Michelangelo Painting Activity for Kids

Renaissance Unit Study

Week 7: We created one-point perspective drawings.

When Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, he had scaffolding custom built, which blocked the view of the ceiling from the ground. The scaffolding curved with the ceiling and was braced against the walls. Since Michelangelo threw out the ceiling designs and painted what he wanted, the scaffolding served him well.

Despite being an extremely talented painter, Michelangelo didn't want to paint. His first love was carving marble. Pope Julius II wanted a tomb filled with statues and paid Michelangelo to complete the job. After he spent the money without performing the work, he was ordered to paint the ceiling of the Sistine chapel.

The four years it took to complete left Michelangelo with permanent back and neck problems.

Once the ceiling was complete, he was called back by Pope Paul III to paint the alter scene. Michelangelo had spent many hours dissecting bodies to study the male figure. This knowledge was used to paint the last judgement - all the people were nude. Unfortunately he lived during a time when nude artwork was controversial and he was ordered to add clothing to the figures. Being of a slightly spiteful nature, Michelangelo painted the bishop who gave the order in hell.

One-Point Perspective

Painting and drawing in perspective was a relatively new concept during Michelangelo's time.

To create one-point perspective drawings, the kids drew a vanishing point on their papers with a dot.

Next they used a ruler to create a road, or ceiling and floor which sloped toward the vanishing point.

Then they added figures, being sure to decrease their size as they approached the vanishing point.

We enjoyed this Art with Alex video which did a good job of explaining one-point perspective to kids.

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