Author: Joanell Meringolo, IS 125 Queens

Hear me, whoever you are. I come to you fleeing the wrath of Poseidon. Take pity on me. I have suffered much already. Even the immortal gods must pity a poor wanderer.

- Odysseus

 Lesson Preview This lesson joins the tale of Odysseus with the art of Rembrandt. Students will apply knowledge of the style and techniques of Rembrandt to illustrate characters from The Odyssey.


New York State Standards for the Arts
Responding to and Analyzing Works of Art
Students will respond critically to a variety of works
in the arts, connecting the individual work to other works
and to other aspects of human endeavor and thought


New York City English Language Arts
E2c-Producing a narrative
E3a- Prepare and deliver an individual presentation
E4b- Demonstrate a basic understanding of the rules of the English language in written work

Grades Intermediate and High School Levels

Subjects English, Art, Social Studies

Materials art reproductions, drawing supplies




Read: The adventure of the Cyclops is in Book 9 of the Odyssey.

Ask: How does Homer show that Polyphemus is uncivilized? Desired answers include his disrespect of gods and his treatment of guests.

Ask: Which actions of Odysseus indicate his expectations of his host’s behavior. Answers may include his entering the cave without his host being present and his bringing wine for the host.

Discuss guest-host relationship in the ancient world. Reinforce this concept with a reading of the myth Baucis and Philemon.

Display Rembrandt’s etching Beggars Receiving Alms. View the characters in the etching in light of correct behavior in the Ancient world Study the etching’s facial expressions. Ask:


Using the cross-hatch drawing technique, complete a sketch of Odysseus as a beggar. Encourage students to use a chiaroscuro technique showing light and dark. The figure of Odysseus must show the result of suffering.

Imagine you are one of the characters in Beggars Receiving Alms. Create a narrative of the events after the moment portrayed by Rembrandt.

Assessments You are a famous art historian hired by the Board of Trustees of a well-known museum to determine theauthenticity of a portrait that the Board has been advised is a Rembrandt. After carefully studying the portrait, you must advise the Board to buy or to pass. The Board will follow your expert advice.

It depends on you&emdash;Rembrandt/ Not Rembrandt.
Write a narrative account giving your opinion.
Remember to give supporting evidence in each
paragraph based upon your knowledge of Rembrandt
and his painting style.
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