The Elements of Art

The goal of this unit is to introduce students to the basic elements of art (color, line, shape, form, and texture) and to show students how artists use these elements in different ways in their work. In the unit, students will answer questions as they look carefully at paintings and sculpture to identify the elements and analyze how they are used by different artists.

Color
Grade Level: K–4

Students will be introduced to one of the basic elements of art—color—through analysis of works of art by Monet, Matisse, and Kandinsky. Class discussion focused on these paintings will help students understand how artists use color to convey atmosphere and mood. They will then test their color expertise by completing a downloadable worksheet and coloring a photograph of Rouen Cathedral.

Line
Grade Level: K–4

Students will be introduced to one of the basic elements of art—line—by analyzing types of lines used in various works of art to help students understand how artists use line to convey movement and mood. They will then create an abstract line art piece based on an activity they enjoy to do or watch.

Shape
Grade Level: K–4

Students will be introduced to one of the basic elements of art—shape—by analyzing the types of shapes used in various works of art to differentiate between geometric and natural shapes. They will then create their own cut paper collage based on a theme they select.

Form
Grade Level: K–4

Students will be introduced to one of the basic elements of art—form—by analyzing the types of forms and materials used in various sculptures. Students will then experiment with line in both two and three dimensions to see how shapes become forms.

Texture
Grade Level: K–4

Students will be introduced to one of the basic elements of art—texture—by identifying different types of textures found in multiple works of art and hypothesize what materials and techniques were used to achieve that texture. Then, they will experiment with a variety of media and materials, including found objects, to create different textures.

Contact

Questions or comments? E-mail us at classroom@nga.gov