Your paintings Uncovering the nation's art collection In association with The Public Catalogue Foundation
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Your Paintings: an art resource for all teachers

Dan Gluckman - Product Lead | 18:00 UK time, Tuesday, 30 August 2011

If you’re a teacher, you can now draw on paintings by nearly 20,000 artists, in a wide range of styles, painted over the last 800 years. Most of the great masters are well represented, with some of their best known works - but also examples of their lesser known paintings.

screenshot of Your Paintings artists index page


For art teachers of all age groups, this makes Your Paintings a valuable teaching resource.

For history teachers, it could be an even richer resource. The UK’s national collection of oil paintings is probably the best pre-photographic visual record of UK history and society.  There are paintings showing everyday life, as well as the great historical events of the last millennium.

There are also paintings that tell us about the physical and human geography of Britain, paintings of costumes and theatrical productions, paintings of (mostly Christian) religious scenes and imagery, even scientific advances. (We haven’t found any good paintings for Maths lessons – but if you’re a Maths teacher, and find something useful, please let us know!)

With the autumn term just beginning, we are planning to publish a series of blog posts by teachers, with ideas for lessons, and links to interesting paintings that will help with classroom teaching.

Here are our first two:

As well as these blog posts, we have guided tours of the paintings on the site, by celebrities, artists and art critics, to bring the stories behind some of the paintings to life. Subjects range from the art of war and Britain in the 20th century, to romance, Shakespeare and Roman and Greek myths and legends. And once the whole collection is digitised, there will be paintings from every part of the UK on the site.

Please let us know what you think of all these resources, ideas you have for others, and any other feedback you have on how we could improve the site to make it work better for you.

(We will be making some improvements to the site in the coming weeks and months. For example, we’ll be improving the search facility.

And we're looking forward to getting the first tags from the Your Paintings Tagger project, being run by our partners, the Public Catalogue Foundation. Your Paintings Tagger asks the general public to add tags to paintings, so that they are easier to find. We’ll be publishing a blog post in the near future, about how Tagger could be incorporated in the classroom).

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