Erica Johns has come up with a simple idea for developing art appreciation and recognition. When you purchase access to one of her Fine Art Pages collections, you get a digital file of images of famous paintings by artists such as Degas, Gauguin, Monet, Renoir, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh. Each print includes the title, the artist's name, date and place where it was painted, materials and techniques that were used, the place where it can be found today, and an interesting fact about the painting or the artist.
Johns has a number of collections available. The mainstays are Fine Art Prints Collection 1 and Fine Arts Prints Collection 2, each of which has about 20 paintings. These feature some of the most famous artists and their works. Among the many other collections she offers are a number of collections of Biblical art, works by female artists, seascapes, Easter, and paintings by a particular artist such as her collection of Franz Marc's Animals paintings.
Erica Johns' suggestion is that you print out and post one or a few of the paintings around the house in very visible locations, allowing your family members to "absorb" the painting(s) as part of their environment.
You might ask your children for their own observations about the paintings in a "Charlotte Mason" fashion. You can prompt observations by asking questions such as "Who can tell me the artist who painted the picture that is hanging by the back door right now?" Ask questions that will cause them to tune in to the details printed below the works of art.
Of course, even with a good color printer and high-resolution files, the printouts are unlikely to provide the quality of observations that might be made with expert art reproductions. Nevertheless, this is an easy, inexpensive way to introduce fine art to children that doesn't require a heavy investment of any sort. It's simple for the parent and unintimidating for children.
You can try out the free sample of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" pictured here to see how your family responds.