Awesome Allegories

Awesome Allegories lesson plan

Retell favorite stories in allegorical paintings created in the style of Baroque painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens.

  • 1.

    Peter Paul Rubens was born on June 28, 1577, in Siegen, Germany. His paintings, which were remarkable due to their accuracy, sumptuous color, and vitality, contained a broad range of subject matter. In addition to his many portraits, Rubens also painted wonderful allegories (story paintings), based upon mythological and religious themes.

  • 2.

    To create your own allegorical painting, think of a favorite story. Write a summary of one scene in that story, using Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils. Describe both the characters and setting in detail so you clearly visualize them.

  • 3.

    Cover a table top with recycled newspaper. On white paper, use Crayola Watercolors and Watercolor Brushes to paint the main character in the story. Place your character in the story's environment, with details that reflect your ideas. Make your character as lively and colorful as possible, just as Rubens did in his allegorical paintings.


  • Children observe the lush work of Baroque painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens.
  • Children recognize the difference between portraits and allegories, both of which were painted by Rubens.
  • Students retell favorite stories and create allegorical paintings based on them.


  • Rubens also painted several formal portraits. To create a formal portrait in the manner of Rubens, begin with a picture of someone close to you, dressed in their very best clothes. Use Crayola Tempera Paints to paint your portrait. Focus mainly on the per
  • Create an allegorical painting based upon an original story that you write. Display your finished painting with your story. If you are part of a group that creates these original allegories, display the paintings together, then read the stories to the gro
  • Children who cannot yet write independently can summarize stories orally with partners, describing characters and setting as they imagine them, then use allegorical painting as a way to record visualizations of the story.