Delineates all the aspects needed to create a work of art, starting with its idea

Dr. Montessori developed elaborate charts and graphs to accompany lessons. The MAM Art Chart is a framework for art lessons that demystifies the key components of how visual information is communicated. The study of the chart provides tools for understanding one’s own artwork and that of others. It outlines the information a person needs to aware of to better appreciate, communicate and support their own (or someone else’s) reaction to a work of art. These are the criteria for visual analysis, art criticism, and art appreciation.

It is not necessary to present the Art Chart in a sequence that begins at the top and ends at the bottom. This makes it possible to introduce it in parts more appropriate for five-year-olds. Then when children are introduced to the Chart as elementary students, they will be familiar with some of its beginning parts.

The chart is a referral instrument for any art lesson. Go to the chart each time you give an art lesson, and relate the learned concepts to the relevant components of the chart. In this referral process, the children will learn what to call the concepts behind their creativity, and will have their own idea validated by knowing there are terms to describe it.


The MAM version of The Art Chart was developed after I heard a story related by a second grade teacher from another school. She had decided to give her own art lesson when no substitute was available for their absent art teacher. She got a reproduction of a famous painting and led a discussion about it. She was disappointed that her children did not know they were looking at a painting, what materials made the painting, and did not know the names of common ideas such as landscape and portrait. My curiosity led me to reproduce her lesson, thinking that my students would be able to discuss paintings because of all the lessons they had received. To my chagrin, my students did only a little better than hers. That day, I started designing the kind of art chart I needed and the kinds of lessons I would need to give.

I found a chart published in Art Fundamentals in its 1981, fourth edition, and in all later editions. To be more useful to students, this version of the chart needed additional components to complete a comprehensive framework for art appreciation. These additions are included in these MAM lessons, and represent contributions incorporated from lessons given by Dr. Hermine Feinstein, Dr. Helen Wessel, and Dr. Terry Barrett, as well as from my own experience as a working artist and teacher.