Perspective in art: teaching ideas and resources round-up

By Rachel Hayward | 08 November 2010
Detail from the National Gallery Canaletto painting The Grand Canal with San Simeone Piccolo and the Scalzi showing Venice and gondoliers on the Grand Canal
Canaletto (1697–1768), The Grand Canal with San Simeone Piccolo and the Scalzi, about 1740, NG0163© National Gallery, London
If you’re teaching perspective in art or want to help your children understand how perspective works in landscape paintings, then look no further because we’ve got a round-up of free, online resources from the UK’s museums and galleries.

The National Gallery
With the amazing Canaletto exhibition currently on at the National Gallery (until January 16, 2011) in London, it’s a great opportunity to explore perspective in art. Even if you can’t get to the National Gallery, you can zoom into Canalettos in their online collection.

The National Gallery also has a useful Learning section on its website with Teachers’ Notes. Here you’ll find a primary, school cross-curricular resource on Canaletto’s The Stonemason’s Yard.

The Museum Network
The Bowes Museum, Compton Verney, the Holburne Museum, Waddesdon Manor and the Wallace Collection have come together to create the online: Museum Network with wonderful educational resources.

We particularly recommend their Landscapes in Art section, including its interactives on aerial, linear and conceptual perspective. It’s aimed at pupils in key stages 3 and 4 but we can see the resources being suitable for use in the primary classroom.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, or BM&AG as it’s also known, has more for you on perspective. Go to Learning about Landscapes which is located in the Art Gallery of the BM&AG for Kids website. It’s aimed at key stages 1 and 2 and has great, pupil-friendly text and visuals such as the refreshing simplicity of the way in which the vanishing point is explained.

There are interactives on the horizon line and linear and aerial perspective and your pupils can create their own landscape too.