The School of Athens by Raphael
Exposing students to great pieces of art is an easy way to enhance a lesson, provide a visual way to practice a skill, and educate our students beyond the prescribed curriculum.
For example, if you’re teaching students to “compare and contrast,” open with a couple of interesting works of art then move to the text.
Here are links to some great works that you might use to spice up a lesson. I’ve tried to err on the side of “school appropriate” when building this collection and almost all are in the public domain (Picasso’s work is one exception).
Naturally, it’s a work in progress. Feel free to shoot me some suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or @IanAByrd.
Table of Contents
- Van Gogh
- Da Vinci
- Japanese Art
- Other Examples
- Reader Roundup
- St. George and the Dragon
- Portrait of Pope Julius II
- One of Raphael’s works of architecture: Chigi Chapel
- The School of Athens
- The Last Supper
- Mona Lisa
- Self Portrait
- Study of a horse (Kids should see that Da Vinci spent time practicing and studying before creating a final piece)
- Three Musicians Example of Cubism
- The Old Guitarist From the Blue Period
- The Actor From Picasso’s Rose Period
- Monet’s Haystacks
- Monet’s Water Lilies
- Pissarro’s Children on a Farm
- Degas’ Dancers at the Bar
- Renoir’s Dance at the Moulin de la Galette
- Hiroshige’s Man On Horseback Crossing A Bridge
- Hiroshige’s Great Bridge, Sudden Shower (Van Gogh replicated this painting here).
- Kanō Eitoku’s Cypress Tree
- Hokusai’s Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, of which The Great Wave Off Kanagawa is the most famous.
- Tawaraya Sotasu’s Wind God and Thunder God
- Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory
- Lichtenstein’s Bedroom at Arles
- Munch’s The Scream
- El Greco’s View of Toledo
- Caravaggio’s The Calling of St. Matthew
- Matisse’s Luxe, Calme et Volupté
- Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ram’s Head White Hollyhock and Little Hills
- René Magritte’s The Son of Man – A great example of surrealism
- Norman Rockwell’s Freedom from Want
- Grant Wood’s American Gothic
- Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks
- Winslow Homer’s Breezing Up
- Vassily Kandinksy’s Circles in a Circle
I asked for more examples of classics folks use in their classrooms and got a dozen or so responses. They were so cool I wanted to catalog them here:
- Kimberly @heart4GTkids – Norman Rockwell art for 20th-century lessons
- Casey @mrswikewcsd One the kids enjoy is American Progress, (1872) by John Gast. I reveal the image 1 part at a time from R to L!
- Nicole @nhewitt15 My favorite work to use is Vivaldi’s Four Seasons–very versatile in the classroom for a variety of projects!
- Wanda @WGatcomb My students enjoyed discussing how Bradbury’s The Pedestrian is linked to Fahrenheit 451 as well as Mildred’s motives and more.
- Aicia @Alitig1 I love to teach All Summer in a Day and tie it into an anti-bullying rally call and introducing my sci-fi unit.
- Mrs. Green AIG @MrsGreenAIG Though not a classic to some, I use “Martin” by @zacbrownband to teach metaphors and personification.
- Amy @aboxberger Thank You, Ma’am by Langston Hughes
- Tanya @tgottlich “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel. Write a year in review song to this tune.
- Julie @TheJulieSouth I love using Letter from a Birmingham Jail. So many lessons and ways to analyze
- Janice @janicekollar My favorite primary source doc is Jefferson’s secret message to congress! Great discussion piece
- Mark @markbrittmusic1 My students have been loving using a parachute to learn musical form using ‘Overture to William Tell‘. We also discuss plot.
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