Art Classes: Level V

Level V- Art Lesson 6: The Ancient Greek Trireme

Learn to Use Color, Line and the Art Deco Style To Suggest Speed and Power

The lesson is suitable for students in grade 7 through adult.


Art Lesson Description:

Could an ancient ship's design have helped create Western democratic governments? Chances are, the answer is YES! A small fleet of ancient Greek triremes—agile ships with three layers of oars and a metal-capped ramming beam on their prows—charged into a massive Persian fleet at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC, destroying the Persian fleet and freeing Greece from Persian domination. Athens was free to rebuild, and the Greeks began their form of democratic government.

The Trireme Trust, a British organization that built a working trireme based on Greek descriptions of the ship, has provided us with pictures of their ship for our lesson. We combine the ship with information about how line, color, and the Art Deco style can create a sense of speed and power.

Students will draw a trireme, and then are given the following design tools to make their design of the ship seem as dynamic and powerful as possible:

  • The language of lines,
  • The use of warm and cool colors, and
  • Inspiring examples from the Art Deco period.

This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson plus 2 downloadable printouts: a warmup and a drawing of the trireme.


List of Supplies for Each Student:


Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:




Approximate Time to Complete the Art Class:

  • Drawing the ship: 25 minutes
  • Adjusting the style of the drawing: 20 minutes
  • Coloring the drawing with watercolor pencils: 40 minutes
  • Total time: 85 minutes


Original Image
Original Image
How to Draw
How to Draw
A Finished Art Lesson
A Finished Art Lesson

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Bundle V-B (Online Art Lessons for Kids | ArtAchieve)
ENTIRE Level V (Online Art Lessons for Kids | ArtAchieve)

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