Modern art curricula derive from the assumption that visual arts education can be of a high quality only if productive and receptive artistic activities are implemented. In art education practice, we are able to follow incentives for artistic expression but pay less attention to developing art appreciation that is based on developing as subtle perceptions of artwork as possible. Students have few opportunities to observe, enjoy and understand artwork. This discussion presents the results of a study that monitored the development of art appreciation abilities of 11–14 year-old students in Slovenian compulsory education. The level of art appreciation abilities is rather average and more developed with older students and girls. There were no statistically significant differences with regard to school stratum.