The lovely (I presume, I have never been) folk at the Cincinnati Art Museum have provided a way into the world of art appreciation for the school-age set.
Mr. D. and I gave this our first go this week – even though I forgot to give his NIDES teachers a copy of the art we looked at!
Very simple really: get the best reproduction of an art work that you can, have your child look at it, then ask a few questions. Such as: What did you see first? What colours do you see? Is it a portrait or a landscape? Do the people look rich or poor? How are they dressed? Is this a farm or a large estate? There really is no end to the questions you can ask, because, the first step in art appreciation is really, really, really looking. Something we don’t take enough time to do in our busy lives.
We’ve done something similar with classical music at dinner times. We’ll play a piece and ask the children what is happening. When they create their own stories to accompany the music, it is wonderful. When the magic isn’t there, Mummy steps in a creates stories of fairies and toadstools and thunder claps. Even the youngest child will listen intently to the music if there is something enchanting to be imagined within it.
So, without further ado, Mr. D. decided these rich folk had their portrait done to show off their wealth. Who knows – he could be right.
By Hals (c1665) Portrait of a Dutch Family