Tate Kids Presents Introductions to Art Movements: Cubism, Impressionism, Surrealism & More

Tate Kids has a sol­id grasp on the sort of hands on art-relat­ed con­tent that appeals to chil­dren — Make a mud paint­ing! Make a spaghet­ti sculp­ture! Pho­to fil­ter chal­lenge!

Chil­dren of all ages, grown ups who skipped out on art his­to­ry includ­ed, will ben­e­fit from their break­neck overviews of entire art move­ments.

Take cubism.

The Tate Kids’ ani­ma­tion, above, pro­vides a sol­id if speedy overview, zip­ping through eight can­vas­es, six artists, and expla­na­tions of the move­men­t’s two phas­es — ana­lyt­i­cal and syn­thet­ic. (Three phas­es if you count Orphism, the abstract, cubist influ­enced paint­ing style mar­ried artists Robert and Sonia Delau­nay hatched around 1912.)

Giv­en the intend­ed audi­ence, the fond friend­ship between the fathers of cubism, Georges Braque and Pablo Picas­so looms large, with nary a peep about Picasso’s nar­cis­sism and misog­y­ny. And it must be said that the narrator’s tone grates a bit — a bit too loud, a bit too wowed.

The Impres­sion­ists come off as the real cool kids, with a dif­fer­ent nar­ra­tor, and nifty col­lage ani­ma­tions that find Camille Pis­sar­ro throw­ing horns and a Mohawked Alfred Sis­ley as they reject the Salon’s insis­tence on “myths, bat­tles and paint­ings of impor­tant peo­ple.”

Their defi­ant spir­it is sup­port­ed by crit­i­cism that most def­i­nite­ly has not stood the test of time:

Pure evil! 


Like a mon­key has got hold of a box of paints!

Kid pre­sen­ters seize the con­trols for an intro­duc­tion to the mid-cen­tu­ry Japan­ese avant-garde move­ment, Gutai.

Their con­clu­sion?

Smash­ing things up is fun!

As are man­i­festos:

Let’s bid farewell to the hoax­es piled up on the altars and in the palaces, the draw­ing rooms and the antique shops…Lock up these corpses in the grave­yard!


Those who are poor­ly equipped to stom­ach the nar­ra­tors’ whizbang enthu­si­asm should take a restora­tive min­utes to vis­it the muse­um oranges in hand, with 12-year-old Jae­da and 9‑year-old Fati­matu. Their calm will­ing­ness to engage with con­cep­tu­al art is a ton­ic:

When I start­ed art, I though art was just about mak­ing it per­fect, but you don’t have to care what oth­er peo­ple say. That could still mean an art to you.

Watch a Tate Kids Art Move­ments playlist on YouTube. Sup­ple­ment what you’ve learned with a host of Tate Kids activ­i­ties, col­or­ing pages, games, quizzes, artist bios and a gallery of crowd­sourced kid art.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

The Tate Dig­i­tizes 70,000 Works of Art: Pho­tos, Sketch­books, Let­ters & More

Watch the Tate Mod­ern Restore Mark Rothko’s Van­dal­ized Paint­ing, Black on Maroon: 18 Months of Work Con­densed Into 17 Min­utes

A 110-Year-Old Book Illus­trat­ed with Pho­tos of Kit­tens & Cats Taught Kids How to Read

- Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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