This is a list of my art lesson plans, arranged historically by art period or movement.
You can find a full list of Art Periods and Movements here. It includes a description of each period and a list of the most famous artists from that period.
Ancient Period (prior to 800 BC)
- Lines and Shapes in Prehistoric Art: Learn about cave paintings and rock art as we learn about the basics of drawing and the Elements of Art.
- Drawing King Tut’s Mask Using Symmetry: Learn about symmetry while learning about Egyptian art and drawing the sarcophagus of King Tut.
Classical Greek/Roman Period (800BC – 400AD)
- Drawing Greek Gods Using Upside-Down Drill: Learn more about the “Upside Down” drawing drill and use it to recreate the art from a rare piece of Greek pottery: Dionysus’ Cup.
- Drawing the Parthenon using Linear Perspective. Learn about the mathematically-based skill of linear perspective (1 or 2 point) and use it to draw the famous Greek Parthenon.
Medieval Period (400 – 1350)
- Abstract Celtic Art: Learn about the intricate patterns of Celtic / Insular art and recreate a simple version of the Celtic Knot.
- Illuminated Manuscripts: Learn about the Medieval art of creating illuminated manuscripts and create your own by drawing your choice of patterns, figures, plants and animals!
- Circular Art (Mandalas): Learn about the rich history of mandalas and circular art throughout time, but with mostly Medieval examples. This lesson also looks at Radial Symmetry seen in nature, making a great science tie-in.
Renaissance Period (1350 – 1600)
- Drawing Clothing with Giotto: Learn about how this Gothic-era artist ushered in the techniques of the Renaissance in his paintings of figures in the Arena Chapel. Then practice drawing and painting clothing like Giotto, the Father of Renaissance Art.
- Ghiberti and the Gate of Paradise: Learn about this child prodigy who created relief sculptures that Michelangelo later called “Gates of Paradise.” Then create your own clay relief using air-dry clay or homemade clay.
- Understanding Foreshortening with Angelico: Learn about this humble artist and his beautiful, realistic depiction of Biblical scenes. Then practice drawing and painting people using the technique of foreshortening.
- Creating Prints like Durer: Learn about Renaissance artist Durer and his amazing stamp-like wood blocks. Create a “stamp” of your own using a simple pencil and foam.
- Sculpting with Michelangelo: Learn about the creator of the Sistine Chapel and the Pieta. Then make your own clay bust using air-dry or homemade clay.
- Creating Value like El Greco (Post Renaissance): Learn about this imaginative Post-Renaissance artist who resisted the trend to paint accurate portrayals of people and nature, ushering in the brief Mannerist period. Study the strange light sources in his paintings, portrayed through a variety of value (lights and darks) and then practice shading to create value in your own art.
Baroque Period (1600 – 1750)
- Drawing Facial Expressions Like Rembrandt (Dutch Baroque) Meet the Baroque painter, Rembrandt, while learning about drawing facial expressions
- Painting Landscapes Like Gainsborough (Late English Baroque) Learn about Britain’s most famous portrait painter and the art of landscapes!
Neoclassicism / Neoclassical Period (1750 – 1800)
- Drawing Botanicals like Linnaeus (currently being revised): Learn about Carl Linnaeus, the Father of Taxonomy, and how he used detailed, realistic illustrations in his scientific research on plants.
Romantic Period (1800 – 1850)
- (coming soon)
Realistic Period (1850 – 1900 or 1940s)
Folk Art (No specific Dates)
- Remembering Like Grandma Moses: Learn about Grandma Moses, Folk Art, Emphasis, and Focal Point
American Regionalism (1930s-1940s)
- Making a Statement with Grant Wood’s American Gothic: Learn about Grant Wood, his iconic painting American Gothic, and the genre of American Regionalism
- Illustrating Like Norman Rockwell: Learn about the art of Illustrations, the iconic art of Norman Rockwell and how to draw the human form
- Painting with Neutral Colors Like Andrew Wyeth: Learn about Wyeth, Color Theory, and Neutral Colors
Modern Period- chaotic (1850 or 1900 – 1960s)
- Painting in Tones Like O’Keeffe: Learn about O’Keeffe, the Mother of American Modernism, while learning about Value, also known as Tone
- Capturing Action Like Degas: Learn about Degas while learning about drawing people in action
- Plein-Air Painting like Monet: Learn about Claude Monet while learning about plein air painting
- Creating Texture like Morisot: Learn about Berthe Morisot while you create texture using thick paint
Post Impressionism (1886-1905)
- Creating Movement like Van Gogh: Learn about Vincent van Gogh and create a work of art with the principle of “movement.”
- Creating Cubist Art like Picasso: Learn about Pablo Picasso and create a work of Cubist art
Contemporary Period (1960s – current)
Pop Art: (1955- 1979)
- Using Color like Andy Warhol: Learn about American artist Andy Warhol while taking in an introduction to Color Theory
- Painting with Primary Colors Like Roy Lichtenstein: Learn about Roy Lichtenstein, Ben-Day dots, Color Theory & Contrast
Op Art (1960s)
- Tricking the Eye with Op Art: Learn about Op Art artists Victor Vasarely, Joseph Albers, and Bridget Riley while learning about perspective using optical illusions.
While these lesson plans aren’t about artists who hold a specific place in Art History, they could also be worked into a chronological study of history.
- Creating Cartoons Like Jim Davis Lesson Plan: Learn about Jim Davis (1945-present), the creator of the Garfield comics, personification, and cartoon art
- Audubon’s Scientific Illustrations with Upside-Down Drawing: Practice the Upside-down drawing drill while learning about the famous artist, Audubon (1755-1851)
- Creating Rhythm in Abstract Art with Fibonacci: Learn about Fibonacci’s (lived in the 1100s) famous number sequence, see how it’s been used in art and architecture throughout history, and create your own abstract art using the Fibonacci number sequence