Skip to main content

Take One Picture

Issued May 2015

5 June – 20 September 2015
Annenberg Court (Getty Entrance)
Admission free

Children from across England will have their work showcased at the National Gallery this summer in the 20th annual 'Take One Picture'.

Bartolomé Bermejo, Saint Michael triumphant over the Devil with the Donor Antonio Juan, 1468

Each year the National Gallery invites hundreds of primary schools from across the UK to use one of its paintings as the stimulus for learning right across the curriculum. For 2015, Bartolomé Bermejo’s Saint Michael Triumphant over the Devil (1468) was the source of inspiration selected.

From drawing to collage and metalwork, the diverse range of works on show reflects the richness of creative responses to the painting. Shape and size, light and dark, good versus evil were just some of the themes explored by the children.

'Saint Michael Triumphant over the Devil', which is on display in Room 63, depicts Saint Michael wielding his sword and defeating a dramatically painted devil with glowing red eyes. Saint Michael was the archangel who led God’s army against the rebel angels led by Lucifer and cast them out of heaven. Taken from the Book of Revelation, this episode caught the medieval imagination and became a popular subject for artists. In paintings Saint Michael is often shown in armour and defeating the devil in the form of a dragon. In Bermejo’s interpretation, the reflection of the holy city of Jerusalem is visible on Saint Michael’s golden breastplate.

Pupils from Northern House School in Oxford were particularly inspired by the narrative of good versus evil and created a composite image of each pupils ‘avatar’, or alter-ego, some superhero-like and others echoing the composite forms found in the painting. Working with an artist-in-residence, they created these images using iPad art. Many of the pupils found the use of the iPads very enabling, as Jack, aged 10, explains:

“I really enjoyed learning to use the iPad to produce my drawing of a superhero. I liked being able to delete any mistakes. It gave me the confidence to take risks and play around with different colours and effects.”

Leamington Federation of Sydenham Primary School and Lighthorne Heath Primary School (Warwickshire) got the entire school involved in exploring the painting. They interpreted Bermejo’s narrative of Saint Michael and the devil as a battle and used this idea as part of their ‘Big Writing’ literacy work, which resulted in some fantastic creative writing that can be seen in the digital display. They also worked across year groups to create a hand-bound book of the pupil’s responses to the painting. The book is a brilliant example of the creative art skills that the pupils developed as part of the process, such as felting, batik, sewing and marbling. The children also experimented with old typewriters, incorporating elements of their narratives of Saint Michael and the devil to create their final mixed-media work.

Gill Hart, Head of Education at the National Gallery, says:

“'Take One Picture' exemplifies the importance of the arts in education, and demonstrates the value of providing memorable experiences and creative opportunities for children’s learning. By transforming a painting from a two-dimensional object to a three-dimensional experience, you can’t fail to look at the painting differently. Our aim is that the pictures will continue to inspire the children throughout their lives.”

Take One Picture is generously supported by The Dorset Foundation, The Tavolozza Foundation and Christoph Henkel.

The schools represented in the 2015 display are:

  • Clayesmore Preparatory School, Dorset
  • Columbia Primary School, London
  • Gawber Primary School, Barnsley
  • Grimes Dyke Primary School, Leeds
  • Huish Episcopi School, Somerset
  • Hull Collegiate School, Hull
  • King Edward’s Junior School, Bath
  • Leamington Federation of Sydenham Primary School and Lighthorne Heath Primary School, Warwickshire
  • Moreton Hall School, Shropshire
  • Myatt Garden Primary School, London
  • Northern House School, Oxford
  • Olney Infant Academy, Buckinghamshire
  • St James’s Catholic Primary School, London
  • William Barnes Primary School, Dorset
  • Ysgol Gynradd Creigiau Primary School, Cardiff

There is also a slideshow on display in the exhibition containing work for a further 33 schools.


About Take One Picture

Launched in 1995, ‘Take One Picture’ is the National Gallery’s countrywide scheme for primary schools. Each year the Gallery focuses on one painting from the collection to inspire cross-curricular work in primary classrooms. As part of a one-day Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course at the Gallery, teachers are given a print of a painting. The challenge is then for schools to use the image imaginatively in the classroom, both as a stimulus for artwork, and for work in more unexpected curriculum areas.

Each year a display of work produced by schools based on the painting is shown at the National Gallery, and a selection is published on the Take One Picture website. In order to be considered for the display, schools submit examples of how a whole class or school has used the picture in a cross-curricular way to the Gallery’s Education Department by a set date.

About Bartolomé Bermejo

Bermejo's real name was Bartolomé de Cardenas, but he was known by his nickname 'Bermejo' meaning red, which suggests that he was red-haired or ruddy-faced. He was probably born in Córdoba in southern Spain in the 1430s and worked in Valencia, Zaragoza, and Barcelona.

His proficiency in the use of the oil-painting technique suggests that he may have trained in the Netherlands. Some twenty or so works by him survive. He is recognised as the greatest painter of 15th-century Spain.

Dates and opening hours

Open to the public: 5 June – 20 September 2015
Daily 10am-6pm, Fridays until 9pm
Admission free

For press information please contact / 020 7747 2865

For public enquiries please contact 020 7747 2885 or