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The Qualities of Great Art


PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973) 'Guernica', 1937 (oil on canvas)

PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
'Detail of Guernica', 1937 (oil on canvas)

Art Appreciation is the knowledge and understanding of the universal and timeless qualities that identify all great art. The more you appreciate and understand the art of different eras, movements, styles and techniques, the better you can develop, evaluate and improve your own artwork.

Each of our units below examines famous works of art and explores what makes them the masterpieces we appreciate today.

Art Movements

Art Movements are the collective titles that are given to artworks which share the same artistic ideas, style, technical approach or time frame. They are a historical convenience for grouping together artists of a common period, style or technique so that they may be more easily understood. Art Movements are usually named retrospectively by art critics or historians and their titles are often witty or sarcastic nicknames pulled from a bad review.

Art History Timelines

Our Art History Timelines offer a brief explanation of the most important movements and styles in their historical order. They also list the major artists and illustrate a key work from each movement.

The Visual Elements of Art

A knowledge of the visual elements of art helps you to understand how artworks are created. It will assist you in breaking an artwork down to its component parts so that you may appreciate the skill and imagination that the artist has used in composing it. Our pages explore the individual qualites of each visual element - line - shape - tone - color - pattern - texture - form and how artists use them to express their ideas.

Our Visual Elements Worksheet will help you to ask the right questions to decipher an artwork and our Visual Elements Word Bank will help you with the appropriate artistic language to express your opinion of it.

Portrait Artists

Portraits express the beauty, status, power, wealth or character of their subjects. Artists use a wide range of media for portraiture, including drawing, printing, painting, sculpture, photography and multimedia.

Still Life Artists

Still Life is the drawing and painting of items such as fruit, flowers and household objects, which are usually arranged on a table top or shelf. Over the centuries artists have chosen to paint still life objects for their symbolism, abstract qualities or simply their visual beauty.

Landscape Artists

Our Landscapes gallery celebrates artwork from around the world based on the built environment. It displays famous paintings of towns and buildings that have inspired artists to share their feelings about the surroundings we have constructed for ourselves.

Animals in Art

Animals in Art have always been a popular subject. They are often depicted for their natural beauty and majesty, or as mythical or symbolic beasts. Sometimes they are portrayed as the hunter's prey, prize livestock, or more sentimentally as domestic pets.

Graphic Designers

Graphic Designers create visual solutions to sell or communicate the concept of a product, campaign or event. Their work includes illustration, typography, posters, packaging, corporate identities, advertising campaigns, web design and digital multimedia.

Art Quizzes

Artyfactory's Art Quiz page offers you one way to test your knowledge and demonstrate what you know about art and design. Each quiz is designed as an aid to study and can be used in combination with our art and design lessons.

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'Starry Night', (1889) by Vincent Van Gogh.

'Starry Night', (1889) by Vincent Van Gogh.



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