Orozco Autorretrato (Self Portrait)


Portrait of artist in white shirt

José Clemente Orozco
b. 1883 Ciudad Guzmán, Mexico; d. 1949 Mexico City, Mexico
Autorretrato (Self Portrait), 1937
Oil on canvas, 31 x 26 inches
Accession date: 1988
Gift of the Estate of Jeanne Wechsler in memory of A. F. Wechsler
© 2020 José Clemente Orozco / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico


Language Arts

Grade Range





Museum trip


Index cards

About the Artist

One of four children, José Clemente Orozco grew up in a struggling middle-class family in Mexico. During his youth, Orozco was heavily influenced by Mexican illustrator José Guadalupe Posada. Posada’s politically engaged paintings helped Orozco realize the power of art as an expression of political revolt. Directed by his family to study agricultural engineering, he never stopped dreaming of becoming an artist.

Following his father’s death, Orozco finally felt free to pursue his true passion – art. Despite losing his left hand and impairing his sight as a result of a fireworks accident, he formally studied art and continued to pursue his artistic vision. He ultimately became one of the leading artists of the 20th century, along with Siqueiros and Rivera, known internationally as the triumvirate of Mexican muralists. They were instrumental in raising the rights and consciousness of the people.

Learning Goal

To use adjectives to describe Autorretrato (Self Portrait), by José Clemente Orozco.

I Can Statement

I can use adjectives to describe Autorretrato (Self Portrait), by José Clemente Orozco.


 Adjective, noun, mood, shape, color, symmetry, category, pose


  • Define adjectives: an adjective is a word that describes a noun.
  • Review nouns: nouns are people, places or things.
  • Give a few examples of adjectives and elicit a few more from the class.
  • Introduce/review and discuss the vocabulary.
  • Record the following elicited adjectives on index cards:
  1. texture (smooth, rough, thick, soft or hard).
  2. facial features and the head in general (expression, hairstyle, details).
  3. style type and color of the clothing.
  4. pose (relaxed, stiff, natural, etc.).
  5. moods evoked by the portrait (happy, sad, serious, angry, calm or none at all.).
  6. shapes and types of lines they observe (straight, curvy or diagonal). 
  7. setting (location, time of day, year).
  8. background (blank, dark, colorful).
  9. energy or movement (intensity, direction, etc.).
  • Have the students classify the adjectives on the index cards into categories.


List adjectives to describe yourself.


Write five sentences describing family members or friends.

Florida Standards

Florida Language Arts Standards Grades K-5

  • Vocabulary: VA.1.C.3.1 / VA.2.C.3.1 / VA.3.C.3.1 / VA.4.C.3.1
  • Use Accurate Vocabulary to Communicate Ideas about Art: 
  • VA.1.S.1.4 / VA.2.S.1.4 / VA.3.S.1.4 / VA.4.S.1.4 / VA.5.S.1.4
  • Adjectives: LAFS.K1.L.3.5 / LAFS.2.L.3.6 / LAFS.3.L.1.1 / LAFS.4.L.1.1
  • Nouns: LAFS.K.L.1.1 / LAFS.1.L.1.1 / LAFS.2.L.1.1 / LAFS.3.L.1.1 / LAFS.4.L.1.1

Florida Language Arts Standards Grades 6-8

  • Vocabulary: VA.68.C.3.1
  • Use Accurate Vocabulary to Communicate Ideas about Art: VA.68.S.1.4
  • Nouns: LAFS.68.L.1.1

Florida Language Arts Standards Grades 9-12

  • Use Accurate Vocabulary to Communicate Ideas about Art: VA.912.S.1.4
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