Author: Lillian C. Licitra, PS 49 Queens

Lesson Preview In this lesson, students will observe the portrait Woman with a Pink by Rembrandt. They will determine how the artist uses symbols to portray his character. Independently, students will write poems using symbols.

Standards New York State Learning Standards for the Arts

Responding to and analyzing works of art

New York City Language Arts Performance Standards

E1c, E3a, E3b, E3c, E4a, E4b, E5a, E5b

See Performance Standards - English Language Arts http://www.nycenet.edu/dis/standards/ELA/index.html

Grades Upper Elementary and Intermediate School Levels

Subjects Language Arts

Materials Picture of a pink carnation, reproduction of Woman With a Pink

 WWW www.metmuseum.org


1. Begin a discussion about symbols and symbolism. Use
the idea of a country’s flag to introduce the concept.
After the concept of a symbol is understood, do the
following brainstorming exercise:
Show the class a pink carnation. It can be real or a picture.
Ask the students to identify the object. Their responses may
focus on the following:
flower pink carnation
Ask the class what these three terms may symbolize individually.
Elicit answers and record.


Woman with a Pink

2. Draw the students’ attention back to the painting.
Ask them what they may know about the woman because of
the symbol she is holding. Ask: What does Rembrandt want
us to know about this woman that he cannot capture in the
painting? What symbols does he use to tell us about the woman?
What do they symbolize?
3. Have them compare the apparent wealth of the woman with her
facial expression. Ask: What is highlighted in the portrait because
of the light source. Point out that Rembrandt paints the woman’s
face and carnation in the light perhaps to show both inner and
outer beauty.



Extensions Display Rembrandt’s painting Landscape with an Obelisk
and van Gogh’s Bedroom at Arles. Ask. Focusing strictly on
the colors used by the artist, how does Rembrandt’s portrait make
you feel? Why? How does van Gogh’s portrait make you feel?
Why? Elicit and record responses.




Bedroom at Arles


Assessments Read The Circle by Nancy Wood. Explain Nancy Wood
uses many objects as symbols. Have the students make a list
of five objects from the poem and tell what they symbolize.
Have students choose a color or object and write a symbolic
poem sing specific, previously learned writing strategies.
Lesson Plan Index