Introducing Children to Great Works of Art

February 16, 2011

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Let me start with a disclaimer. Heaven for me includes an art museum on the shores of a white sandy beach. So when we began our study on art, I couldn’t wait to take MacGyver on his first trip to an art museum. Since I know he loves expressing himself through art, I was hoping this would be a special bonding moment for us.

The two of us made our way to the McNay Art Museum. The house itself is a architectural work of art. To make a long, winding and fascinating story short . . . The 24-room Spanish Colonial Revival home of Marion McNay was built in the 1920’s. Upon her death in 1950, Mrs. McNay left her collection of more than 700 works of art, along with her house, and an endowment to establish the first museum of modern art in Texas.

When the city’s art school had to close it’s doors due to lack of funds, Mrs. McNay opened her home to the students. Imagine this courtyard full of young artists and their easels. Now that’s my kind of open-air classroom.

MacGyver leans in for a closer look at the bronze sculpture and a beautiful water lily. Nothing can beat the natural art made by nature.

Since we’re adding onto our little 1950’s home, I’m going to give this picture to our contractor to see if he can work-in a courtyard, pond and a couple of bronze sculptures. Hey, a girl can dream! I’m sure we can work it into the budget.

My children love these little biographical picture books by Laurence Anholt. He takes the real lives of famous artists and weaves them into stories for children. Through these books, the children have gotten to know artists like Monet, Degas, Cezanne and Matisse. They pick these books over and over again for Daddy to read at bedtime.

Since we had read The Magical Garden of Claude Monet by Anholt prior to our museum field trip, MacGyver was thrilled to see a real Monet painting of Monet’s lily garden.

Once we finished touring the museum, we took a stroll around the museum grounds to view the large scale sculptures.

These sculptures were right up MacGyver’s artistic alley.

MacGyver ended his day with a wish. . .

After viewing all of the modern art displayed at the McNay Museum of Art, MacGyver decided to add a modern art twist to the illustrations of his Prehistoric Life book.

As a side note, this is how our museum bonding visit began, “Mam, please move away from the painting.” Why? Doesn’t everyone get that close to look at each and every brush stoke? It’s not like I was going to touch it. From that point on MacGyver policed me, “Mommy, don’t get so close. Mommy, they’re going to tell you to move. Mommy, you need to move back. Mommy, don’t get so close . . .” Heck, how can you truly appreciate a Monet without looking at it up close as well as from a distance?

“At school” we’re GIVING AWAY¬† two art books and a FREE printable color wheel.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne February 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Looks like a great adventure! We have checked “Anna’s Art Adventure,” which includes a great selection of masterpieces, but the story line is a little over B’s head.

Colleen - Sunrise Learning Lab February 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm

love this post! Normally, I have been doing Reggio Emilia Wednesdays but I had a few things left to review and giveaway for the month, so am either going to put the link ups on Friday or else I might wait til next week. either way, would you mind if I added this post to the link ups?
Hope all is well with you.
Have a nice rest of your week,

Jeannine February 16, 2011 at 5:13 pm

We are very interested in Reggio Emilia and have done quite a bit of reading through the years. The link-up sounds great! :)

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