Tuesday, November 2, 2010

José Guadalupe Posada Lesson Plans

For this, our final day of Día de los Muertos, I thought I'd share a bit of history on one of the artists most closely associated with the holiday and some lesson plans.

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The son of a baker and homemaker, José Guadalupe Posada was one of eight, possibly nine, children. He was born in 1851 in the Mexican town of Aguascalientes, an artist's town known for centuries for its fine pottery, textiles, tiles and more.

At 16, José began learning the art of lithography as an apprentice to José Trinidad Pedroza, a publisher, printer, and graphic artist. Before long, he became a political satirist and routinely protested the rule of Mexico's then dictator, Porfirio Díaz.

Posada was a prolific artist, but remained unrecognized during his lifetime. However, both Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco were heavily influenced by José's art. Rivera eventually dedicated (posthumously) a mural in Posada's memory at the Hotel del Prado in Mexico City.

Posada's most famous illustration is "La Calavera de la Catrina", an image that is best associated with the Día de los Muertos holiday. And, in fact, the majority of his work has since come to be the iconic image of the Day of the Dead observance.

Articles & Websites about José Guadalupe Posada

Here are some more sites with some incredible information about Posada's life and work...

The Posada Art Foundation has a remarkable website dedicated to the artist's works. You can find a lot of information about him there. 

• Jose Guadalupe Posada: His Art & Times quite possibly has the best and most comprehensive article on Posada. (However, this site is not for children, so I would strongly recommend that a parent or teacher go through this page first and copy and paste the information ahead of time.)

HoustonCulture.org has a short, but nice piece on Posada.

ArtCyclopedia has some good links.

• Mexican Folk Art Guide has this excellent and comprehensive page describing Posada's life and art. I really enjoyed this one.

Arts & Crafts Lessons

Here are a few crafts that would go great with studying this artist:

Teach Kids Art has this fun “Day of the Dead Prints” activity inspired by Jose Posada

• This Calavera Poem activity of mine allows your children to write the poems that Posada frequently illustrated. Your kids can write and draw their own with this guided activity. 

• Here is a Day of the Dead (el Día de los Muertos) Calaveras Posada Drawing activity for high school students from Tiffany vs HS


• Eeek! I kid you not, this is the cutest and most clever thing I've seen. Watch this LEGO interpretation of José Guadalupe Posada y la Calavera Catrina. It's the BEST! And totally kid-friendly:

• Here is a long video from the Academic Film Archive of North America that is completely made up of Posada's work. Teachers, preview this first to make sure that it is appropriate for your students (there are some creepy images in it). Recommended for high school and college, only.

• There's a new documentary on the way called Searching for Posada: Art and Revolutions. Watch the trailer here. For middle and upper school students.

Picture Book

Author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh has a book featuring José Guadalupe Posada. Get your copy of Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras.

Other Posts for Día de los Muertos


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