Art History Lesson and Activity for Kids and Homeschool

Jude Barton By Jude Barton, 8th Jun 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Art>History

Art History lesson on the Book of Kells and illuminated manuscript with an activity. This lesson can be integrated into a comprehensive curriculum of history, geography and culture.

The Book of Kells

Art history examines many things besides paintings and sculputre. The history of art includes artifacts and objects and books and cultural expressions of handicraft. The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript created Ca. 800 AD and is held in Kells, Ireland.

Geography and History

These are pictures from the Book of kells. Kells is a town in Ireland where there once was a monastery called the Abbey of Kells. Can you find Ireland and the town of Kells on a map? How long ago was this book created? Do the math. Look at the previous section of the article for your clue. Ca. means circa and it is a latin word for approximately or around. What was going on in the world when this book was created? When was the printing press created? This book was created in the historical period know as Medieval.


This book was hand drawn and lettered by the monks who lived at the abbey. It contains the four Christian Gospels. Look up gospel in the dictionary. What are the four gospels? Because the gospel was so important, the monks wanted it to be exquisitely beautiful. They wanted it to look as if it were created by angels. Notice the intricate design on the pages of these illuminated manuscripts.

Art Activity

Create a page in the style of an illuminated manuscript. A person who adds decoration to a book or manuscript is called an illuminator or a limner. Choose a word, initial or expression to illuminate. It should be something that is meaningful to you. Use graph paper or vellum and very sharp colored pencils or fine tipped colored ink pens. It would also be helpful if you had a compass, a ruler, some templates and a French curve.

For a lesson on art movements see Art History: The "isms"


Art, Art Activity, Art History, Book Of Kells, Geography, History, Home School, Illuminated Manuscript, Ireland, Lesson, Religion

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author avatar Jude Barton
I am an artist, mother, grandmother, Christian and traveler on a wonderful journey of life. My interests are art, art history, world culture, literature, film, children, and all the things that make us tick and tick us off.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
9th Jun 2010 (#)

Dont you just wonder what these artists from the past would do if they could do art on computers?

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author avatar Frank
24th Jun 2010 (#)

Nothing as beautiful as what they did by hand!

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author avatar Jude Barton
9th Jun 2010 (#)

That would be something Mark. Their patience and meticulous detail is astonishing.

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