine how modern and contemporary artists use portraiture to reveal aspects of a sitter’s individual, community/cultural, and national identity. 

• Identify key components of a portrait and discuss what one can learn about the sitter through these components. 

• Discuss the artistic choices that portrait artists make and consider how such decisions can reveal the artists’ viewpoints and also influence the viewers’ understanding of the sitters’ identity. 

• Use the museum’s collection as a gateway to investigating and exploring one’s own individual, community/cultural, and national identity.

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Exploring Identity through Portraiture

National Portrait Gallery

Identity

National Portrait Gallery

Identity

National Portrait Gallery

Identity

National Portrait Gallery

Identity

National Portrait Gallery

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Medium

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Muhammad Ali

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Vanguard

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Rachel Louise Carson

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Toni Morrison

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Pedro Martinez

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Dr. Marta Moreno Vega

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​Sandra Cisneros

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Maria Hinojosa

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Exploring Identity through Portraiture

National Portrait Gallery

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National Portrait Gallery

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Create your own self portrait

National Portrait Gallery

Barack Obama MICROGRAPHY PORTRAIT

National Portrait Gallery