Artists and the World

Many artists are also keen travellers. This is as true today as it was in the past. Today it is quite common for people to travel abroad for work, or on holiday and take photographs of where they have been. We can also learn about other countries by watching films and television programmes, or even talking to friends and relatives, who live in other countries, on the phone. 

In the past people travelled much less than they do today. Many people would never have travelled more than a few miles from their home. Before film and cameras were invented, the only way that people who travelled to other countries could show people what it was like was to draw or paint what they saw.  

Artists who travelled to different countries in the past often painted scenery and magnificent buildings. Their paintings can also tell us things about how people lived in those countries.  Paintings can tell you about the landscape and climate in other places. For example whether it is a hot, sunny, dry place, or a cooler climate where it rains more often. They show you the clothes people wear and what their homes look like. Sometimes they showed people at work or children playing. Some paintings almost seem to transport you to the time and place they were painted.

Ancient Tartyris, Upper Egypt by David Roberts RA The Hour of Prayer - Interior Of The Mosque Of Sultan Beni Hassan, Cairo by Joseph Farquharson ARA Tetuan Market Place by James McBey LLD  © Family of James and Marguerite McBey

Related Timelines

Art History - Places in Art


Paint or draw a picture of where you live. Think about what things you could put in it to tell people about what life is like where you live.

Look at the paintings in the Places in Art timeline. There are paintings of Cornwall (in England), Egypt, Italy and France. Look for the paintings of these places, then try to find the places on a map or globe.

Have you ever been to a different town, city or country? Think about what things were different from where you live and what things were the same. 

Choose one of the pictures in the Places in Art timeline and describe the scene. Think about the weather and where it might be. If there are people in the picture think about what they are doing.