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Ch 1: Early Art History Lesson Plans

About This Chapter

Let these early art history lesson plans help you build out your curriculum and plan class activities. These resources include useful and interesting information on a number of art movements, artists and works of art.

Early Art History Lesson Plans - Chapter Summary

The materials in this chapter form a foundation for comprehensive lessons on art history. You'll find outlines, activities and tools focusing on various art forms, such as early cave paintings, the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages and the great works created during the Renaissance. Lesson plan topics include:

  • Illuminated manuscripts and letters
  • Artists, paintings sculptures and architecture during the Renaissance
  • Gothic art and architecture
  • Art and architecture of the Baroque period
  • Neoclassicism
  • Realism

How It Helps

  • Quality curriculum: Ensures that your lessons on early art history meet key learning outcomes and objectives.
  • Class discussion topics/questions: Provides material about art history, artists and art movements that you can use as topics to stimulate class discussion.
  • Additional resources: Includes lessons and brief quizzes that you can assign to your students during class or for homework.

How It Works

This helpful resource offers teachers lesson plan outlines with relevant tools to make planning lessons on early art history easy.

  • Find lesson plans for specific early art history topics you want to cover in class.
  • Formulate the outline for your classes in early art history using the suggested classroom tools offered in the lesson plans.
  • Share the related early art history lessons for each lesson plan with students in class to make learning fun and engaging.
  • Use related lesson quizzes to ensure your students understand the most important concepts from your lessons on early art history.
  • Engage your students with relevant activities related to early art history, discussion questions or other materials found in the lesson plan outline.

40 Lessons in Chapter 1: Early Art History Lesson Plans
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Cave Painting Lesson Plan

1. Cave Painting Lesson Plan

What can cave drawings tell us? A text lesson provides facts about cave drawings and an activity gives students the chance to create their own version of a cave drawing. Extensions and related lessons may help you continue the discussion.

Cave Painting: History & Pictures

2. Cave Painting: History & Pictures

The earliest known paintings are located in caves across Europe, dating from the Stone Age. Explore the cave paintings and the mystery surrounding why they were painted in this lesson.

Cave Painting Lesson Plan for Elementary School

3. Cave Painting Lesson Plan for Elementary School

What do your students know about cave paintings? This lesson plan uses a text lesson to help answer student questions about cave paintings, has a game to strengthen core knowledge, then uses an activity to apply understanding.

Illuminated Letters Lesson Plan

4. Illuminated Letters Lesson Plan

After this lesson plan, your students may never look at doodling the same way again! After discussing Illuminated Manuscripts, your students will have the chance to create their own.

What Is an Illuminated Manuscript?

5. What Is an Illuminated Manuscript?

Explore the history and techniques behind the illuminated manuscript, and test your understanding of art history, the middle ages, and artistic production.

Illuminated Letters Lesson Plan for Elementary School

6. Illuminated Letters Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Teach your students how books were made before the printing press, focusing on illuminating letters, with this lesson plan. Students will read an informational text, review content with a game, then create their own illuminated text.

Illuminated Letters: Lesson for Kids

7. Illuminated Letters: Lesson for Kids

In this lesson, you'll learn about how books were made before the invention of the printing press, and why these books included some extra-large, colorful letters.

Medieval Art Lesson Plan

8. Medieval Art Lesson Plan

Teachers, this plan provides detailed instructions for a lesson in early medieval art. Students will watch a video, participate in discussion questions, complete a research activity, and take a quiz.

Early Medieval Art & Architecture: Characteristics, Techniques & Famous Works

9. Early Medieval Art & Architecture: Characteristics, Techniques & Famous Works

In this lesson, we will study some of the major forms, techniques, and characteristics of early medieval art and architecture. We will also meet some of the most famous works of art from this period.

Medieval Art History Essay Topics

10. Medieval Art History Essay Topics

Any teacher of secondary and/or post-secondary students enrolled in a world history or art history course should find this lesson useful. This lesson will include essay topics on medieval art history.

Gothic Art Lesson Plan

11. Gothic Art Lesson Plan

What are the hallmarks of Gothic art and architecture? This lesson plan uses two fact-filled video lessons to explain the history and key elements of the Gothic style. An activity allows students to demonstrate what they've learned with a takeaway.

Classical Influences on Gothic Art & Architecture

12. Classical Influences on Gothic Art & Architecture

Although Gothic artwork was created hundreds of years after the fall of Classical civilization in Western Europe, there were still many examples of Classical influences in Gothic design. Learn more about similarities between the two styles.

Social & Economic Influences on Gothic Art & Architecture

13. Social & Economic Influences on Gothic Art & Architecture

The Gothic style redefined medieval Europe, but where did it come from? In this lesson, we'll explore some of the major influences that helped create the Gothic movement.

Renaissance Art: Artists, Paintings, Sculptures & Architecture

14. Renaissance Art: Artists, Paintings, Sculptures & Architecture

In this lesson, we will be discussing Renaissance art, focusing primarily on paintings, sculptures, and architecture. We will also be learning how humanism affected the art of this time period.

Mona Lisa Lesson Plan

15. Mona Lisa Lesson Plan

They've probably seen it, but what do your students really know about the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci? This lesson plan uses an engaging video lesson to explain key points and a hands-on activity to help connect students with the classic painting.

The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci: History, Facts & Location

16. The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci: History, Facts & Location

This lesson discusses the history of the one of the world's most famous paintings, the Mona Lisa. Learn more about Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece and then test your knowledge with a quiz.

Mona Lisa Lesson Plan for Elementary School

17. Mona Lisa Lesson Plan for Elementary School

What is so unique about the Mona Lisa and who is the artist who created this masterpiece? This lesson plan uses a text lesson to highlight key facts about the Mona Lisa. An activity connects students to their inner da Vinci.

Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man Lesson Plan

18. Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan to introduce Leonardo Da Vinci's The Vitruvian Man. Students will read about the history of this piece, work with the golden ratio, and perform a hands-on experiment related to The Vitruvian Man.

Da Vinci's The Vitruvian Man: History & Golden Ratio

19. Da Vinci's The Vitruvian Man: History & Golden Ratio

Leonardo da Vinci's image of the Vitruvian Man is an iconic symbol of human proportions. Learn the origin of this piece of work, the theories behind it, and its relationship with the golden ratio.

Baroque Art Lesson Plan

20. Baroque Art Lesson Plan

The Baroque style of art and architecture stands out as one of the most appealing throughout history. This lesson plan uses two video lessons and an activity to teach students the ins and outs of the Baroque style.

Baroque Art & Architecture

21. Baroque Art & Architecture

In this lesson, we will explore Baroque art, architecture and sculpture, and how both the technique and focus of Baroque pieces differed significantly from previous periods.

Baroque Painting: Style, Characteristics & Artists

22. Baroque Painting: Style, Characteristics & Artists

This lesson covers the development of Baroque painting as it spread across Europe. We explore the works of Caravaggio in Italy, Velazquez in Spain, Rubens in Belgium, Lorrain in France and Rembrandt in Holland.

Baroque Art History Essay Topics

23. Baroque Art History Essay Topics

Beautiful works of art once used to teach church dogma will come to life with essay prompts about Baroque art history. Take your students on a journey through time using works of art, research, and writing.

Neoclassicism Lesson Plan

24. Neoclassicism Lesson Plan

What are the hallmarks of Neoclassicism? This lesson plan uses two informative video lessons to explain this to students. An activity provides the opportunity for deeper analysis.

Neoclassical Art: Characteristics, Materials & Famous Works

25. Neoclassical Art: Characteristics, Materials & Famous Works

Neoclassical art was a major trend that demonstrated how old styles could be re-imagined for modern audiences. Explore this artistic movement, and test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Roman Inspiration in Neoclassical Painting, Sculpture & Architecture

26. Roman Inspiration in Neoclassical Painting, Sculpture & Architecture

In this lesson you will explore the similarities and differences in three types of neoclassical art including, painting, sculpture, and architecture, and see how each was inspired by ancient Rome. Then, test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Realism in Art Lesson Plan

27. Realism in Art Lesson Plan

What qualifies a work of art as a piece of Realism? This text lesson uses an entertaining and informative video lesson and an activity to teach students key facts about Realism.

Comparing Realism in Literature & Art

28. Comparing Realism in Literature & Art

Explore works of visual art and literature made in the style of 19th century realism. Learn about key painters and authors who aimed at creating realistic depictions of the world through their art.

Lithography Lesson Plan

29. Lithography Lesson Plan

With this lesson plan, we can help our students to understand the basic process behind lithography and discover some of the great works of 19th-century lithography. An activity can help to further this lesson by adding fun.

Lithography: Process & Famous Works

30. Lithography: Process & Famous Works

Learn about the invention of lithography and its impact on the 19th century art world. Discover innovations in art production and reception in 'fin de siecle' France by Edgar Degas, Toulouse Lautrec and Alphonse Mucha.

Byzantine Empire Mosaics Lesson Plan

31. Byzantine Empire Mosaics Lesson Plan

This lesson plan uses a couple of mini-activities, a large activity, an extension, a quiz, and discussion questions to teach your students about Byzantine art.

Byzantine Art: Mosaics, History & Characteristics

32. Byzantine Art: Mosaics, History & Characteristics

This lesson covers Byzantine art and explains the difficulties of imposing artistic periods. Justinian is introduced as the man behind the Byzantine Golden Age. We explore the interesting dynamic between Byzantine imperialism and Christian religion. Finally, we take a brief look at eastern religious icons.

Byzantine Art Lesson Plan

33. Byzantine Art Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan to teach your students about art of the Byzantine world. Two engaging videos describe art, architecture and mosaics along with their history and characteristics. Students apply content to activities.

Byzantine Art & Architecture

34. Byzantine Art & Architecture

In this lesson, you will explore the rich art and architecture of the powerful Byzantine Empire, centered in Constantinople. Then, test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Aztec Sun Art Lesson Plan

35. Aztec Sun Art Lesson Plan

With this lesson plan, students learn more about Aztec Sun art, specifically the Aztec Sun Stone. Students are encouraged to make real-world connections and think critically throughout the lesson plan.

Aztec Sun: Symbol, Meaning & Design

36. Aztec Sun: Symbol, Meaning & Design

In this lesson, explore one of the most important sculptures from the Aztec culture: the Sun Stone. Learn about the deity shown on the central disk, what each of the surrounding four squares represents, and three rings on the outskirts of the stone.

Silhouette Painting Lesson Plan

37. Silhouette Painting Lesson Plan

Teach your students the basics of silhouette painting with this lesson plan. Students will read an informational text describing the genre and prominent artists, play a comprehension game, then work on perfecting the art themselves.

Silhouette Painting: Techniques & Artists

38. Silhouette Painting: Techniques & Artists

Have you ever seen yourself in profile? Can you make artwork based on a person's profile? In this lesson, learn how to do silhouette painting and be introduced to a few famous silhouette artists.

Renaissance Art Lesson Plan

39. Renaissance Art Lesson Plan

Add a punch to your instruction on Renaissance art as you help students bring out their inner-most Michelangelo and Da Vinci. Take it a step further if you wish with suggestions for supplementary activities and related lessons.

Art History & Appreciation Activities for High School

40. Art History & Appreciation Activities for High School

Are you interested in educating your students about art history and appreciation? The following hands-on activities will allow them to enhance their book learning as they cooperate in groups to learn new concepts.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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