54 Art History Trivia Questions (Ranked from Easiest to Hardest)

Updated Date:
January 4, 2024
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Art history is a fascinating and diverse subject that encompasses the evolution of art and creativity throughout human civilization. From the earliest cave paintings to contemporary works of art, the field encompasses a wide range of cultures, styles, and mediums, each reflecting the unique perspectives and experiences of their creators. Trivia questions about art history can be a fun and engaging way to test your knowledge and deepen your appreciation for the subject. Whether you're a seasoned art historian or just starting to explore the field, these questions can provide a glimpse into the rich history and culture of art.

From classical masterpieces to iconic works of modern art, art history is full of fascinating stories, techniques, and styles that have inspired generations of artists and art lovers. For example, you might find yourself quizzed on the techniques used by Renaissance painters like Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo, or on the groundbreaking innovations of artists like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. Whether you're a fan of abstract expressionism or classical realism, there is something for everyone in the world of art history.

Ultimately, art history trivia questions offer a fun and engaging way to learn about this rich and fascinating field. Whether you're a student, a museum-goer, or simply a lover of art, these questions can help you deepen your understanding of the history and culture of art. Whether you're exploring the great works of the past or discovering new and exciting artists of today, art history is a never-ending source of inspiration and enjoyment. So why not put your knowledge to the test and see how well you know your art history trivia!

54 Art History Trivia Questions Ranked From Easiest to Hardest (Updated for 2024)

  1. Named "Girl With Balloon" before it was partially shredded at a 2018 auction, "Love Is in the Bin" is an artwork that sold for $25.4 million in 2021, by what one-named artist?

    Answer: Banksy

  2. Italian Vincenzo Peruggia is a famous name in the history of art for stealing which iconic painting in 1911? One theory regarding his motivation for stealing the painting was that he wanted to return the painting from France to its country of origin.

    Answer: Mona Lisa

  3. Orphism is an early 20th century art movement that focused on colorful abstract paintings. Orphism is considered a derivative of which other art movement associated with Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso.

    Answer: Cubism

  4. In the early 16th century, Michelangelo made a sculpture of the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus to be placed in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges, with the Virgin referred to as what name? It’s a name she sometimes shares with the pop singer of “La Isla Bonita.”

    Answer: Madonna Of Bruges

  5. In a famous painting by Johannes Vermeer, the subject is a young woman wearing a particular piece of jewellery, after which the painting is named. What specific gemstone features both in the jewellery and the name of the painting?

    Answer: Pearl

  6. The Smithsonian has a 1941 painting by William Johnson, of an African-American family traveling by wagon, known as “Going To ______.” Fill in the one word blank, a place for public worship in the Christian tradition.

    Answer: Going To Church

  7. Belgian painter Rene Magritte's 1964 work "The Son of Man" depicts a man wearing a suit and bowler hat, and whose face is concealed by what object?

    Answer: An apple

  8. In Renaissance and Baroque art, a particular shade of blue paint made from lapis lazuli was so expensive it was primarily used for painting the robes of which religious figure? (Hint: The shade takes its name from this figure.)

    Answer: The Virgin Mary

  9. Rendered in shades of black, white, and gray, what famous 1937 mural by Pablo Picasso is named for the Basque town in Spain that it commemorates?

    Answer: Guernica

  10. What “f” is an art movement that began in Italy in the early 20th century that aimed to capture in art the dynamism and energy of the modern world?

    Answer: Futurism

  11. Which French term that means “advanced guard” refers to novel, unusual, or experimental art?

    Answer: Avant-Garde

  12. A self-taught Black artist from Louisiana, who painted works such as “Picking Cotton” and “Zinnias In A Pot” in the 1960s, is Clementine ______. Fill in the one word blank, also a word for a person that stalks and kills animals.

    Answer: Clementine Hunter

  13. Which Italian word that means “light-dark” describes contrast in a work and was a favorite technique of Caravaggio for creating dimensionality and drama?

    Answer: Chiaroscuro

  14. Louise Bourgeois's 30 ft. high sculpture Maman is a giant depiction of what creepy-crawly arthropod, complete with a sac of 32 marble eggs?

    Answer: Spider

  15. Spanish surrealist Joan Miró was born in which city in 1893? A museum named in after him, the Fundació Joan Miró, is located in this city.

    Answer: Barcelona

  16. Which character from Hamlet is depicted drowning in an 1852 work by John Everett Millais'?

    Answer: Ophelia

  17. Which style of art, also known as Late Baroque, that focused on decorative ornamentation began in France in the 1730s? Jean-Honoré Fragonard is a noted exponent of this style.

    Answer: Rococo

  18. Picasso and Braque were exponents of which art movement of the early 20th century? This art movement is characterized by emphasis on abstract structure.

    Answer: Cubism

  19. Which life-size sculpture of a half-naked woman is believed to be created by Alexandros of Antioch? When the piece was moved to Paris from Greece in 1820, it lost part of its arms. We're looking for a THREE-word answer here.

    Answer: Venus de Milo

  20. Mary Cassat, Marie Bracquemond and Berthe Morisot are often referred to as “les trios grandes dames” of which art movement of the 19th century?

    Answer: Impressionism

  21. The name of which art movement is often considered to originate from British art critic Lawrence Alloway’s 1958 essay “The Arts and the Mass Media?”

    Answer: Pop art

  22. The art movement Arte Povera, literally meaning “poor art”, is particularly associated with which city in northern Italy, the capital of the Piedmont region? This city is also associated with the automotive industry.

    Answer: Turin

  23. What 17th century Flemish Baroque artist created such paintings as “Self-Portrait With A Sunflower” and “Charles I At The Hunt?” Although spelled differently, his last name is pronounced the same as the actor who played a chimney sweep in “Mary Poppins”, and starred in his own 1960s sitcom.

    Answer: Anthony Van Dyck

  24. Which painting of 1533 by Hans Holbein the Younger depicts French diplomats Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve?

    Answer: The Ambassadors

  25. Henri Matisse was a leading figure in which early 20th century art movement noted for its non-naturalistic use of color and taking its name from the French for “wild beasts?”

    Answer: Fauvism

  26. Venetian artist Giovanni Antonio Canal, who is known for his paintings of Venice, Rome and London, is better known by which mononym?

    Answer: Canaletto

  27. What French poet, writer, and artist is considered the "Father of Surrealism?"

    Answer: Andre Breton

  28. What Belgian Surrealist artist was known for featuring bowler hats in many of his pieces?

    Answer: Rene' Magritte

  29. What is the surname of the French Post-Impressionist, known for his relationship with van Gogh, who spent ten years living in French Polynesia, notably Tahiti? He died in 1903 in Atuona.

    Answer: Gauguin

  30. The earliest known professional African-American artist in the United States, a freed slave who painted around the turn of the 19th century, creating classical portraits such as “The Westwood Children,” is Joshua ______. Fill in the one word “J” last name blank, also the last name of 36th U.S. president Lyndon.

    Answer: Joshua Johnson

  31. In 2008, a post-impressionist oil painting, “The Boy in the Red Vest,” was stolen from a museum in Zurich, only to be found in Serbia in 2012. Which artist painted it?

    Answer: Paul Cézanne

  32. Which word—Spanish for “miracle”—describes a small metal trinket or sculpture that is offered to shrines in hopes of receiving healing?

    Answer: Milagro

  33. Polka dots and mirrored installations called "Infinity Rooms" are both hallmarks of what Japanese contemporary artist?

    Answer: Yayoi Kusama

  34. Anish Kapoor's public sculpture "Cloud Gate," installed in Chicago's Millennium Park, is better known by what legume-y nickname?

    Answer: The Bean

  35. One of Renaissance painter El Greco's most famous works is a landscape that depicts a "View of" what city in Spain (not Ohio)?

    Answer: Toledo

  36. What architectural style, sometimes associated with urban decay and totalitarianism and prevalent from the 1950s to the 1970s, was an extension of modernism, but primarily a reaction to nostalgia in 1940s architecture?

    Answer: Brutalism

  37. What “P” American painter and abstract expressionist caused sensations in the 1940s and 1950s with his elaborate drip paintings?

    Answer: Jackson Pollock

  38. The name for which European art movement, which was chosen by randomly selecting a word from the dictionary, comes from a French word for a hobby horse?

    Answer: Dadaism

  39. What's the name of the woman whose "world" is depicted in Andrew Wyeth's famous 1948 painting of the Olson House in Cushing, Maine?

    Answer: Christina

  40. La Primavera and The Birth of Venus, two masterworks by Sandro Botticelli, are among the collection of what famous art museum in Florence, Italy?

    Answer: Uffizi Gallery

  41. The Rijksmuseum--which includes masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer--and the Van Gogh Museum can both be found in what country?

    Answer: The Netherlands

  42. Among the most expensive paintings sold at auction, "Portrait of Adele Block-Bauer" was the final work in the gold phase of what Vienna Secession artist?

    Answer: Gustav Klimt

  43. In many paintings of Saint Peter, including ones by Peter Paul Rubens and Pietro Perugino, he is depicted holding what objects? Typically, one is gold and the other is silver.

    Answer: Keys

  44. Which city is home to Museo Poldi Pezzoli, an art museum housing artworks by Renaissance masters like Michelangelo and Botticelli, and Santa Maria delle Grazie, the church containing Leonardo da Vinci's mural "The Last Supper?"

    Answer: Milan

  45. “Head of a Peasant Woman” is a work by which 19th century artist? In 2022, a self-portrait of this artist was discovered on the back of the work.

    Answer: Vincent van Gogh

  46. In 2018, D.C.'s National Portrait Gallery unveiled an official portrait of former president Barack Obama, created by what renowned African-American portrait painter?

    Answer: Kehinde Wiley

  47. In 1489, during the High Renaissance, Leonardo Da Vinci painted “Lady With An ______.” Fill in the one word “E” blank, an animal also known as the stoat or short-tailed weasel, historically prized for their use in fur coats.

    Answer: Lady With An Ermine

  48. Which Latin phrase that means “remember that you will die” is used to describe a reminder of mortality or representation of death (like a skull) in a work of art?

    Answer: Memento Mori

  49. Which Roman god is depicted devouring his son in a work by Francisco Goya? This god is often equated with the Greek titan Cronus.

    Answer: Saturn

  50. What is the name of the protective, glossy varnish that is applied to wood and metal that’s usually made from the sap of the Toxicodendron vernicifluum tree?

    Answer: Lacquer

  51. "Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?" is probably the most famous of the Tahitian paintings by what French Post-Impressionist?

    Answer: Paul Gauguin

  52. What vegetable is referenced in the title of an 1885 oil painting by Vincent van Gogh?

    Answer: Potato

  53. A woman stands behind a well-stocked bar at Paris's Folies-Bergère nightclub in an 1882 painting by what French Impressionist?

    Answer: Edouard Manet

  54. Between 1888 and 1889 Vincent van Gogh lived in which city in the south of France where he produced over 300 works? Pablo Picasso and Paul Gaugin have also lived here.

    Answer: Arles

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