Gustav Klimt Art History Lesson

This Gustav Klimt lesson plan explores the artist’s work with fun, hands-on, age-appropriate activities.

Whimsical and intricately imagined, the sparkling art of Gustav Klimt ignites the imagination and enhances any unit on Austria, art history, or art nouveau.

Teaching internationally acclaimed art is one of my favorite ways to worldschool at home.  I love using artists from cultures around the world as a framework to explore a unique heritage or region.

Creating a Gustav Klimt Lesson Plan   

Gustav Klimt was an Austrian artist who rose to prominence during the early part of the 20th century.  He is best known for his mosaic techniques, his use of gold leaf, and his depiction of the female form.

When choosing art to share with your homeschoolers, you will quickly note that choosing age-appropriate pieces is important!

Klimt often portrayed women in an unapologetically erotic manner.

However, plenty of his pieces are appropriate even for young children, such as The Kiss and The Tree of Life.

Patterns From Nature

Patterns From Nature: The Art of Gustav Klimt

I began this lesson by reading (affiliate link —->) Patterns From Nature:  The Art of Klimt by Myeong-hwa Yu.

I especially appreciated the author’s incorporation of real paintings from the artist that were both beautiful and age-appropriate, as well as the mindful storytelling.

The Project

Add Gustav Klimt to your homeschool art history lesson plans with these creative ideas.

I love coming up with unique project ideas for art history lessons and this has been one of my favorites so far!

If you’re teaching at the kindergarten or lower elementary level, finding projects that are recognizably related to the artist, but easy enough for small children to do, is a tough challenge.

In this case, I presented my child with the option of using cool colors or warm colors.  This is a great hack when using paint so that the child is free to create unassisted with their own hands, but it doesn’t end up looking like a big, brown mess!

Once the canvas was painted, I used (affiliate link —–>) gold pipe cleaners and showed him how to twirl them into spirals as in the image above.

Super easy and very Klimt!

Other Ideas

There’s so many directions to take this lesson.

Consider any of the following to enrich your child’s learning.

Make Käsespätzle.  When it comes to picky eaters, nothing is more kid-friendly than a batch of Austrian Käsespätzle.  It’s basically fancy mac and cheese.  Check out this recipe and try making it with your kids to bring Klimt’s Austrian heritage to life!

Study other art nouveau artists.  Klimt is considered an art nouveau artist.  Expand on your child’s knowledge of this movement with additional lessons on artists like Alphonse Mucha and Aubrey Beardsley.

Experiment with gold leaf.  Klimt was known for his innovative and liberal usage of gold leaf.  Let kids experiment with this very special art element.  Using gold leaf is easier than you think it is!  Try this kid-friendly gold leaf project for a creative and beautiful way to make art with your child that you’ll actually want to hang on the living room wall instead of the refrigerator!

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