Fun Facts Roundup: Art History Edition

3 Min Read  •  Arts Integration

Did you know that Vincent Van Gogh only sold 1 painting in his lifetime? Now he is one of the most recognizable artists throughout the world! I wonder how that would have changed his life. Let’s discover more art history edition of all time.

Art History Edition Fun Facts

I love sharing interesting, fun facts about artists and specific artworks when introducing them to students.  Not only does it make them memorable but it can act as a hook to get students to investigate more on their own.

Grant Wood

Wood painted one of the most recognizable works of a farmer and his daughter standing in front of an old farmhouse titled American Gothic. Wood’s sister, Nan and his 62-year-old dentist were the models for this painting.

Pablo Picasso

Picasso loved animals. He had a pet monkey, an owl, a goat, a turtle and packs of dogs and cats. His first word was pencil and his real name is 23 words long! Pablo Picasso was considered a suspect in the theft of Mona Lisa in 1911. He was arrested and questioned, but later cleared and released.

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci was a vegetarian and animal rights activist, he would buy caged birds and set them free. He also never received a formal education. He learned instead by observing nature. Filling journals with inventions, sketches, and studies, Leonardo da Vinci wrote from right to left and mirrored in a way that was unique.

Claude Monet’s

Monet‘s father wanted him to be a grocer instead of a painter. Known for his water lily paintings, Monet supposedly hired 6 full-time employees to tend to his gardens. It was rumored that he had people paddle through the water and clean each of the lily pads before he began painting.

Salvador Dali

Dali was convinced that he was a reincarnation of his older brother who had died 9 months before he was born. He once gave a speech in a scuba suit and showed up to an event in a Rolls-Royce filled with cauliflower.   

Georgia O’Keeffe

O’Keeffe customized her car so that she should paint inside her Model-A Ford instead of in the desert sun. Though she is known for her close-up artworks of flowers, they only make up approximately 200 of her more than 2,000 paintings.

Mary Cassatt

Cassatt advocated for her own learning. When she was in school, women were not treated fairly and women artists were not taken seriously. After her frustration grew, she decided to leave and hire a private teacher. Her persistence was a constant trait throughout her life and yielding work that we still recognize today.

Artist Fun Fact Links:

Art History Edition Fun Fact Links:

Sharing facts about a specific artist or artwork is a quick way to spark student interest before a lesson or as a supplement to another content area. Artists throughout history have provided us with so much material that we can bring into our classrooms.