Can you solve these real 'Jeopardy!' clues about art?

Written by:
February 19, 2020
Ryan J. Thompson // Shutterstock

Can you solve these real 'Jeopardy!' clues about art?

In 2018, archaeologists uncovered what is thought to be the oldest piece of art in existence, estimated to be about 73,000 years old, proving once and for all that art existed almost since the beginning of time. The work is simplistic by modern standards—nine red lines of ochre paint on a small piece of stone. But it shows that early humans could draw and intended to create a "visual culture," something researchers didn't formerly know to be true. In fact, this discovery predates the next known piece of art by some 30,000 years.

Things have changed over the intervening years. Rather than simple lines on a flake of stone, today's art has expanded to include moving pictures, modern dance forms, synthesized beats, and painting techniques those early humans could have never dreamed of. But the purpose of art has remained the same.

Art has always had an important role in society. It allows people to relay emotions, deliver experiences, inspire others, and start conversations. In short, art's ability to inspire an emotional response in humans makes it one of the building blocks of our society. Considering this important role, Stacker has set out to test your art knowledge.

Stacker scoured all of the questions memorialized in the J! Archive, as of February 2020, to compile the following list of 25 "Jeopardy!" questions about art. From questions about famous artists of centuries past to distinctive art forms and specific art terms, these questions are sure to stump even the most knowledgeable art critics. Can you guess whose painting inspired the name of the Impressionist movement? Or which medieval painter created the most famous remaining triptych?

Clue #1

- Clue: The full title of this modernist Stravinsky ballet includes "Pictures from Pagan Russia in Two Parts."
- Category: ARTS
- Value: $1600
- Date episode aired: Nov. 23, 2016

Answer #1: What is 'The Rite of Spring?'

When Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" ballet premiered on May 29, 1913, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, a riot nearly broke out amongst the audience members. Attendees didn't appreciate the loud music, outrageous costumes, bizarre choreography, and pagan sacrifice storyline, and responded with an overwhelming din of boos. To prevent a full-blown protest, Stravinsky's collaborator, Serge Diaghilev, repeatedly flashed the house lights to keep the audience in their seats.

Clue #2

- Clue: This modern American artist was known as the "Father of the Mobile."
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: April 9, 2015

Answer #2: Who is Alexander Calder?

Born into an artistic family in 1898, Alexander Calder began creating at an early age. Still, he wasn't always sure that becoming an artist himself was in the cards. It wasn't until years after graduating from the Stevens Institute of Technology with an engineering degree that Calder decided to take up the family industry. Today, several of his most famous pieces like "Cirque Calder" and "Lobster Trap and Fish Tail" hang in museums like the Whitney and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. 

Clue #3

- Clue: In May 2010, five paintings worth $125 million by Braque, Matisse, and three others left Paris' museum of this art period.
- Value: $1600
- Date episode aired: Feb. 15, 2011

Answer #3: What is modern art?

Modern art was inspired by the rapid changes brought on by the Industrial Revolution, as well as a new desire in artists to create works designed by their own experiences and on topics they chose. This represented a significant break in tradition—previously, the vast majority of the art created was commissioned either by the church or by wealthy patrons. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, which holds the world's largest collection of modern and contemporary art, only collects works that were made after 1880.

[Pictured: "The Red Room" by Henri Matisse.]

Clue #4

- Clue: A violinist, not an archer, Giuseppe Tartini helped establish the modern style of using this.
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Oct. 16, 2009

Answer #4: What is a bow?

Giuseppe Tartini was intended for a monastic career, but his love for music and secret marriage to the bishop of Padua's niece put an end to that career trajectory for the artist. Instead, Tartini studied under some of the most reputable musicians of the time, including Bohuslav Cernohorsky and Francesco Veracini. After withdrawing from public life for a period of focused, individual study, Tartini re-emerged with a longer, thicker bow and principles of handling it that are now used in every violin school around the world.

Clue #5

- Clue: An old-timey central European, or a modern artsy type.
- Category: "BO" POURRI
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: March 12, 2009

Answer #5: What is a Bohemian?

Once, the world Bohemian was used to describe certain groups of people from the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, but the definition has since shifted to describe an entirely different kind of person. In 1932, the "Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française" described a Bohemian as "one who lives a vagabond, unregimented life without assured resources, who does not worry about tomorrow." In 1851, Henri Murger's "La Vie de Boheme" or "Scenes of a Bohemian Life" helped to further define to a much wider audience the new meaning of the word.

[Pictured: Illustration from "Scènes de la vie de bohème" by Henri Murger.]

Clue #6

- Clue: "Nothing is more revealing than movement," said this doyenne of modern dance.
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Sept. 20, 2006

Answer #6: Who is Martha Graham?

Universally acknowledged as the mother of modern dance and the most influential dancer of the 20th century, Martha Graham sought to develop a dance that could express spiritual and emotional themes often ignored by other forms of dance. Throughout her over 50-year career, Graham not only composed powerful pieces like "Appalachian Spring" and "Seraphic Dialogue," but also taught some of the industry's other greats, frequently employed people of color before it was standard practice, and made a commitment to telling women's stories. In 1976, Graham was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Gerald Ford.

Clue #7

- Clue: Modern dance began as a rebellion against the artifice and formality of this classic form of dance.
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: June 1, 2005

Answer #7: What is ballet?

Ballet originated in 15th-century Italian courts, but it was King Louis XIV who really made the dance form a world-wide phenomenon. The French king elevated ballet from an amateur's hobby to an art form that required professional training, opening the first ballet academy in Paris in 1661. While this classic form of ballet still exists today, the genre has become much more multifaceted, expanding into branches like neo-classical ballet and modern ballet.

Clue #8

- Clue: Modern movement that is named for the optical illusions created by its geometric patterns.
- Category: ART
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: May 11, 1990

Answer #8: What is op art?

Josef Albers, Bridget Riley, and Victor Vasarely were three of the most famous and influential artists during op art's heyday in the 1960s. Their work incorporated abstract patterns that had a stark foreground-background contrast and resulted in an effect that confused the brain and eye. While op art has been popular with the general public, critics have always dismissed it, calling it a gimmick rather than a legitimate art form.

[Pictured: "Bolt of Colour" by Bridget Riley.]

Clue #9

- Clue: It was recently said of this artist, "He's far more than cowboys and indians. (He) is uncannily modern."
- Category: ARTISTS
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: Nov. 3, 1989

Answer #9: Who is Frederic Remington?

Born in upstate New York in 1861, Frederic Remington grew to be a talented painter, sculptor, and writer who focused almost all of his works on the old American West. In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt said of the artist, "He is, of course, one of the most typical American artists we have ever had, and he has portrayed a most characteristic and yet vanishing type of American life. The soldier, the cowboy and rancher, the Indian, the horses and the cattle of the plains, will live in his pictures and bronzes, I verily believe, for all time."

[Pictured: "Aiding A Comrade" by Frederic Remington.]

Clue #10

- Clue: This three-part panel was a common form for altarpieces in medieval art.
- Category: ART TERMS
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Jan. 29, 2014

Answer #10: What is a triptych?

Medieval triptychs were mainly intended to serve as an aid to prayer, and their three panels were a reminder of the Holy Trinity one came to church to worship. That being said, one of the most famous triptychs of the time, Hieronymous Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights," doesn't depict a scene from the Bible but rather a surreal story. This has led scholars to believe that it was commissioned by an individual rather than a major church.

[Pictured: "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Hieronymous Bosch.]

Clue #11

- Clue: "The Lady with the Unicorn" is a medieval example of this textile art form.
- Category: THE ARTS
- Value: $500
- Date episode aired: March 2, 1998

Answer #11: What is a tapestry?

In the medieval ages, tapestries, or woven wall hanging, often depicted religious or battle scenes and were hung in castles and churches to provide insulation for the drafty stone buildings. Easy to roll up and move from castle to castle, this art form proved more desirable by kings of the era who were prone to moving around their kingdoms periodically. One of the most famous remaining tapestries of the era, replicas of '"The Lady with the Unicorn," can be found in many places, including in the "Harry Potter" movies decorating the walls of Gryffindor Tower.

Clue #12

- Clue: Renoir and Monet were part of this art movement that tried to capture what the eye sees at a particular moment.
- Category: ART & ARTISTS
- Value: $2000
- Date episode aired: Nov. 9, 2009

Answer #12: What is Impressionism?

Emerging in France in the 1870s, Impressionism cast aside the rules of the "fine arts" and instead attempted to capture what the world looked like in a single, never-to-be-repeated moment. Many of the genre's paintings depict scenes that were painted outside, en plein air, to better capture the fleeting and ever-changing sunshine. The first exhibition of impressionist paintings was widely panned, but the movement soon found its footing and has been shaping the art world ever since.

[Pictured: "Bal du moulin de la Galette" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.]

Clue #13

- Clue: Impressionism got its name thanks to his painting "Impression: Sunrise."
- Category: ART & ARTISTS
- Value: $1200
- Date episode aired: Feb. 22, 2006

Answer #13: Who is Claude Monet?

The most prolific impressionist painter, Claude Monet painted "Impression: Sunrise," which gave the genre its name, in either 1872 or 1873. The painting depicts the Le Havre port at sunrise, prominently featuring two small fishing boats and the bright red, early morning sun. The painting hung in the first Impressionist exhibit in 1874 and now hangs in the Musée Marmottan-Monet in Paris.

Clue #14

- Clue: Landscape artist Eugene Boudin influenced the impressionists to paint "En Plein Air," meaning this.
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: May 18, 1998

Answer #14: What is outside?

A French expression, "en plein air" literally translates to "in the open air." Impressionist painters preferred to paint this way as it allowed them to capture the light better and to develop their own unique color theory, which made their paintings more vivid and starkly contrasted them to the "beaux-arts."

[Pictured: "The Beach at Villerville" by Eugène Boudin.]

Clue #15

- Clue: In the 1880s this artist with "noir" in his name broke with Impressionism and began using more black.
- Category: ART
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: April 1, 1999


Answer #15: Who is Pierre-Auguste Renoir?

Another founder of the Impressionist movement, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, drifted away from the movement by the middle of his career and began to dabble in the Renaissance style instead. His scenes of Paris life are some of the most timeless and beautiful canvases to come from the era. And while a true Impressionist would have never been caught dead with black on their palette, Renoir uses his fair share of the dark shade to provide shadow and dimension in almost all of his finished works.

Clue #16

- Clue: Failing eyesight and eventual blindness forced this American-born artist to stop painting around 1914.
- Category: MARRY: ME
- Value: $2000
- Date episode aired: Jan. 28, 2020

Answer #16: Who is Mary Cassatt?

Mary Cassatt is an American expat who spent most of her professional life in Paris learning from, and befriending, other Impressionist masters like Degas and Manet. Many of her works depict women and children in the midst of everyday life, and her domestic scenes were sometimes a far cry from what her contemporaries were producing. Cassatt was the only American artist, male or female, to ever exhibit her work with the Impressionist painters.

[Pictured: "The Boating Party" by Mary Cassatt.]

Clue #17

- Clue: El Greco's painting of the Virgin Mary cradling her dead son is called this, like Michelangelo's famous sculpture of the same subject.
- Value: $4000
- Date episode aired: Jan. 24, 2020

Answer #17: What is the 'Pieta?'

Active in the 1500s, Greek painter El Greco's works are often considered precursors to both expressionism and Cubism. His Pieta painting, which was heavily inspired by Michelangelo's sculpture, clearly shows why. While there are substantial blunders in the painting, including an incomplete grasp on basic anatomy, the expression on the Virgin Mary's face, and the overall dramatic mood, are clear hallmarks of expressionist works.

Clue #18

- Clue: "Crouching Woman" and "Blind Man's Meal" are paintings from his blue period.
- Category: BLUE BY YOU
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Jan. 16, 2020

Answer #18: Who is Picasso?

Pablo Picasso is perhaps one of the biggest influences on 20th-century art, and his work can be separated into nearly a dozen different periods, including the naturalistic period of his early work, cubist and surrealist periods, and his famous blue period. The blue period lasted three short years, from 1901 to 1904, and is largely attributed to the depression he suffered from after the death of a close friend.

Clue #19

- Clue: 14th-century artist Giotto was a master of this technique, painting directly on freshly plastered walls.
- Category: ART & ARTISTS
- Value: $1200
- Date episode aired: July 17, 2019

Answer #19: What is fresco?

An early Renaissance painter, Giotto's crowning works are the frescoes that adorn the walls and ceiling of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy. The Italian painter chose scenes from the lives of both the Virgin Mary and Jesus, which he depicted in a much more realistic style than painters in the rest of the region were creating. The work was completed around the same time that Giotto's contemporary, Dante Alighieri, was writing his "Divine Comedy."

Clue #20

- Clue: Georges Seurat was just 26 when he completed his masterpiece "A Sunday on" this island.
- Value: $1600
- Date episode aired: April 25, 2019

[Pictured: Scrovegni Chapel.]

Answer #20: Where is La Grande Jatte?

Today "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" is considered to be one of the leading examples of a pointillism painting. However, when it was first displayed in 1886, critics used words like "bedlam" and "hilarity" to describe the work of public life. The painting is currently on display at the Art Institute Chicago.

[Pictured: "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" by Georges Seurat.]

Clue #21

- Clue: In 1949 she painted "Diego and I," a portrait of herself with her husband's image appearing on her forehead.
- Category: ART & ARTISTS
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: March 22, 2012

Answer #21: Who is Frida Kahlo?

Often portrayed as a feminist icon, Frida Kahlo is also one of Mexico's most internationally renowned artists. Throughout her mostly bedridden life, Kahlo produced 143 paintings, 55 of which are self-portraits. Among and amidst other relationships with both men and women, Kahlo was married twice to fellow painter Diego Rivera, before her death in 1954.

[Pictured: "Self Portrait with Bonito" by Frida Kahlo.]

Clue #22

- Clue: The work of Jose Clemente Orozco brought fresco into the 20th century as a medium for these vast wall paintings.
- Category: GREAT WORK
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: April 30, 2010

Answer #22: What is a mural?

A contemporary of both Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco is considered the best Mexican muralist of the age. His works, like "The Epic of American Civilization" at Dartmouth College in New York, often depict the poor, oppressed, working classes. Perhaps his best work, "The Sistine Chapel of the Americas," is located in Guadalajara's Hospicio Cabañas.

[Pictured: José Clemente Orozco in his studio.]

Clue #23

- Clue: 1659 portraits of Spain's 8-year-old infanta and her brother were the last works he completed.
- Category: PAINTINGS
- Value: $1600
- Date episode aired: Sept. 14, 2009

Answer #23: Who is Diego Velazquez?

A court painter for King Philip IV of Spain, Diego Velazquez's works didn't adhere to the status quo, although that would have been the easy thing to do. Instead, his individualistic style, which unflinchingly depicts the human condition, is considered a precursor or realism—a far cry from the stuffy, perfect portraits of the time. His paintings of the royal family are often regarded as unflinchingly intimate and brilliantly composed.

[Pictured: Self-portrait by Diego Velázquez.]

Clue #24

- Clue: Giotto's realistic technique revolutionized painting and was a strong influence on this art era of the 1400s.
- Category: ART
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: June 1, 2009

Answer #24: What is the renaissance?

The list of renaissance artists includes greats like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Rather than just depicting religious scenes, like the artists before them, these artists re-introduced humanism painting subjects, both divine and mortal. Their principal concern was perfection, both visually, symmetrically, and compositionally.

[Pictured: "Mona Lisa" by Leonardo da Vinci.]

Clue #25

- Clue: When not painting frescoes, he did odd jobs like making models of saltcellars for the Duke of Urbino.
- Value: $1200
- Date episode aired: Feb. 26, 2009

Answer #25: Who is Michaelangelo?

Michaelangelo is one of the most renowned artists of the renaissance, and he lived with the Medici family in Florence, Italy, before striking out on his own to create some of his best-known works. This list includes sculptures "The Pieta" and "David" as well as frescos on the ceiling and wall of the Sistine Chapel. The artist died in 1564.

[Pictured: Engraved portrait of Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet Michelangelo]

Trending Now