Genre in the Visual Arts: Portraits, Pears, and Perfect Landscapes

Still Life, portrait, and landscape are all categories, or genres, of painting which your students have probably seen examples of on their trips to the museum or when looking through an art book. But how much do they know about the genre of genre painting? What genre is Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s image of George Washington Crossing the Delaware from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art?

This lesson plan will help students to understand and differentiate the various genres in the visual arts, particularly in Western painting. Students will learn to identify major genres, and will learn to discriminate between a painting’s subject and its genre.

Guiding Questions

What are genres in the visual arts?

Learning Objectives

Define genre in the visual arts, particularly in Western painting

Recognize and explain the differences between subject and genre

Identify the genre of a variety of works of art