Patterns In Art

Art represents decorative arrangement of natural or imagined forms. Artists use color, motif, form, light, shadow, and dimension to construct works of art.

Sample some of the following activities to learn more about patterns in art.


Places To Go    People To See    Things To Do    Teacher Resources    Bibliography

Places To Go

The following are places to go (some real and some virtual) to find out about artistic patterns.

Cave Art-Altamira
From the art that ancient peoples left behind, learn about their cultures and civilizations.
The Cave of Lascaux
A virtual visit of the cave whose paintings reveal exceptional skills magdalenian artists.
National Gallery of Art: M. C. Escher
Wander the four virtual rooms at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC devoted to the art of M. C. Escher.
Navajo Rugs
Travel to the southwestern United States and learn about the art of Navajo rugs.
Saharan Rock Art
Rock art indicates that there has been human habitation in the Sahara from 8,000 B.P.
Symmetry and Pattern: The Art of Oriental Carpets
Visit the oriental carpet gallery and discover how symmetry and are used in classic rug designs. Be sure to check out the educational resources section for some great student activities.

Back to Top


People To See

The Architect Who Transformed London
Green spaces, parks, and gardens often enhance the atmosphere of cities and towns. John Nash was a designer of beautiful, formal gardens and parks in London. Compare these formal types of European parks to famous parks, such as Central Park, in the United States. Central Park was designed by Frederick L. Olmsted and Calvert Vaux
Constellation Guide
See Orion and Cassiopeia and Scorpius. They all have constellations named after them. From ancient times, people have imagined pictures and shapes and forms in the patterns of stars.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Building
Become acquainted with Frank Lloyd Wright and discover his inspiration for the unique spiral pattern of the famous Guggenheim Museum which he designed.
Museums of the USA
Visit with the curators of art museums throughout the United States to view interesting patterns in art.
Romanesque Architecture
Become acquainted with the people of the middle ages. The Romanesque architecture of the middle ages was characterized by patterns of rounded arches, massive pillars, thick walls, and enormous buttresses.
Pop Art
Spend time with some of the icons of pop art who specialized in bold patterns, forms, ideas, and concepts. Pop art refers to art that focuses on popular culture.
Spiral Jetty
Introduce yourself to Robert Smithson who designed one of the largest artistic patterns in Utah – the Spiral Jetty.
Surrealism in art reflected the world of dreams and of the unconscious mind. Get to know some of the Surrealistic artists like Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, and Henri Rousseau and learn how their art reflected the patterns of their dreams.

Back to Top


Things To Do

Frieze Patterns in Cast Iron
A frieze pattern is any strip pattern that repeats itself in some way. Check out the series of photographs available on this site that illustrate how these various patterns have been incorporated into cast iron designs.
How to Make Ukrainian Easter Eggs
Haven't you always wondered how Ukrainian Easter eggs were made? This page tells you everything you need to know about the basics of making pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs). Click on any design and you'll be taken to the instructions for it.
Kirigami is the Japanese art of folding and cutting paper. This online program lets you create similar figures on your computer by cutting a polygonal wedge from a virtual piece of folded paper.
Kaleidoscope Painter
Paint your own kaleidoscope canvas with this applet. Just drag the mouse slowly around the canvas and let the computer show your artistic talents.
The Manufacturing Process for United States Coins
Find out about the of ridges on the edges of dimes and why they are part of the design of many coins.
Stones of England
Experience the standing stones of England and study their to learn about ancient cultures. These monoliths in England such as Stonehenge are the most well known, but other cultures raised standing stones as well---Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, Italy.

Back to Top


Teacher Resources

Back to Top



  • Booth, Eric. The Everyday Work of Art: Awakening the Extraordinary in Your Daily Life. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks, 1999.
  •  Davidson, Rosemary. Take a Look: An Introduction to the Experience of Art. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Viking, 1994.
  • Grimshaw, Caroline. Making Art. Chicago, Ill.: World Book in association with Two-Can, 1998.
  • Isaacson, Philip M.   A Short Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art. New York: Alfred A. Knopf: Distributed by Random House, Inc., c1993.