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An alphabet book about art and art movements

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By Hannah Posner

M is for Mona Lisa

             An art alphabet 

A is for American Gothic

In 1930, Grant Wood used his sister and dentist as models for his painting, American Gothic. They were to be a father and his daughter. Wood traveled to Europe between 1920 and 1926 and learned about a type of art called Flemish Renaissance. This inspired his style. When returning to Iowa, he was appreciative of Midwestern traditions and culture. Now, the famous American Gothic is in the Art Institute of Chicago.

A a

Farmhouse behind them

They look mean

Pointy pitchfork

Trees of green                                                                   

B is for Birth of Venus 

The Birth Of Venus, completed in 1486 by Sandro Botticelli, shows not only Venus but several gods. Venus, who is the goddess of love, stands in the seashell. She is being blown to the shore by the god of the west wind, Zephyr. There is an Aura, a nymph of the wind, or Chloris, a nymph of the spring and flowers like the ones in the picture. This painting was meant to hang in a bedroom.


Giant seashell

Beautiful flowers

A sea in the background

Godly powers

C is for Campbell's Soup Cans

In 1962, Campbell’s soup had 32 flavors. This inspired Andy Warhol to make 32 separate canvases each with a painting of a large soup can. Each one represents a different flavor. They are arranged in the order the soups were introduced. The very first flavor was tomato. 


32 Campbell's Soups

Soup of Tomatoes

Made in 1962

Soup of Potatoes

This very famous statue was made in 1501-1504 but was recovered very recently in 2003-2004. David is now located in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy. He weighs a booming 12,478.12 pounds of marble! There are copies of Michelangelo's David outdoors in Florence. David is an interpretation of a biblical hero who defeated a giant called Goliath. Who knows how much marble Goliath would weigh?     


D is for David

The famous renaissance sculpture

Standing high at 14 feet

Perfect curls of hair

Shiny marble feet

E is for Expressionism

Expressionism presents the world from a different perspective. The artist seeks to portray emotions and responses within a person. He/she achieves this by exaggerating and creating fantasy. Expressionism was one of the main forms of art in the 19th and 20th centuries. It has a wide range of artists and movements. 


Mix-matched colors

Hear a scream

Melted fantasy

Like a dream

F is for Flower Carrier

A man struggles in carrying an enormous basket of flowers on his back in Diego Rivera’s, The Flower Carrier. A woman, probably his wife, is trying to help him out. The flowers are so vibrant and beautiful, but the man never notices their beauty because he’s concentrating on selling or exchanging them. The colors Rivera uses are bright and bold. This makes everything really stand out.


A heavy load 

A yellow strap

Beautiful flowers

Can’t be done in a snap

Johannes Vermeer painted Girl With A Pearl Earring in 1665. There might have been a model, but her identity is unknown. It could have been Vermeer’s eldest daughter who posed in the beautiful pearl earring for him. Pearls show up in eight of Vermeer’s paintings. But this one may not have actually been a pearl, because no pearl is that large. It was likely glass formed to look like a pearl. It is also possible that Vermeer only imagined it.  

G is for Girl with a Pearl Earring


Beautiful lady

Alone in the dark

It’s the 16th century

Her earring makes a mark


Pieter Bruegel’s Hunters In the Snow, painted in 1565, is a winter world filled with life. It shows a snow-covered hill sloping down into glorious mountains in the distance. Three hunters are coming back with their dogs. Beside them is an inn with a fire out front. Below the hill and mountains is a frozen lake dotted with skaters. There is no place in the Netherlands that looks just like this. It’s a combined image inspired by many landscapes.

H is for Hunters in the Snow

Snow covered mountains

A pack of tired dogs 

Bare black winter trees

Blue-gray fog

I is for Impression Sunrise


Claude Monet created Impression Sunrise from a scene in the port of Le Havre, a French harbor. Mysterious ships sail through the misty sea. The bright orange sun stands out. Monet claimed, “ It really can’t pass as a view of Le Havre”. He did not desire to produce an accurate landscape. Instead, he wished to create an impression of the sunrise at Le Havre.

Small black boats

Sparkling sea

Setting sun

A sight to see


J is for A Sunday afternoon on the island of la    Grande Jatte  

Georges Seurat was a master at pointillism. Every single part of this famous painting is made of many tiny dots. The dots are primary colors- red, blue, and yellow. But mixed together they display secondary colors. Seurat was inspired to pick up pointillism by impressionism art.

Look up close at this

Crowded park

There are thousands of dots

And many dogs bark


The Great Wave Of Kanagawa is a woodblock print constructed in 1829-1832. The creative Japanese artist was Katsushika Hokusai. The Great Wave Of Kanagawa is a very recognizable picture of a giant wave crashing down on three boats filled with sailors. Mount Fuji stands in the background of the chaos. The Great Wave of Kanagawa is part of a series called 36 Views Of Mount Fuji.  

K is for the Great wave of Kanagawa

Raging waves

Crash and slam

White-blue water

Wham ka bam

L is for The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is the first thing many people view when immigrating to the U.S. But what people don’t usually know that she was originally called “Liberty Enlightening The World”. Or that Edouard de Laboulaye first thought of the idea. Ten years later, sculpture Frederic Auguste Bartholdi put the vision to life by designing Lady Liberty. America and France both had issues with funding. The statue itself was a gift from France, mostly paid for by French citizens. But the stone pedestal was made in America, and newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer ran a fundraising drive to make the money.


Who's a green copper lady,

with a bright yellow torch,

and famous spiky crown?

That’s Lady Liberty, of course!

Between 1503-1519, Leonardo Da Vinci painted his most famous masterpiece, a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo. He was producing it for her husband, Francesco del Giocondo. Since 1797, the Mona Lisa has been located at the Louvre in Paris. So why is it called “Mona Lisa”? “Mona” in Italian means my lady, so in English this portrait is called “My Lady Lisa”.

M is for Mona Lisa


Lisa del Giocondo

Sitting on her chair

Famous for her smile

Captured right there


N is for Nighthawks

Edward Hopper was an American who painted Nighthawks in 1942. The location was inspired by a restaurant in New York. In the picture it reads Phillies. He never painted an entrance to the mysterious diner, yet four people are inside. They each seem to be in their own worlds. This expresses isolation and loneliness.

Lonely street

Late at night

Shining diner

Glowing bright

Optical art, also known as op art, is an abstract movement that uses optical illusions to trick your eye. “Optical” means relating to things we see. Artists use patterns and lines, usually in black and white. There is also colorful op art. This started around 1965, were as the first op art was in the 1930s. Using color, the artist will pick contrasting shades to help create an illusion.

O is for Optical Art


Your eyes will seem to buzz

When you look at art called op

Eye-tricking illusions

Color really makes it pop!  

P is for Persistence of Memory


P is for Persistence of Memory

Salvador Dali lived in Catalonia, Spain. He based the landscape of the sea on the cliffs in his home region. Dali placed ants and clocks in a location you wouldn’t quite think of seeing them in. This is called surrealism. The large blob in the center is a deformed nose and eye. The Persistence Of Memory is a very creative and unusual piece of art.

Beside the sea

Melting clocks

Interesting blob

Tickety tock


Q is for Qajar Art

Qajar art is the art and architecture of the Qajar Dynasty in the late Persian Empire, which lasted from 1781-1925. Qajar portraits were not supposed to be realistic. Instead, they acted as icons of power. Dark, rich colors and heroic poses communicated this power. There were life size paintings in many areas of the Qajar palaces.The early Qajars took oil painting to a new level when they came into power. These paintings were a big part of their architecture and lifestyle.  

Fancy clothes

Pretty jewels

Elaborate patterns

Obey their rules


R is for Romanticism and Realism

Realism and Romanticism were two opposite art movements. Realism was when artists pictured the subject truthfully. It began in France in the 1850s, just after the revolution in 1848. Realists disliked the riveling art movement called romanticism. Romanticism emphasised imagination and feelings. It showed up in French literature and art, starting in the 1770s.

Horses and men

Green fantasies

Looks just as it is

Look at the tall trees


S is for Starry Night

The Starry Night, an oil on canvas painting by Vincent Van Gogh, was created in June of 1889. Vincent Van Gogh was a depressed man who cut of his own ear in the year before! He produced more than 2,000 oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and sketches along with Starry Night. None of Van Gogh’s paintings were famous until after his death.  

Bright golden moon

See the swirls

White yellow blue

Paint the whirls

T is for The Thinker


The Thinker was created in 1880 and originally called The Poet. Some believe this was because he was supposed to be the famous poet Dante. The Thinker was once in a committee of statues that surrounded a doorway called The Gates of Hell.  He went on his own in 1888. Auguste Robin was inspired to sculpt The Thinker by Michelangelo’s work, such as David. The Thinker has been replicated several times so he can think all over the world.

Forever in thought

His hand on his chin

He’s over life-size

With blue-ish skin


Ukiyo-e is a Japanese art movement. “Ukiyo” means floating world. This type of art started in the 17th century and lasted through the 19th. Ukiyo-e artists created woodblock prints. These featured models, actors, wrestlers, or historic events.        

There are four steps to making a woodblock print. First, you should plan out your design on a piece of paper. Then, purchase a wooden block to carve it into. After your design has been carved into the block, apply colored ink to it. Lastly, press sheets of paper on the wood to print out your design. Congratulations, you are now a Ukiyo-e artist! 

U is for Ukiyo-e

It’s snowing on the water

A boat leads the way

Because of so much fog

I’m unsure, is it night or day?

What happened to the Venus de Milo’s arms? It’s a popular question, but there is no exact answer to this mystery. Long ago, Alexandros of Antioch created the statue. It’s arms could have been doing anything. He added a stone base saying that he was the creator of the statue (that’s how we know he crafted it). On April 8th, 1820, the Venus de Milo was rediscovered by Olivier Voutier on a farm on the island of Milos. One theory is that Voutier had a fight for the statue with Turkish sailors and the arms were ripped off in the process. Others think only one arm was there when she was found. Relatives of the man who owned the farm say that this arm, the left one, was holding an apple.  

V is for Venus de Milo


Detailed tall statue

Missing it’s arms

She stares into space

Dug up on a farm

W is for Water Lilies


Water Lilies is a series of about 250 paintings of the flower garden in Claude Monet’s home in Giverny. Not everyone loved his art at first. Critics called it messy. They suggested that Monet’s vision was blurring. These people sneered at him and rejected his color palate. But Monet continued with his work and it is very much enjoyed today.

Swirling colors

Yellow, green and red

Pretty flowers

On a water bed


X is for Xylography

Xylography is a technique where an image is carved into a piece of wood. Using a chisel, you form white areas. A chisel is like a knife; it is a hand tool with a cutting edge. After carving, a roller is used to roll ink onto the wood. Xylography can have colorful or plain inks. This ancient method was created in 1440, then replaced with the printing press.

Elaborate designs 

Carved into wood

Use many colors,

You could

Y is for Young Man With A Cap


Vincent Van Gogh painted this boy in December 1888. He used a technique where one color dominates the entire painting. In this case, the color is yellow. The boy’s pasty yellow skin matches the background of the portrait. For an impressive contrast, he added blue to the boy’s hat.  

Green suit

Dominating yellow

A strike of blue

The boy looks mellow


Z is for Group Zero

Group Zero was an innovative German artist group from the 1950s. They were inspired by other post-war artists from their time. Zero wanted to form a new kind of art. They created kinetic light art, which involves light and movement. Zero definitely accomplished their goal to make unique art that stands out.

German artists

Using dashes of light

Interesting art

It’s truly a sight



Venus de Milo

150 BC

Girl with a Pearl Earring













17th-19th centuries

Impression Sunrise


Birth Of Venus


Optical Art







Qajar Dynasty

1785 to 1925



Statue of Liberty


American Gothic






Venus de Milo (discovered)


A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande


Persistence of Memory


Mona Lisa






Young Man with a Cap




Xylography in Europe


Flower Carrier






Starry Night


Great Wave of Kanagawa





Hunters in the Snow




The Thinker



Water Lilies



Campbell's Soup Cans