Vincent Van Gogh – Plastic language elements: shades and tones (LS-RO-99)

‘Vincent Van Gogh – Plastic language elements: shades and tones’ is a learning scenario created and implemented by Carmen Alexandra Miricioiu from Romania.


This two hours interdisciplinary lesson is about Vincent Van Gogh and the use of shades and tones in his artworks. Pupils between 10 – 11 years old have to search the European Collections for Vincent van Gogh’s paintings. Then, they discover the concepts of tones and shades by analysing his work.

Aims of the lesson

Using arts to facilitate the understanding of concepts and concrete topics, the lesson also aims to engage students in exercise-exploring. At the end of the lesson, students should be able to identify keywords and understand the links between plastic compositions, sculptures, photographs, and so on. They should also be able to analyse Vincent van Gogh’s work according to criteria established by the teacher,

Implementation: the concept of shades and tones

During the lesson, students have to create paintings according to originally established rules with the help of language elements. Additionally, pupils report observations in their practice book. They have to participate in the analysis of lessons and other assisted activities.

later, students have to access Vincent Van Gogh images from Europeana Collection, using barcodes or links. In this activity, they first have to identify tones (refers to a blending colour with white or black – which results in the scale or tonal scale) and shades (refers to mixing a colour with another colour or even more colours) in the portrait.


It is proposed to conclude the activity by collecting constructive feedback on the activity, completing a sheet by which the students answer the questions: What did you learn? How did you feel? What would you give up?

Would you like to know more about this learning scenario? You can download it below:

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The featured image used to illustrate this article belongs to the public domain. Click here to find it.

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