Linear Perspective Lesson Plan

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Educate your students about linear perspective with this lesson plan. They will view a video lesson, take a related follow-up quiz, and be part of activities that will test their knowledge of new concepts.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • Explain what linear perspective is and how it is utilized
  • Name some famous artists who incorporated linear perspective
  • Recap some famous works that contain linear perspective


1 - 1.5 Hours


  • Colored markers
  • Copies of the video lesson Linear Perspective in Renaissance Art: Definition & Example Works along with the related lesson quiz
  • Images of the following paintings: Cafe Terrace at Night, Paris Street; Rainy Day, Approaching a City, La gare Saint-Lazare, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, and Satire on False Perspective
  • Internet access
  • Poster board, one large sheet per student
  • Rulers or yardsticks
  • Shoe boxes, one per small group
  • Small toys
  • Tape

Key Vocabulary

  • Alberti
  • Brunelleschi
  • Checkerboard
  • Da Vinci
  • Perugino
  • Raphael
  • Realism
  • Vanishing point

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.


Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.


  • Inform your students they are going to be learning about linear perspective.
  • Ask them if anyone is familiar with the topic.
  • Review the eight key vocabulary terms.
  • Read the introductory paragraph of the video lesson Linear Perspective in Renaissance Art: Definition & Example Works.
  • Start playing the video, then pause for the first time at 0:33.
    • What concerned Renaissance artists?
    • What was one way they achieved realism?
    • When was the Renaissance?
    • How does linear perspective utilize math?
  • Next resume the video and pause this time at 1:52.
    • Is a canvas two-dimensional or three-dimensional?
    • Is the real world two-dimensional or three-dimensional?
    • How did artists make a painting seem three-dimensional?
    • What is a vanishing point?
    • Why did artists create a series of intersecting lines?
    • How do a train and railroad tracks relate to this concept?
  • Now resume the video and pause this time at 2:41.
    • Who started the use of perspective?
    • When did it go out of favor?
    • When did it return?
  • Next resume the video and pause at 3:32.
    • Who was Brunelleschi and for what is he credited?
    • Who was Alberti and what did he describe in writing?
  • Now resume the video and pause for the final time at 4:39.
    • Can you name three famous examples of paintings that used linear perspective?
  • Lastly, resume the video and play the 'Lesson Summary' section.
  • Recap the complete video lesson.
  • Answer any questions your students may bring up.
  • Have your students take the lesson quiz to demonstrate their grasp of the material.

Activity 1

Part 1

  • Inform your students they are going to be drawing their very own portraits using the concept of linear perspective.
  • Divide your students up into pairs.
  • Hand out colored markers and poster board, one large sheet for each student. Tell them:
    • 1) Turn your poster board vertically.
    • 2) Use rulers or yardsticks to draw two railroad track lines. The lines should not be parallel, but they should move closer together until they touch at a point off in the distance.
    • 3) Draw horizontal railroad ties on to your picture.
    • 4) You are now free to draw whatever you like around your railroad tracks. However, it is crucial (to the concept of linear perspective) that objects near the front are drawn larger and objects near the back are drawn smaller.
    • 5) You can draw both natural objects such as trees and man-made objects such as buildings into your paintings.
  • Finally, have the students share their creations with the entire class, and point out the use of linear perspective in each painting.

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