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Art History - General

Lesson Plan: Vincent van Gogh Cuts Off His Ear

Lesson Details

Subject: Art History

Grade Level: High School

Duration: 1 hour

Learning Outcomes

  • Know the historical context surrounding Vincent van Gogh's ear-cutting incident
  • Understand the possible reasons for van Gogh's actions
  • Can analyze the impact of van Gogh's mental health on his art


This lesson will be delivered through a combination of lecture, class discussion, and individual reflection.


  • PowerPoint presentation
  • Handout with primary source documents
  • Art supplies for individual reflection activity


  1. Introduction (5 minutes): Teacher will introduce the topic and provide historical context for van Gogh's life and art.
  2. Lecture (15 minutes): Teacher will provide a brief overview of the ear-cutting incident and its impact on van Gogh's life and art.
  3. Class Discussion (20 minutes): Students will discuss the possible reasons for van Gogh's actions and the impact of his mental health on his art.
  4. Primary Source Analysis (15 minutes): Students will work in pairs to analyze primary source documents related to the ear-cutting incident and its aftermath.
  5. Individual Reflection (5 minutes): Students will create a piece of art inspired by van Gogh's work and/or mental health struggles.
  6. Conclusion (5 minutes): Teacher will summarize the key takeaways from the lesson and provide resources for further exploration.


Assessment will be based on class participation, primary source analysis, and the quality of the individual reflection activity.


Vincent van Gogh Cuts Off His Ear: A High School Art History Lesson Plan

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15 months ago
This lesson plan complies with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and the National Core Arts Standards.

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