The Qualities of Great Art

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.

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.
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.
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 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.


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 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 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.


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

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