There are 10 units in this resource that explore the life and work of 10 artists that left significant
marks on art history. Each unit is completely self-contained, but completing them in order is
suggested because it helps the student understand some of the periods in art history.
Each lesson has short, informative text followed by comprehension questions based on what
The student can read the lesson text (or a parent/teacher can read it aloud) and use the
notebooking page that is included for written narration, using the questions as writing prompts.
This often works better for students who struggle with reading comprehension questions.
Alternatively, you can ask the questions orally if that suits your student’s learning style best.
Suggested vocabulary words are bolded. You can have your student look up the definitions and
use them to create a notebook. Students can also find suggested definitions for the words in
the glossary at the end of the unit.
In addition to reading comprehension questions, each lesson is followed by prompts for
additional research and a notebooking page to record what is found. A final review quiz and
notebooking page for a report on the student’s favorite artist are also included at the end of the
You will find answer keys for all reading comprehension questions and the review quiz at the
end of the resource. Answer keys for the additional research are not included as much of these
answers will vary based on the sources used for research.
Important Note: The study of art is valuable and important, but it must be done carefully
and with parental oversight and guidance, especially related to the subject matter and
nudity contained in some classic works.
In addition, please use caution in having your students research the lives of the artists
and use age-appropriate resources, as some of the artists had events in their lives that
are sometimes described in terms that may be inappropriate for younger students.
We have tons of FREE resources on Homeschool Giveaways & Freebies that you can use to
enhance and deepen your artist studies. We’ve highlighted some of them here for you.
Famous Artists Cheat Sheets
Famous Artists Notebooking Research Journal
Resources About Famous Painters and Sculptors
Periods of Art History Resources
15 Museums You Can Visit From Home
Printables and Resources About John James Audubon
Audubon Birds Notebooking Journal
Hands-On Activities for Studying the Renaissance (da Vinci and Michelangelo)
Famous Artist Study Series: Leonardo da Vinci
Printables and Resources About Leonardo da Vinci
Famous Artist Study Series: Michelangelo
Famous Artist Study Series: John James Audubon
Famous Artist Study Series: Claude Monet
Famous Artist Study Series: Mary Cassatt
Famous Artist Study Series: Vincent Van Gogh
Famous Artist Study Series: Pablo Picasso
Famous Artist Study Series: Norman Rockwell
Birding Notebook: Take your study of John James Audubon deeper by exploring the world of
birds he found so fascinating! Using the Birding Notebook alongside Audubon Birding Adventures
For Kids (sold separately) you will learn about 25 birds as well as their habitats, beaks, feathers,
and much more. Document your birding activities for your notebook and portfolio and use the
journal pages for a birdwalk.
Would it surprise you to learn that art is part of our everyday lives? Even if you don’t look at a
painting everyday or stare at beautiful sculptures, you’ve been touched by art. Did you have
cereal for breakfast? Someone designed what you see on the cereal box. Did you watch
anything on a television, computer, or phone screen? Someone designed what you saw. It’s all
art. We’re going to look at the lives of ten famous artists who made a big impact on the world of
art, even though they lived before electronic devices were popular, and some even lived before
cereal boxes as we think of them today!
Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452, in what is now the country of Italy. It’s hard to overstate the impact he had on art and the world. He used a variety of artistic mediums to create masterpieces that are still studied today.
Da Vinci is one of the most famous leaders of the Renaissance. The Renaissance, which comes from a word that means “rebirth,” was a movement and a time period that began in the late 1300s in Italy, spread to other countries, and ended in the 1600s. It was a time when scholars studied the work of the ancient Greeks and Romans and drew inspiration from it. In this way, they revived it and gave it a rebirth.
In da Vinci’s day, there were somewhat independent areas of Italy called city-states. The village of Vinci was part of the city-state of Florence. Since Leonardo was from Vinci or a place very nearby, he was called “da Vinci,” or “from Vinci.”
Two of his paintings are some of the most famous works of art in the world. It is thought that he painted The Last Supper between 1495 and 1498. It shows Jesus and the disciples sharing a meal right before His crucifixion. Da Vinci carefully painted each of the disciples in a unique way to show the wide range of emotions and thoughts they may have been having at that time.
It is uncertain who posed for the iconic painting called Mona Lisa. It is an oil painting painted between 1503 and 1519. Much about the painting was groundbreaking. The position she is sitting in, which is a common position for a portrait today, was different than what was common then. The folds of her clothes and the curls of her hair capture incredible detail, and the shape and contour of her face shows da Vinci’s knowledge of the structure of the bones and muscles beneath the skin. Both paintings are not just examples of his skill as an artist but his brilliance in seeing things no one had seen before and communicating them in a way that we continue to be inspired by today.
Not only was da Vinci a great artist, he was also a draftsman, architect, engineer, and scientist. He designed artillery and fortresses, created a system of canal locks and revolving stages used in performances, sculpted, drew detailed drawings of the human body, studied light, and even designed tanks and machine guns. He was fascinated with flight and designed a type of helicopter. He also sketched his art and his ideas in notebooks, which wasn’t a common practice in his day. These sketches have left us with an invaluable history of his work and ideas. He died in 1519 at the age of 67 in France while working for the king.
1. What is the name of the movement and time period da Vinci was born during? ______________