Art History:  Kindergarten Lesson 4

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  ART ALL AROUND -  Art is of All Peoples

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 For thousands of years, artists all around the world have loved horses. Remember that before that before the invention of cars, horses were the fastest and easiest way to travel; they were important to people.

Today we'll look at very ancient pictures of horses and pictures of horses done not so long ago, in this country. Each artist must tell us what is basic about a horse (so we'll know that it's not a cow), but each artist also tells us about his own special experience with horses and in his own way. There are as many different styles or ways of painting as there are different artists in different countries at different times.

Before we begin looking at the pictures, perhaps you can tell me of your experience with horses. Who has been up close to a horse or been able to ride on one? (In the sharing, try to bring out words that describe horses or the child's feelings.) Was the horse calm or lively and jumpy? Was he alert or sleepy? Was the horse big and tall? Did he have smooth glossy skin or was he old and flabby or bony? Did you feel that the horse had lots of energy and he could have run very fast? Artists must think of all these things before they create.

Now we'll look at the pictures and play a sort of game:

  1. All of these, except one, are paintings. Which one is a sculpture? Can you guess what the word sculpture means? (statue). The photograph of the wooden carved horse - this magnificent 6 ft. 11in. carved horse once adorned an early 19th century Hindu gate. notice all the fine work of the horse's ornaments
  2. Can you find the painting with the most action? (Riders of the Dawn) Do you feel the excitement and hard work of herding cattle? Can you feel the heat of the desert? Notice the warm colors and shadows. notice the dust by the hooves and the clothes of the cowboys (chapps)
  3. Which other painting looks very real? (George Stubbs' Mares and Foals.....) Note the mother horses and colts and the calm English countryside (cool, calm colors - lights and shadows on the horses helps them to look more realistic).
  4. Can you find a similar group of horses? Chinese Cave painting. Note the extreme age of this picture and that it was done on the other side of the Earth from England, in China. Note George Stubbs and Chinese Cave Painting similarities: a group of calm horses; cool, green calm in both. Have you ever seen a green horse? Differences: notice the saddles on the older painting. Horses were important to men from early times. (Ask why Chinese painting does not look as realistic. See the flat forms and no background. The horses seem to be floating.)

Pick your own favorite Horse.

NOTE: At Kindergarten level, time and place can only be understood in terms of "all the way around the world" or "across the ocean" or "long ago" or "thousands or hundreds of years ago.)


  1. Hall of Asian Peoples, American Museum of Natural History, Museum Poster.
  2. Riders of the Dawn, 1935, Frank Tenney Johnson, American (1874-1939) Anschutz Collection. Reproduction Print.



    See also Grade 3 Lesson 6 for this Artist and Painting


  3. Mares and Foals in a Wooded Landscape,  1760-1762, George Stubbs, English ( 1724-1806 ) oil on canvas, Tate Gallery, London, Reproduction print.
  4. A Drove of Horses, 619-907 AD, Chinese Cave Painting, Reproduction print.


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