15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (2023)

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Sylvie de Soye15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (1)showed me how effective card games can be in getting children interested in art history. This inspired me to make a list of them for you (and selfishly for myself too!).

Art history card games can be divided into:

  • Games about famous paintingswith:
    • Matching rules (reminder, spinster) likecloseup art,Modern art memory gameAndDitto American art.
    • Family-based rules (Go Fish, Happy Family) like those of Birdcage PressGo Fish Art Games(4 different games)
    • Modern rules like the original and cleverFamous art heist
  • Games about famous artists and movements:Battle of Titianallows "War" to be played during this timeManifest!is a family gameMy big art exhibitiona rummy game,Art Snapa simple matching game andVan Gogh deck of cardsis a family game.
  • Art history knowledge games:Art by Brainboxis a very accessible game based on memorizing facts and details of paintingsart historyby Professor Noggin is a quiz game that requires deep knowledge of art history (best suited for school).

If you are more interested in other types of history games, you can do sojump right here.

Now let's go into more detail about each of these games. I'm sure you're impatient to learn more about her!

5 decks of cards about famous paintings

Art History Matching Games

Close Up Art Card Game MoMA (Birdcage Press)

15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (2)

This game15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (3)can be played not only as Memory like AMMO's "modern Art Memory Game" but also as "Old Maid" (much better for older kids) and with two more matching rules. This is because the cards are regular "vertical" cards (not square cards) and are therefore easy to hold in hand.

The game contains 48 playing cards (24 works of art) from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The cards are well designed and intelligently the cards to pair are different:

  • The first card shows the painting with the artist's name, the name of the painting and the date it was made.
  • The second map shows the painting in the full size of the map

So I highly recommend this game, which is both cheap and well designed.

Birdcage Press also had a "Close Up" featuring artwork from the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston, but unfortunately this game is now out of print and appears to be discontinued.

Modern Art Memory Game (AMMO)

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The "Modern art memory game15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (5)' has 72 cards featuring 36 paintings (twice each since it's a memory game) by 36 famous artists such as Warhol, Munch, Matisse, Picasso, van Gogh, Kandinsky and more.

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There is also a booklet with the name of the artist, the piece and the year it was made. Since the memory game is for very young children, another rule is suggested, based on earning points for remembering facts behind each piece of art.

I recommend this memory game for families with small children (kindergarten or preschool) because it is not too expensive and the quality of the cards is good.

But there's a really missed opportunity to make a game that could also be interesting from a teacher's point of view, by beefing up the information in the booklet accompanying each painting. It would have been so much better to have more facts to make the second rule more worthwhile.

Another disappointment is that the artworks are not numbered, making them difficult to locate in the booklet.

Dito American Art (Birdcage Press)

15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (6)

Ditto American art15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (7)is a classic memory game, just likeModern art memory gameby AMMO. It has 48 art tiles (24 artworks) and 8 large cards. So this game is good for kindergarten preschool (3 to 5 years old).

One interesting thing is that it's the only game in the ones listed here that focuses on American art.

Art Games “Go Fish” (Birdcage Press)

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These games are very cheap and well made. I highly recommend them. Each of them features:

  • 36 cards, each with a different artwork (if only there were more cards per deck!)
  • A 30+ page booklet with well designed and interesting information about the artists and the art movements involved.

Playing cards are organized into multiple families (to play Go Fish or Happy Families), one for each artist, art movement, or art information.

Note: This is not your default Go Fish rule. There are no sets of identical cards, but families of cards. You collect cards in families to win, so it's more like Happy Families than Go Fish.

Birdgage Press has 4 such games:

  • for Renaissance artists15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (9)with 6 families: Botticelli, Raphaël, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Fra Angelico, "Renaissance Art is..." (Religious Themes, Born in Italy, Inspired by Ancient Greece, Invisible Brushstrokes, Peculiar Colors, Triangular Compositions)
  • for impressionist artists15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (10)mit 8 Familien: Degas, Renoir, Monet, Caillebotte, Cassatt, Manet, Pissarro, Morisot
  • for Van Gogh and his friends15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (11)with Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Cézanne, Rousseau and Seurat
  • for ancient Egypt15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (12)with mummies, afterlife, goddesses, symbols, gods and pharaohs. This is also a great game as little kids love to learn about ancient Egypt.

Other game mechanics

Famous Looted Art (Culture Master)

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I love it "Famous art heist15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (14)” game because the theme is such an original and fun way to engage with great paintings. It contains 32 cards, each about a famous painting that was stolen. They have the following information on their face:

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  • The museum where it was stolen
  • The painting itself
  • When the artwork was completed and stolen
  • The longest side of the artwork
  • its value
  • The popularity of the artist

You will be shocked by the number of great works of art that were once stolen including works by da Vinci, Monet, Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Goya, van Eyck, Turner, Corot, Degas, Cézanne, Pissarro, Manet, van Gogh, Caravaggio and Velazquez.

5 decks of cards about famous artists and art movements

Battle of Titian (Laurence King Publishing)

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Battle of Titian15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (16)has 32 cards with classic masters like Titian, Rembrandt, Caravaggio etc. This game allows to playKriegwith painters using one or more of the 6 traits on the cards: influence, versatility, innovation, critical reception, the "beautiful" factor, highest price (each between 0 and 100, except for the price of course).

Note: I use a personal twist on the rule that makes the game more engaging (in my experience). Each player (on their turn) draws the top card from their deck and chooses one of the 6 attributes. The other players then show their cards and compare the painters according to this characteristic. The player with the highest attribute wins the cards.

I find that several aspects of this game are really interesting:

  • The illustrations are well chosen and beautiful.
  • There is a short text (7 lines of text) about the painter which is very relevant.
  • The gameplay lets the players learn about the painters.

Unfortunately, the properties have two problems:

  • The 0-100 scale is unreasonably accurate (0-5 would be better). It makes this classification seem arbitrary. Using labels like "Huge Impact" instead of "Influence 78" would be even better in my opinion.
  • The grades are not justified. This also makes them appear arbitrary. It's more important for students to remember "WHY" Monet was influential. For example, knowing that Monet was one of the most prominent Impressionist painters and even coined the term "Impressionism" is more relevant than knowing that he is rated "76" for his influence (which doesn't tell us anything about the nature of the influence says he had).

So overall I can recommend the game, but it could be a lot better!

Manifesto!: The Art Movements Playing Cards (Lauren Tamaki)

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TheManifest!15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (18)Game includes:

  • 52 cards, each featuring an iconic 20th-century artist. The artists are grouped into 8 art movements (Dada, Cubism, YBAs, Surrealism, New York Graffiti, Pop Art, Constructivism, Feminist Art).
  • A brochure telling the biographies of each artist.

players can play"go fish" And "happy families' with these cards, with the families being the art movements.

The cards are beautifully illustrated. I like the game because it teaches about these great artists without making it complicated which makes the game very easy to play.

My Big Art Show (Susie Hodge)

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No wonderMy big art exhibition15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (20)is really educational and so well thought out: Susie Hodge is a noted artist and art historian.

Each of the 50 cards shows a work of artand related information(Artist, Date, Movement, Theme). The movements, themes and artists represented in the game are:

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  • Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism and Pop Art
  • People, places, objects, animals, history and religion
  • Michelangelo, Velazquez, Degas, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Picasso, Dalí, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Turner, etc.

This deck of cards allows children to "build a show" by putting together works of art that share common traits. The rules of the game are basically the same as Rummy and therefore very easy to use for children. Since the theme and movement for each card have their respective symbols, the game is easy to use even for small children (e.g. 5 year olds).

There is also a complete booklet with related information and other game rules.

For all these reasonsI highly recommend this game(The only thing I regret is that the cards are a bit big, but that also allows for larger images).

Art Snap (Brainbox)

Art Snap15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (21)(Brainbox) also allows to play with painters, but I don't recommend it.

This is also a 52 card matching game. You have to match the 26 artists with 26 paintings (2 rules: Snap and Pairs). The idea is not bad, but I don't find the result convincing compared to the alternatives. Images are shown in small frames in cards (a shame really) and the painter cards give no additional information about the painter (they only have the painter's name on them), although there was no reason not to.

Van Gogh Kartenspiel (Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam)

15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (22)

That is a"Happy Family" by Van Gogh Artworkswith:

  • Each 4-card family has a specific theme: portraits, trees, animals, food, farm life, self-portraits, water, etc.
  • Large cards (approx. 3″x5″ cards or 8.5 x 12.5 cm), about twice the size of standard playing cards. This would allow for fairly large prints of the artworks, but instead they are rather small as the bottom part of the card is used by small vignettes of the 3 other artworks of the same family (due to the size of the cards the game is quite expensive).
  • Each card has
    • The Family Name (English & Dutch)
    • The reproduction of the artwork (one different Van Gogh artwork per card)
    • The title of the artwork (English & Dutch)
    • Vignette-sized reproductions of the 3 other artworks from the same family

The artworks come exclusively from the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum. Too bad the museum didn't collaborate with other museums to propose a game with a wider range of artworks. In fact, Van Gogh's most famous paintings can be found in many different museums around the world, including MOMA (New York), Musée d'Orsay (Paris), J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), Courtauld Gallery (London ), MET (New York), National Gallery (London) to name a few (although the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum has great pieces).

Also, I find it unfortunate that the date of the artwork is not given on the cards. This would have allowed them to be used as a chronological game, which is a great way to teach the evolution of the artist's style throughout his career.

Two knowledge-based art history card games

Kunst (BrainBox)

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This game contains 60 cards, each featuring a masterpiece by Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso and more.

The goal ofBrainbox Art game15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (24)is to win as many cards as possible. To win a card, study it for 10 seconds, answer a question about it based on a dice roll, and keep the card if your answer is correct.

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I like the game for several reasons:

  • The players actually have to develop their observation skills for the painting on the map.
  • The cards are square in shape and large enough to have fairly large reproductions of the paintings, whether the artwork is vertical or horizontal.
  • The front of the card (with the painting) contains some facts about the painting and the artist that are used in the questions, so players don't just learn the content of the painting and its context.

However, there are a few downsides that might put you off using this game, although they're not too bad:

  • The maps are unnecessarily thick. So there are only 60 cards. For a box this big (and for the same price) it could easily be 120 cards).
  • Many questions are repetitive (e.g. always asking if the painting is an oil or watercolor painting) or too precise (details about the painting). The quality of the questions is inconsistent (some are worthwhile, others less so).
  • The print quality is not very good (a pity for the artworks that deserve better quality).

Note that there are two versions of the game. The onecreated with MindWare,15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (25)and those made withthe national gallery15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (26). Both are ok.

Art History (Professor Noggin)

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I'm generally not a fan of random question answering (quiz type games), but obviously a lot of people enjoy these games.

Art History by Professor Nogginis such a game and I recommend it! The questions are not easy to answer, but they are divided into two levels for each artwork on display.

The game is best used to review an art history lesson that has already been addressed in the knowledge requirement questions. Play can be a very nice way to consolidate all that knowledge that students seem to forget so quickly if not reused.

The game covers many different themes:

  • Sculpture, world architecture, painting techniques and materials
  • Renaissance, Italian Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo
  • Rembrandt
  • Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, Monet, Mary Cassat
  • Ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Byzantine art
  • Barock, Rubens
  • American Art, Canadian Art
  • Modern Art, Picasso, Andy Warhol
  • Art Museums: Musee du Louvre & United States Museums

Art history flashcards, printables, board games, playing cards…

This list of art history card games may seem a bit long to you, but this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to art related games!

Here's a list of other options that are really worth checking out:

  • Art history flashcards: Check out my post”Printed art history flashcard for schools and families', you'll find that there are some great decks out there. And in this post, I'll give you one tooGreat Bonus: 8 fully explained game rulesto play with these flashcards and turn them into awesome games.
  • Art History Playing Cards: Read my post”18 art history card games for school and family', which lists 16 such games. It offers a great and inexpensive way to introduce children to art history while being perfectly playable with traditional game rules.
  • Art history board games: If you are a teacher, educational board games that really teach about art can be great for your classroom; They have the potential to capture the attention of all students, even those who may not initially be sensitive to art. Check my post "7 art history board games for school and home" learn more.
  • Art themed board games: These are "real board games" (i.e. with an original and modern rule to suit the taste of board game "geeks") using an art-related theme. You could checkmodern style15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (28)by Reiner Knizia,fresh15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (29)by Marco Ruskowski and Marcel Suesselbeck,The gallery owner15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (30)von Vital Lacerda,Kanagawa15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (31)von Bruno Cathala & Charles Chevallier,art of chilling15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (32)by Bob Ross orJunk Art by James Cormier15 Art History Card Games for Schools and Families | (33)and Sen-Foong Lim, etc. However, don't expect to learn much about art by playing it (except for some versions of "Modern Art"), that's not its purpose!
  • art prints: There are so many printables (PDFs) available, free or not, flashcards or not. They cover almost every topic, from art history in general, to a specific period or genre, or to a specific artist. I'll be making a post about it for sure soon!

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