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Secondary schools: Talking Paintings tours

Themed tours delivered by Gallery Educators

Key Stages 3-5

Available sessions

Our onsite Talking Paintings tours will resume from September 2021. 

Please see our available sessions below and book online.

Key Stages 3-5

Art through history: Renaissance, Baroque, The Dutch Golden Age, or Impressionism
Students will be given an overview of their chosen period which will place it in the context of the wider history of art and help make connections across time. By looking at a small number of paintings in depth, they will explore the style, themes, materials and techniques of the time and how the art of the period fits into broader social and political developments.
General introduction
Students will be introduced to the richness of the nation’s, and therefore their collection. They will practise their observational and visual literacy skills by focusing on three paintings from across the gallery.
History through art
The National Gallery represents a slice of history (Western European History, 1250–1912), and paintings can be a good and useful record of a different time and place – such as Renaissance paintings, for example. The materials artists had available and as a result, the way paintings look, can tell us about changing times. For example, portraits can show us how wealth, power, and status were understood and conveyed, at different times, places and political contexts; changes in fashion and etiquettes can be explored as well as the effects of significant cultural and technological changes such as the coming of the railways and photography.
Materials, techniques, and processes
Students spend time exploring different materials and processes that are used in the making of paintings, and their different properties. A specialist educator will investigate visually with your students how artists create, for example, perspective, pattern, colour and light.
Myths and legends
Students explore a selection of myths and legends through the visual language of paintings and gain more of an understanding of the genre. Specialist educators will encourage students to express their opinions and ideas about the stories explored. These narratives never fail to engage young people. They can be a good way of encouraging looking at paintings, but specific links can also be made for students studying Homer and Virgil.
Religion in art
Students will consider how religious narratives can be represented in paintings – particularly in the comparison of two treatments of the same subject (e.g. The Annunciation). Pupils will be guided in thinking about how artists represent moral ideas in Christian art – ideas of good and bad behaviour, the demands of family, sacrifice and duty. Sessions may act as a general investigation or focus on particular festivals such as Christmas or Easter.
Still life, Landscape, or Portraiture
Students will explore chosen genre across the periods covered by the collection, looking at how it has been approached by different artists. Gallery educators will guide them through the key elements of composition in either Still life, Landscape or Portraiture, encouraging comparisons of style and technique.
Techniques for visual analysis
This session searches through the collection finding hidden symbols in paintings. Specialist educators guide pupils in looking for clues and making connections between objects in the paintings explored. Students develop their visual literacy whilst building their confidence in describing and discussing what they see.
  • We require a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice of date and a time frame for your session to be provided in the booking form
  • For each group of 10-30 pupils, we require the lead teacher’s name, email address and mobile number.

For online sessions, we require 24 hours' notice of any cancellations. Late cancellations will incur a charge. 

Please contact us at schoolbookings@ng-london.org.uk if you need to cancel your session. 

All of the above themes can be adapted for SEND groups. Please contact us at schoolbookings@ng-london.org.uk for more information about how we can meet your group’s needs.

Please specify in the booking form if your students have special or additional needs.

All of the above themes can be adapted for overseas groups. 

Cost for overseas groups: £75–100 per group.

Cancellation policy
: Please let us know if you need to cancel 21 days prior to your session. Please note, cancellations made with less than 21 days’ notice are non-refundable.