Italian Art: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Italy is a European country famous for outstanding works of art. In this lesson, discover Italian artists who have created famous paintings, sculptures and other artistic creations.

Country of Tesori

Italy is full of tesori. This means treasures, and there are some you may have experienced. You've probably eaten Italian food (who doesn't love spaghetti or pizza?), and seen famous Italian landmarks, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It's very likely you've seen Italian artwork as well - Italy is famous for its rich art history and talented artists. Let's explore the history and types of Italian artwork.

Through the Ages

The wealthy that lived in ancient Roman civilization were fortunate enough to display paintings in their homes, mainly early works focused on the country's history. They were often landscapes or portraits, pictures of people, who were wealthy or powerful at the time.

From the 1300s to the 1600s, Italy went through a period called the Renaissance. This was a period of gathering knowledge and thinking independently. During this time, artists were excited to experiment with new styles and techniques. Perhaps you have heard of one of the most famous pieces created during the Renaissance? The portrait of Mona Lisa was created by Leonardo da Vinci, and her mysterious smile still intrigues people today.

The Mona Lisa, by Italian artist da Vinci, is on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris

Art in Italy has continued to experience change. A style of art called 'futurism' emerged in the early 1900s. Kind of strange that a futuristic art form started over one hundred years ago! Futurists were amazed at changes in technology and the building and growth of cities. Imagine how they would feel about technology in this century!


A type of artwork commonly found in Italy is a fresco. Frescoes are large murals, which are large works painted on walls of buildings. What makes a fresco special is that it is painted on walls that have wet plaster. When the paint mixes with the wet plaster, it actually makes the painting become a part of the wall.

Fresco painting was very popular during the Renaissance period, so there are many famous frescoes in Italy. Perhaps the most famous frescoes are found in the Sistine Chapel. During the Renaissance, Michelangelo painted several murals in this Catholic landmark, including one on the ceiling.

Another famous Renaissance painter was Raphael. He created many famous works, but one of his most impressive is a fresco called 'The School of Athens'. Remember, the Renaissance was a time to celebrate knowledge, so Raphael was sure to include the respected philosophers Aristotle and Plato in this work.

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