I cover the Prehistoric “Natural World” day 1 of my Prehistoric Unit and the human figure day two. I use this day to look at symbolic representations of the human body. The images in this lesson from the AP Art History 250 are:
- #4. Running horned woman
- #6. Anthropomorphic Stele
- #11. Terra cotta fragment
- #10. Tlatilco female figurine
For bellwork, each student gets a color image of their assigned artwork and are instructed to look deeply for clues. I do give them a hint that all the figures are humanoid (especially useful for the Terra Cotta fragment!). Then, in their group of four, they discuss the theme of the human figure in Global Prehistoric art:
- What seems to be the most important aspect of depicting human figures?
- In your opinion, why are humans depicted in Prehistoric art?
- How do these images differ in their depiction of humans? How are they similar?
Afterwards, we regroup as a whole class and I point out some major things I want them to know about the images. At the end of the lesson (if there is time), I have a short video from Khan Academy, A brief history of the representation of the body in Western sculpture, just to preview some later artworks.