Artist Study Tips

Before you show the print:
Ask the children if they know the artist. If not, tell them the name and write it on a dry erase board in large letters. Have the children repeat the artist’s name after listening to your pronunciation. Have the children look for the signature on the print.

Tell the artist's nationality and where he lived (use a map or globe). Tell the children if he was
married, and how many children he had. If information is available and appropriate, tell how he died. Children usually ask for this. Remember personal tidbits bring the artist to life.

A detailed biography is too boring for the students - tell unusual facts about the artist's life, work and personality. They will remember Michelangelo when they remember that he painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling while lying on his back. They will remember Van Gogh when they remember that he cut off his ear.

Place the artist in history, using historic events that children know. "He was painting this picture when Columbus was discovering America."

Remember to compare and contrast this artist to other artists

When showing the print:
For a little drama, drape a large dark piece of cloth over the painting while discussing the
artist's background. When it is finally removed with a flourish, the children sense a special

Permit them to enjoy looking at the picture before continuing.

Ask the students to guess what they think is the title of the painting. They really enjoy this at any age and often come up with the exact title.

Ask the students some of the following questions:
What medium did the artist use - oil, watercolor, pencil, etc.?
What is the focal point of the painting? (Where did the artist want the
viewer to look and how did he accomplish this?)
What feeling do they get from looking at this picture?
Do they like the painting? Why? or Why not?
How do the colors used affect the painting?
When was it painted?
What was happening in the world or in the artist's life while it was being painted?
What type of painting is it? Landscape, still life, or portrait?
What do the costumes tell us?
Is there a theme taken from history, mythology or religion?
Have them narrate what they saw without looking at the picture.

*some of these ideas came from
The School Board of Broward County, Florida