Magazine article Arts & Activities

El Jaleo, John Singer Sargent

Magazine article Arts & Activities

El Jaleo, John Singer Sargent

Article excerpt


Use the Art Print to introduce a collaborative unit on dance, motion and art. Share the print with students and explain that it depicts a Spanish woman doing a special dance called flamenco. Show students the video that can be found on the website Freeze a frame from the video and model for students how to draw a quick gesture drawing depicting the dancer. In another class period, work with the school physical education teacher to teach students the basic moves of flamenco.

Back in the art room, give students paper and pencils and time to draw a picture of their experience. After students have completed their drawings, give them colored pencil or crayons to lay in color. Display the finished drawing with the art print.


Share the Art Print with students and inform them that the dancer depicted in El Jaleo is an excellent example of a gestural pose. Explain that the artist did many preliminary sketches as he observed dancers on a trip to Spain in 1879. Examples of Sargent's sketches can be found at: http://

Introduce gesture drawing using an articulated mannequin. Place a posed mannequin on each group's table and walk them through the steps of using basic shapes to quickly depict the basic form and gesture.

An excellent lesson plan using mannequins to teach drawing to children can be found at: lessons/gestureFigureDrawing.pdf. Give students opportunities to do many three-minute sketches, changing the mannequin's pose at the end of each three minutes. Display the sketches alongside the Art Print.


John Singer Sargent was a master draftsman who did many preliminary sketches before undertaking a final painting. Share the gesture drawing found at the website,, and explain to students it is just one of the many studies Sargent drew in preparation for painting his early masterpiece El Jaleo, this month's Clip & Save Art Print. …

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