Art History 

“A picture is worth a thousand words" - Old Chinese Proverb 


Art History is about the feelings, ideas, and events of different cultures throughout history, recorded by any form of art. By studying art we connect to the past and discover ourselves in the present. 

To me, art history is much like story telling. As thinking human beings we have the need to communicate ideas and feelings.  Art is the universal way of communicating throughout time because when we look at art, it doesn’t matter what language we speak, we can all appreciate and capture its message. 

Some art can make us feel happy, sad or whatever feeling the artist was trying to get across. When we look at artwork that moves us, it is because we think of our  own personal experience, as we connect with the artist’s artwork.  

From pre-historic times, with cave men drawing on cave walls about their environment to modern times, with modern men painting murals in our cities,  people have been telling their stories through art.

Art history is about past events and changes that are made visible to us through the artit's interpretation of what led to these events and ideas.  Perhaps their interpretation would differ from actual history facts but only through our own research can we learn about history.    

One can research past events not only by reading history books, learning about cultures and a particular era, but also by studying the background of the artist, as well as the artwork’s style of painting.     

Children need to be to expose to as many different artists and their artwork, and encouraged to think and talk about what they see and feel. We need to supportively provide the resources and materials they need, and a place where they can do their work. 

Sometimes we can take advantage of normal everyday activities to talk about art with our children. For instance, if someone mentions Leonardo DiCaprio, you can ask them if they know that there was a famous artist named Leonardo.    

If your child does a piece of artwork that resembles a certain artist’s style, you can say it looks like a Kandinsky or Picasso, whatever artist it reminds you and together look more into it. If your child loves flowers, show him or her artwork by Georgia O’Keeffe. 

Children can do on their own research and perhaps even use it for extra credit in school. They can write about their findings and express their ideas through their own artwork, but the most important thing is to have fun exploring art.     





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The Challenge: Here are some Art History Assignments to try. You do one or all of them, just remember that when doing artwork, it’s an expression on how one feels about the subject and it’s OK to mix mediums or styles of art. There is no right or wrong, so there is no need to be afraid of drawing or painting either. Everyone can learn how to draw.

Remember some artists took years to do a single painting and made several changes before the final artwork, so take as much time as you need.

       Portraits Talk   ~    Hero Story   ~   History Events   ~   Art Styles   ~   Stories & Fairy Tales


Here are some helpful resources you may want to check out:

Libraries- there are many biographies on Artist, art history and children’s art projects.

Museums-I must really stress the importance that children should visit museums and see real pieces of art up close. Usually museums have a free day once a month when you can visit and also art docents that can give you a small tour and answer questions.

Art Galleries-You can see art for free, and check out their display areas for post-cards, ceramic items, jewelry or weaving baskets.

Used Book Stores-You can find some good art books and history books.

Magainzes-Specially art magazines that can help you with the wide variety art styles, pictures and techniques.

The Internet-It has tons of information on art and art history. You can probably print some Paintings and make your own mini-gallery.

Photographs-They help us see how people, cities and life was in other periods of time.

Field Trips To Eventful Places-What better way to learn about a significant place than to visit it and see how it has changed through time. Missions and old churches have a lot to say.

Artist Studios-Most artist welcome visitors to their studios and freely talk to you about their artwork and ideas while you watch them at work.

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