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Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists Tulsa Public Schools-Third Grade Visual Arts Assessment Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists Oklahoma Fine Arts Standard Two: Visual Art History and Culture Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists

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Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists

Tulsa Public Schools-Third Grade Visual Arts Assessment


Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists

Oklahoma Fine Arts Standard Two: Visual Art History and Culture


Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists

Oklahoma Fine Arts Standard Two: Visual Art History and Culture

The student will recognize the development of Visual Art from an historical and cultural perspective through the following:

  • Describe and place a variety of specific significant
  • art objects by artist, style, and historical and
  • cultural context;
  • Identify themes and purposes of works of art and
  • artifacts in history and culture;
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of several fields of
  • art such as painting, sculpture, drawing, computer
  • graphics, printmaking, architecture, and fiber arts;
  • and
  • Identify how visual art is used in today’s world
  • including the popular media of advertising,
  • television, and film.

Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists

You will look at the work of three artists from a long time ago. They painted in the 15th , 16th , and 17th centuries. Their names are Leonardo Da Vinci, El Greco, and Rembrandt Van Rijn.

An Elephant by Leonardo Da Vinci


Introducing the Art Work of Leonardo Da Vinci

Ginerva de’ Benci (1474). Tempera on wood


Leonardo Da Vinci was born in the small Italian town of Vinci in 1452. He kept the name of his town for his own last name.

When he was little, he drew pictures of plants, insects, flowers, animals, and birds. He drew what he saw in the countryside near his home.

He drew during a period time that we call the Renaissance. In Europe during this time, people became interested in art.


Many people say that the backgrounds he painted looked like a world from science fiction or fairy-tales.


You have probably heard people talk about the Mona Lisa. No matter where you

stand, her eyes are looking into your eyes. Do you think her smile is mysterious?


Leonardo was a great artist, but he became famous because he was able to do so many other things too. He was an architect, a musician, sculptor, scientist, inventor, and a mathematician.

He designed beautiful things for churches, bridges, and even whole cities.

He used what he learned from nature and science to make his paintings look real.


When he was a teenager, his father took him to Florence, Italy, to learn about being an artist. It was one of the greatest art cities in Europe.

When he was twenty years old, he helped his teacher finish his paintings.

Da Vinci painted beautiful portraits. He used what he learned about nature and science to make animals and backgrounds (to) look realistic.

It is hard to see a brush mark on his canvas.


Da Vinci ’s greatest work was done for the wall of a dining room that was used by the monks at a church in Milan, Italy.

The special way he placed the men around the table gives them a feeling of movement that had never before been seen.


Today, parts of The Last Supper are hard to see because the paint is

chipping. Leonardo was always experimenting with and making his

own paint. The paint he made for this fresco did not work well.


There is only one Leonardo Da Vinci

painting in the United States. It is in

the National Gallery of Art in

Washington, D. C.

However, many people are still

enjoying his work through books,

posters, and movies.


Domenikos Theotokopoulos was born on the Greek island of Crete in 1541. He traveled to Italy and then to Spain to study art. He was called “El Greco.”


Many of El Greco’s (Spanish for “The Greek”) paintings are based on religious stories from the Bible. People liked to collect these artworks for their churches and homes.

Very few people at this time could read, but they enjoyed the stories that showed scenes from the Bible.


When El Greco first arrived in Spain, he stopped in the city of Toledo. He fell

in love with the city. Do you think he painted it in a mysterious and rugged way?


Light from the stormy, swirling sky seems to make Toledo glow like the surface of the moon. El Greco often included scenes of his favorite city in the backgrounds of other paintings.

Things went well for El Greco in Toledo. Right away, he was asked to make a large painting.

The king of Spain heard about El Greco’s work and asked him to do a painting for his new palace in the nearby city of Madrid.


He used crackling, electric colors, and mysterious

lighting that seemed as if it came from another world.


El Greco was able to create a feeling of wonder or fear or excitement or love in his paintings. He did this by sometimes twisting and stretching out his figures to create movement.

El Greco was one of the first artists to use oil paint. When he worked in Italy, he used watercolors.


El Greco died in his favorite city of Toledo at age 74.

That was very old for that time period.


Today, many people still think of the mysterious and exciting work of El Greco. There are many buildings named after him.


You may see some of El Greco’s paintings in the United States in Chicago, New York, Washington D. C., and Philadelphia.


Introducing the Art Work of Rembrandt Van Rijn

Night Watch (1642). Oil on Canvas


Rembrandt was born in Holland in 1606. He was well known for his use of light and dark paints. His use of dark paint helps him make the light colors stand out. Do you think the light and dark contrasts or values of paint look dramatic?


The Night Watch is one of Rembrandt’s most famous paintings. A group of

soldiers asked him to make a big painting of them all together. He painted them

doing things like marching, playing the drum, and drawing out their swords.


At first they did not like the painting because it was so different. In the past,

everyone else would line up for a portrait. Here some faces are in the shadows.

Those people in the shadows felt like they were not seen as important.


Rembrandt is best known for his paintings of people, but he also did paintings of scenery. These paintings are called landscapes. All landscapes have a foreground, middle ground, and background. Here in the foreground are the small people and the boat. The middle ground is the windmill, and the background is the sky.


Rembrandt lived his life near the city of Amsterdam, Holland. There were many windmills back then. In fact, Rembrandt’s father owned a windmill. Rembrandt probably had lots of fun when he was growing up.


Even though there were no cameras in Rembrandt’s time, we know what he looked like because he was always painting pictures of himself. This painting was done when he was 52 years old.


Sometimes he would use his family members or himself to make a portrait. When you make a portrait of yourself, it is called a “Self Portrait.” Rembrandt painted over 500 pictures; many of which were portraits of rich people, his family, or religious people from Bible stories.


You might ask why people wanted their portraits painted? People did not have cameras then.

Often when people were painted they asked that something important to them be painted into the picture. Sometimes a learned person would hold a book, or a soldier would hold a sword.

What would you put in a portrait of you?


One of the most important things about Rembrandt’s paintings is that he painted people in dramatic settings. Can you just imagine a story to go with this painting?


People today still think of how Rembrandt used white to highlight and call attention to things in his art work.


It’s much better to see a real Rembrandt painting than a picture of one.

The Rembrandt paintings in the United States are in New York, Chicago, Boston, and Washington D.C.


Let’s think about Art

  • If you were to make a drawing or a painting in the style of one of these artists what would you include?
  • Would your background or landscape have a dramatic or mysterious feeling?
  • Would you create a portrait of someone and use darks and lights to emphasize something?
  • If you did a portrait, what personal items would you include so you could tell a story about that person?
  • Think about one of the three artists and make either a portrait or a landscape. The portrait can be a self-portrait.

The End

  • Many thanks to the Visual Arts Assessment Committee:
  • Carole Odierno-Memorial High School
  • Carol Dvorak-Carver Middle School
  • Fran Kallsnick-Byrd Middle School
  • Joe Sizemore-Nimitz Middle School
  • Linda Barnett-Wright Elementary School
  • Janet Gillis-Carnegie Elementary School
  • Janet Lefler-Key Elementary School
  • Ann Tomlins-Fulton