Renaissance Art Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Add a punch to your instruction on Renaissance art as you help students bring out their inner-most Michelangelo and Da Vinci. Take it a step further if you wish with suggestions for supplementary activities and related lessons.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • compare and contrast Renaissance and Medieval art
  • identify key elements and themes of Renaissance art
  • summarize the evolution and significance of Renaissance art
  • design a sculpture using the fundamental design elements of Renaissance art


1 hour


  • Clay
  • Tablets, computers, or projector to access lesson

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7: Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

Key Vocabulary

  • Humanism
  • Renaissance


  • Show the video lesson Renaissance Art: Artists, Paintings, Sculptures & Architecture to the class in its entirety.
  • Point out the central themes of Renaissance art and architecture: humanism and a rebirth of classical influences.
  • Now ask students to apply these themes to create a sculpture out of clay in either human or architectural form (e.g. a cathedral).
  • When all students have completed their sculptures, complete the quiz associated with the lesson as a group.


  • Using Da Vinci's Mona Lisa as a guidepost, ask students to create self portraits using paper and colored pencils.
  • Have students conduct research and report on the life of a famous Renaissance artist.

Related Lessons

The Renaissance Timeline: Events Overview

Humanism in the Renaissance: Recognizing the Beauty of the Individual

The Renaissance Economy: The Rise of Banking

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