Introduction

For many artists, we have added suggested art pieces.  However, feel free to choose pieces that appeal to you. If you use books, pick the pieces that most appeal to you and your children.

The chosen artists start in the Renaissance and move roughly forward in history to modern times and then return to the earliest artists and begin a basic historical rotation for a second, and then a third time throughout the twelve years.  Every two or three years, an ancient art or architecture term is included.  Feel free to mix and match terms and to swap out artists as desired.  For example, Canadians may want to spend a term with the Group of Seven artists.

The purpose of the artist study is to appreciate and interact with great art. This is highly subjective.  There are no definitive artists or pieces that every person should know.  We have tried to include the most common here, in addition to several women artists who often remain unknown, and some world artists who are often lost in the plethora of European artists.

We know there are great artists we have not included! We encourage you to share the ones you know and love with children, and be open to finding great art wherever you might encounter it!


2019-2020

Term 1 - Georges Seurat

Wikipedia and WikiArt articles

Term 2 - Beatrix Potter

Term 3 - Ancient/Architecture

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2020-2021

  • Diego Rivera
  • Ansel Adams
  • Maria Primachenko

2021-2022

  • Michelangelo
  • Maria Sibylla Merian
  • Angelica Kauffman

Archived Previous Years

2017-2018

Term 3 - Benjamin West

2018-2019

Term 1 - JMW Turner OR John Constable

(Choose which one you love the most or pick three from each and then do a comparison study. See this comparison study)

Term 2 - Edgar Degas (A Beginner’s Guide to Impressionism)

The Bellelli Family (1859)
Little Dancer of Fourteen Years (1881), the only sculpture that he ever exhibited, though he created others
A Cotton Office in New Orleans, 1873 (the only painting to be purchased by a museum during his lifetime)
The Dance Class (La Classe de Danse), 1873
Place de la Concorde (1876)
After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself (1890) (Degas used photographs to assist in the execution of this painting!)

Term 3 - Grandma Moses

A documentary made before she died: Grandma Moses! America’s Most Loved Painter of Folk Art! See this lesson plan for ideas on discussing her art.

Cairo (1933) embroidered wool and silk on canvas
Shenandoah Valley (1938)
The Old Checkered House, 1860 (1942)

The Checkered House was a local legend. Situated along the Cambridge Turnpike, it was an inn where stagecoach drivers had changed horses as far back as the eighteenth century. During the Revolutionary War, the inn served as General Baum’s headquarters and field hospital. Its checkerboard front made the house a distinctive landmark that was remembered long after it burned in 1907. Moses painted a number of versions of “Checkered House,” in both winter and summer. When asked how she managed to come up with a new composition each time, she said she imagined the scene as if she were looking at it through a window. By then shifting her viewpoint slightly, she could cause the elements to fall into place differently. Compare with this onethis oneand this one in winter.

Taking in the Laundry (1951) Moses recalled that the painting was inspired by a poem she had learned in school as a child. Some seventy years later, she could still recite it by heart:

Oh, Monday was our washing day,
and while the clothes were drying,
a wind came whistling through the line
and set them all a-flying.
I saw the shirts and petticoats
go flying off like witches.
I lost (oh bitterly I wept),
I lost my Sunday breeches.
I saw them flying through the air,
alas too late to save them.
A hole was in their ample part,
as if an imp had worn them.

Sugaring Off (1955) Like the checkered house paintings, Grandma Moses painted many version of this iconic early sprint event; see also.
The Rainbow (1961), her last finished painting

Complete List of Artists we considered


Our original list had over 75 recommendations.  We have included them here for your inspiration.

Ancient Art Pieces

  • Lascaux, Altamira, Chauvet Cave Paintings (17000 BCE) – France
  • Narmer’s Palette (3000 BCE) – Egypt
  • Standard of Ur (2600 BCE) – Sumer
  • The bull-leaping fresco (1500 BCE)
  • The Siren vase (470 BCE) – Greece
  • Augustus of Prima Porta statue (100) – Rome
  • Bayeux Tapestry (1080) – England
  • Architecture

    • Pyramids of Giza, Egypt BCE 2560T
    • The Cliff Village of Petra, Jordan BCE 312
    • The Colosseum and Pantheon, Rome, Italy, 72
    • The Alhambra, Granada, Spain, 889
    • Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, 1173
    • St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia, 1583
    • Taj Mahal, Agra, India, 1643
    • Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain, 1882
    • The Chrysler Building, New York, USA, 1928
    • The Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UEA, 2004
    • Taipei 101, Taipei, 2004
    • Lou Ruvo Centre for Brain Health, Las Vegas, 2007

    Great Artists (chronologically)

    • Giotto di Bondone (1266– 1337)
    • Van Eyck (1390- 1441) – Flemish, Renaissance
    • Botticelli (1445-1510) – Italian, Renaissance
    • Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) – Italian, High Renaissance
    • Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475– 1564) – Italian, High Renaissance
    • Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1625) – Italian portrait painter
    • Caravaggio (1571-1610) – Italian, Baroque
    • Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1652) – Italian painter but dark story and art
    • Bernini (1598-1680) – Italian Sculptor
    • Velasquez (1599-1660) – Spanish, Baroque
    • Rembrandt van Rijn (1606– 1669)
    • Gerrit Dou (1613– 1675) – Dutch, Baroque
    • Johannes Vermeer (1632– 1675) – Dutch, Baroque
    • Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) – German naturalist; painted butterflies and other natural
    • Nainsukh (1710-1778) – Indian subjects
    • George Stubbs (1724– 1806) – British, Romanticism
    • Benjamin West (1732– 1820) – American/British, Rococo, Neoclassicism
    • Angelica Kauffman (1741 – 1807) – Austrian-English history painter
    • Gilbert Stuart (1755– 1828) – American, Rococo, Romanticism
    • Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1755 – 1842), French portraitist.
    • Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) – Japanese, Edo period
    • Camille Corot (1796-1875) – French, Realism
    • Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775– 1851) – British, Romanticism
    • John James Audubon (1785– 1851) – French/American, Naturalism
    • Edouard Manet (1832-1883) – French, Realism, Impressionism
    • John Constable (1776– 1837) – British, Romanticism
    • Jean Francois Millet (1814– 1874) -French, Realism
    • John Ruskin (1819– 1900) – British, Romanticism
    • John Millais (1829-1896) – British, Romanticism, Realism
    • Edgar Degas (1834– 1917) – French, Impressionism
    • James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834– 1903) – American, Aestheticism, Impressionism
    • Henri Fantin-Latour (1836– 1904) – French, Realism, Symbolism
    • Winslow Homer (1836– 1910) – American, Realism
    • Paul Cézanne (1839– 1906) – French, Post-Impressionism
    • Claude Monet (1840– 1926) – French, Impressionism
    • Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841– 1919) – French, Impressionism
    • Henri Rousseau (1844-1910) – French, Naive Art
    • Mary Cassatt (1845-1926) – painted mothers and children primarily
    • Vincent Van Gogh (1853– 1890) Dutch, Post Impressionism
    • Carl Larsson (1853-1919) – Swedish, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau
    • Toulouse Lautrec (1856-1901) French (physical disability)
    • John Singer Sargent (1856– 1925) – American, Realism, Impressionism
    • John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) – American, Realism, Impressionism
    • Georges Seurat (1859-1891) – French, Post-Impressionism
    • Grandma Moses (1860-1961) – American, Naive Art
    • Frederic Remington (1861– 1909) – American, Tonalism, Impressionism
    • Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) – Austrian, Symbolism, Art Nouveau
    • Edvard Munch (1863– 1944) – Norwegian, Symbolism, Expressionism
    • Charles Marion Russell (1864– 1926) – American, Romanticism
    • Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) British, Art Nouveau
    • Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) -British, Art Nouveau
    • Henri Matisse (1869– 1954) – French, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism
    • Emily Carr (1871-1945) – Canadian, Post-Impressionism
    • Raoul Dufy (1877– 1953) – French, Post-Impressionism, Cubism
    • Paul Klee (1879-1940) – German/Swiss, Expressionism, Abstract Art, Surrealism
    • André Derain (1880– 1954) – French, Post-Impressionism
    • Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) – Spanish, Cubism
    • Edward Hopper (1882– 1967) – American, New Realism
    • NC Wyeth (1882-1945) – American, Romanticism, Realism
    • Diego Rivera (1886-1957) Mexican
    • Marc Chagall (1887-1985) – French/Jewish – Naive Art
    • Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) – (First Nation painter)
    • Lyubov Popova (1889-1924) Russian avant-garde artist
    • Grant Wood (1892– 1942) – American, Regionalism
    • Norman Rockwell (1894– 1978) – American, Regionalism
    • Wassily Kandinsky (1896-1944) Russian, Expressionism, Abstract Art
    • Ansel Adams (1902-1984) American – Photography
    • Salvador Dali (1904-1989) – Spanish, Surrealism
    • Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) – Mexican, modern folk-artist
    • Maria Primachenko (1908-1997) – Ukrainian, Naive Art
    • Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) – American Pop Art
    • Andy Warhol (1928-1987) – American, Pop Art
    • Fernando Botero (1932- ) – Colombian, Naive Art
    • Thomas Kinkade (1958-2012) – popular realistic, pastoral, and idyllic subjects
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