Revolutionary Self Portraits

Manuaela Saenz by Mara Jacobo


As a part of the study of The Americas at Center School students were asked to create "Revolutionary Self Portraits."  The instructions for completing their assignment follow, along with a Grading Rubric. 

Part I

Decide on a revolutionary/independence figure from a Latin American country, a figure you connect with, that speaks to you in some way, a figure that in another life you might say, “Hey, that could be me.” This step will require some initial research.

An art teacher came to class and taught some basic drawing techniques, with an emphasis on shapre, proporition and balance so students could learn how to draw from a model--themselves!

After your self-portrait drawing is finished, you will receive instructions about basic painting techniques, including value and texture. You will paint your self-portrait—but with a twist. Your portrait will become the revolutionary figure you have selected. Including pieces of period clothing, hints of location in the background, objects important to the figure’s life, or other contextual clues, you will blend this portrait of yourself with the real historical revolutionary figure.

You will have some class time to work on your self-portrait, but you will be expect to work tutorial as well.

Part II

 Your finished work of art will be presented to the class along with a typed, one-page, 1.5 spaced biography of your revolutionary figure. Artwork and biographies will go on display inside the school.

Your presentation will occur during class in the form of a gallery walk the week after spring break

Part III

 Prepare a brief oral presentation about your revolutionary figure. Be sure to include the country, what they did that makes him/her a hero in the eyes of Latin Americans, AND how/why you identified with the figure.


Revolutionary Self-Portrait—Grading Rubric



Teacher Assessment

Art Technique—Proportion

Self-portrait demonstrates understanding of realistic facial proportion for facial features. 1 pt







Art Technique—Balance

Work of art demonstrates composed balance with a complete, contextual background. 2 pt







Art Technique—Color Theory

Self-portrait demonstrates knowledge and understanding of mixing colors and distinguishing value. 2 pt







Historical Context

Self-portrait has become a revolutionary figure. It includes all of the following: pieces of period clothing, hints of location, objects important to the figure’s life, and other contextual clues. 5 pts





Student has written a one-page biography on a revolutionary figure from the U.S. War for Independence, a Latin American revolution/ resistance movement of the 19th century, or another teacher-approved individual. Biography focuses on why this figure represented a major, radical change in her/his culture. 3 pts






Biography format is correct (typed, standard 12-point font, 1.5 spaced, no longer than 1 page in length) and error free. 2 pts




Oral Presentation

Student included the country, what figure did that makes him/her a hero in the eyes of Latin Americans, AND how/why student identified with the figure. Student spoke clearly and confidently. 5pts