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Take One Picture

About the scheme

Learn about our countrywide scheme for primary schools which aims to inspire a lifelong love of art and learning

Every year, we take one picture from the collection to inspire cross-curricular work in primary classrooms.

Activities based around the focus paintings happen throughout the year: 

CPD courses 

Our Take One Picture CPD courses offer teachers the opportunity to learn about the focus painting from Gallery experts, to explore it in depth with their peers, and to develop techniques and ideas for using paintings as a resource for curriculum-based learning.

Back in the classroom, teachers introduce the painting to their students and complete a project based on the picture, focusing on a pupil-led approach.

While we do encourage it, teachers do not have to attend a CPD day to submit a project to the annual exhibition. Teachers’ notes about the focus painting are also available online.

Annual exhibition at the National Gallery

Held every summer at the Gallery, the annual Take One Picture exhibition showcases children’s responses to the focus painting. To be considered for an exhibition, schools submit examples of how a class, year group, or whole school used the painting to inspire creative learning across the curriculum. Projects are selected for exhibitions using the following criteria:

  • Investigative approach: Pupil-led research
  • Process: Pupils have the opportunity to learn a new process inspired by the focus painting
  • Cross-curricular learning: The project must link subjects across the curriculum
  • Community: Involving the wider community
  • Focus painting links: All the work submitted must link back to the focus painting.

See examples of the projects included in the previous exhibition.

Local celebrations and exhibitions

As well as submitting work to the annual exhibition at the Gallery, many schools hold their own local celebrations and exhibitions throughout the year. From galleries set up in school halls, to assemblies and special parents’ evenings, the children’s work can be celebrated in a number of different ways.


Each year, CPD days run from October through to April. Schools have until the following October to submit work to the exhibition.

2020 focus painting: George Bellows, Men of the Docks

  • The exhibition of works about this painting is taking place from 16 November 2020 – 31 January 2021
  • Submissions have now closed, but Teachers Notes are available.

2021 focus painting: Paolo Uccello, The Battle of San Romano

  • Submissions for works to be considered for the 2021 exhibition will open from 1 October 2020 until 4 January 2021
  • CPD events about this painting have now finished, but Teachers Notes are available.

2022 focus painting: Orazio Gentileschi, The Finding of Moses

  • CPD events about this painting will take place from October 2020 – April 2021
  • Submissions for works to be considered for the 2022 exhibition will open in October 2021.