Explore Themes in Art

Explore the common themes that link artworks across time periods in American history. What might a portrait from the 18th century have in common with a 20th century multi-media sculpture? Examining artworks thematically allows for the examination and development of these subjects that transcend historical eras. Themes enable students to understand that certain topics are not wholly obscure and can be as relevant today as they were two hundred years ago. These themes are especially useful for Language Arts educators, who are looking to use an artwork to address a literary theme. Click on a theme to discover the related artworks that address the theme.

Conflict and Adversity

Freedom and Social Change

Heroes and Leaders

Humans and the Environment

Identity

Immigration and Migration

Industry, Invention, and Progress

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