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One aspect of the new Uk Primary curriculum that has changed from the old one is the greater emphasis on studying the work of other artists. Of course, this has always been a feature of art, but the new curriculum places much more emphasis on your pupils looking at, appreciating and enjoying art, craft, design and architecture. As I've said on other pages on this site, I passionately believe that children should be taught how to look at art for pleasure and learn to enjoy the simple act of enjoying art. This isn't some fancy, clever, intellectual process, it's just as straight forward as showing art images and talking about them with no expectation to like anything.

To do this effectively of course they need to have a good understanding of visual literacy and be able to use the correct terminology of art. Hopefully these exercises will help. For further guidance on how to teach the language of art view the art teacher's handbook!

Primary K-6 Art History

50 artists Primary K-6 pupils should know (plus ancient/cave art)

Famous Western Artists Primary K-6 pupils should know. By this I mean that they should have seen images by these artists and remember key details about when and where they lived. These artists could support work done in other subject areas.

All dates are approximate. It is not suggested that Primary K-6 students should know every artist on this list, but rather that they should know and understand the main movements and how art has changed. There is a great activity I have written that does this called my art timeline game which is available to download free. There are also too many brilliant artists not mentioned here that I have omitted to keep things simple. By the time we get to Contemporary art you can pretty much choose what you like!

Palaeolithic Art - Prehistory

Cave art, engravings and carvings dating from 50,000BCE to around 10,000BCE


Ancient Art - approx 8,000 BCE to 5th Century AD

Ancient civilisations: Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Chinese, Celtic


Medieval Gothic - 6th Century AD to 15th Century

1. Hieronymus Bosch, 2. St. Catherine of Bologna (f), 3. Illuminated Manuscripts

Renaissance - 15th Century AD to 17th Century

4. Bruegel, 5. Leonardo Da Vinci, 6. Michelangelo, 7. Raphael, 8. Durer, 9. Lucia Anguissola (f)


Realism - 17th Century to 19th Century

10. Rembrandt, 11. Caravaggio, 12. Gentileschi (f), 13. Vermeer, 14. Turner, 15. Goya,

16. John Constable, 17. Louise Moillon (f)

Impressionism (and post Impressionism) - 19th Century to 20th Century

18. Renoir, 19. Monet, 20. Degas, 21. Van Gogh, 22. Seurat, 23. Mary Cassat (f), 24. Hokusai

Abstract  - 20th Century

25. Picasso, 26. Henri Matisse, 27. Jackson Pollock, 28. Mark Rothko, 29. Gustav Klimt,

30. Piet Mondrian, 31. Kandinsky, 32. Klee, 33. Henry Moore, 34. Barbara Hepworth (f) 35. Hilma af Klint (f)

Surrealism - 20th Century

36. Salvador Dali, 37. Rene Magritte,

Not tied to a movement: 38. Georgia O'Keeffe (f) 39. Frida Kahlo (f)

Pop Art - 20th Century

 40. Andy Warhol, 41. Roy Lichtenstein, 42. Peter Blake, 43. Klaus Oldenburg, 44. Bridget Riley (f)

Contemporary - 20th to 21st Century

45. Damien Hirst, 46. Cornelia Parker (f), 47. Jeff Koons, 48. Banksy, 49. Yayoi Kusama (f), 50. Grayson Perry

art history knowledge in art

Body Language

Make stuffy old paintings fun again by interpreting them through body language. Great fun.

Free to Download

art history knowledge in art

Describing Art

All ages

This exercise can be a great literacy activity and is excellent fun too! 

Free to Download

art history knowledge in art

Art Timeline

Teach the whole history of art in one lesson with a fun game.This is a great group activity


Free to Download

art fact finder

Fact Finder

Help to focus your students research on the important areasso they gather meaningful information.

Free to Download

Fabulous websites
arty crafty studio

Arty Crafty is a great blog run by an artist and educator. It is well worth checking out!


Colossol is a daily source of inspiration with some superb contemporary artwork. 

Art UK Your Paintings

Art UK has some great images of the nation's paintings and cross-curricular links full of inspiration and ideas.

I love Inspiration Green! As a passionate environmentalist this site is rich with content, art and ideas. 

Wikipedia art reference sources

Wiki schools is a great reference site to help you find paintings for use in the classroom. 

Starbeck art resources

Starbecks for art resources such as silk flowers, seed pods, fossils, sea shells, skulls, insects, masks and a lot more

Tate Kids

Tate Kids is an awesome art education site. Watch videos, play games & upload your pupil's art.

Google art project

Google Art Project is just out of this world. It helps you to look at art in incredible detail. One for the iPad methinks!

Access art

Access Arts is a UK charity specialising in art resources for all ages this is a brilliant low cost site 

Culture street art ideas

Culture Street has so much excellent content, for all of the arts and has tutorial videos, lesson plans and loads of other content.

Youtube art ideas lesson plans

Mr P's video channel has loads of excellent art lessons for younger children done in Mr P's unique style! I promise you, you will never forget Mr P!

Art blogs ideas lesson plans

Imagination Tree is a super blog written by a UK Primary teacher specialising in early years and art. This is a great place for ideas.

art lesson plans ideas

Teaching Palette is run by art educators from the USA who discuss education issues, lesson resources new technology and Apps

Consultancy Service

As an NSEAD registered art consultant, I offer a friendly, professional art consultancy service to schools, from early years right through to Secondary GCSE. I've worked with infant schools to improve art assessment, delivered primary school CPD on skills and progression, worked with Subject Leaders to raise attainment and done whole school, secondary art department audits including formal lesson observations and department reviews. My over-arching strategy is to support the professional development of hard working professionals with positive and constructive advice for improvement.

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Training Courses

Please follow the link to see my latest CPD teacher training courses. If you can't see any that suits your needs, why don't you arrange for a bespoke in-school service?

Art consultancy art INSET CPD