Looking and Responding to
Art in the Primary School
I retired as Principal of Breaffy National School,
Castlebar, Co. Mayo in 1998. This project arises from my
experience of teaching art and art appreciation in the
Primary School, now known as looking and responding to
I have a strong belief that no matter how we approach art
in the Primary School, some background knowledge of the
lives and works of the great artists can only prove
beneficial and an inspiration in our work as teachers. This
is what I have tried to provide in a simplified manner in
chapters 1 to 11 of the book. Children could also research
further information on artists over the internet. Chapter 12
deals specifically with looking and responding to art.
Throughout the review I emphasise the importance of a verbal
response. As follow-up activities, I also occasionally
suggest an additional response in creative writing or in
practical art activities.
Teachers who may be interested in a particular artist or
art movement are at liberty to download an individual
chapter and adapt it for use with a particular age group.
Chapter 12 could be used for continual reference.
Chapter 13 deals with ideas for a visit to an art gallery
with children (specifically for a visit to the Impressionist
exhibition on the opening of the millennium wing of the
National Gallery of Ireland). The ideas here can be adapted
for any age group and for any exhibition. Chapter 14 is
concerned with one possible approach to practical art,
together with a selection of images of children's art from
Breaffy N. S.
You can download the various chapters of this book as PDF
files from the following links:
ACCESSING THE IMAGES
Museum Web Sites
A selection of images is available throughout the text.
Most of the images in this project can be accessed through
the various museum web sites. I have included the names of
all the museums where the images are located. In most cases,
an image can be accessed through a web search engine by
typing the title of the painting and the artist's name, eg,
'Impression Sunrise' by Claude Monet, 'The Scream' by Edvard
Posters of most art works can be purchased over the
internet. The National Gallery of Ireland has a selection of
posters of the works of Jack Yeats. Some posters are also
available from the Hugh Lane Gallery of Modern Art,
In addition I would recommend the following reasonably
priced books through which most of the images used in this
project can be accessed. Monet, Renoir and the
Impressionist Landscape, available from the National
Gallery of Ireland; Monet, John House, Phaidon,
Oxford; Renoir, Peter H. Feist, Taschen; Jean-
Francois Millet, Yale University Press, London; Van
Gough (Masterworks series), Nathaniel Harris, Parragon;
Munch, John Boulton Smith, Phaidon; Expressionism,
Dietmar Elger, Taschen; Edward Hopper, Rolf Gunter Renner,
Taschen; Caspar David Friedrich, Helmut Borsch-Supan,
Prestel; Images in Yeats-Jack B Yeats, The National
Gallery of Ireland 1990; Jack B Yeats in the National
Gallery of Ireland, Hilary Pyle, The National Gallery of
Ireland; Nancy Wynne-Jones at Eighty, Brian Fallon,
Gandon Editions; Martin Gale Paintings, Nissan Art
Project, Royal Hibernian Academy, Ely Place, Dublin.
Tom Higgins, Currach, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, Ireland. 2007.