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The Art Studio
How can we create a contemporary Vermeer genre painting?  
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Instructional Objectives:

1. Students will have explored web sites (in computer lab, or at home) in preparation for their research reports and have made observations of light, shadow, color and space relationships found in a Vermeer painting of their choice.

2. Students will sketch from observation, a Vermeer portrait noting interior space and light source.

3. Student models will pose in a similar scene to Vermeer’s paintings, “The Milkmaid” and “The Astronomer” for classmates to sketch.

4. Students will create a Vermeer style genre drawing which may be entitled: “Serving Tea” or “The Student”.

5. Students will create a Vermeer composition using charcoal and chalk to express light and shadow.


Time Required: Days 4 -10.  40-minute periods


Advanced Preparation: Teacher prepares props and room set-up to simulate a Vermeer interior. A strong light source must come from the left side window or use of flood lights to elicit strong lights and darks on subject.

Materials: sketchpads, pencils, erasers, charcoal paper, ebony pencils, charcoal, chalk


1. sketch     2. composition     3. scale     4. perspective


ProcedureDay 4 -10 – Students will create pencil sketches of a painting of their choice to develop the genre style of portraits indoors, with light coming in from a window on the left. Students will model at the classroom window to simulate a Vermeer interior today, using props and costumes. Students will draw their subject using charcoal and chalk to achieve the deep light focusing our attention on our subject and their daily task. Using drawing skills and study of tonal values and shading, students will create a Vermeer style portrait.

Thought provoking questions might be:

1.      How can I transform my classroom into a Vermeer interior?

2.      What must be omitted or changed to create the perception of a strong light source?

3.      How large should major elements of my composition be?

4.      How can I develop my drawing skills with regard to observation of details, perspective, value studies, and point of view? (Blueprints for the Arts Benchmarks)


Homework: Sketch a figure at home in a natural everyday setting. For example: mom in kitchen, dad in garden, sister doing homework, etc.





Photograph student models in poses
with light source
. These can then be
displayed next to
finished compositions.



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