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Archive for September, 2009

Monthly Theme: Nature
Weekly Content: Art in Central Park
Daily Subject: Sculpture

For Baby…

Your little one will enjoy looking up at this obelisk. It’s more than 70 feet tall! Of course, NYC babies are used to looking up at tall buildings, but for some reason, tucked away between the trees, the Obelisk has special appeal. Whether you have a chance to take baby to see the Obelisk (it’s located behind The Met at 81st Street) or if you just take a peek at this picture, you both can talk about how it goes up into the sky. My little one has been using the word “up” for a while now but has just started clearly articulating the ending /p/ sound. It’s interesting because he’s been using words with the beginning /p/ sound for a while, but he now also articulates it for the ending and middle sound (ex. apple) of words.

For Mommy…

Not only is it amazing to see a piece of artwork more than 3000 years old standing in Central Park, it’s amazing to think of how this huge structure got all the way to NYC from Egypt in the late 1800s. According to the Central Park website, it took 19 days just to cross it over the 86th Street transverse! Click on the above link for a quick history of the Obelisk.

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Monthly Theme: Nature
Weekly Content: Art in Central Park
Daily Subject: Sculpture

For Baby…

Lately, my little guy loves to stop and listen to the sounds of nature. He’ll pause to hear the rustle of the trees or the sound of birds singing. Most babies love to hear the sound of water. My son really enjoys holding his hand under the faucet of the tub while listening to the echo of the water rushing out. Obviously, it only makes sense to listen to the sound of a water fountain if you are actually present at the fountain. The Bethesda Fountain is located off the 72nd Street Transverse toward the middle of Central Park. If you don’t have a chance to make it over to the park, take a look at this picture with baby and talk about how the water is pouring down. Next time you and baby are washing hands, remember to pause and listen to the sound of the water pouring down.

For Mommy…

The Bethesda Fountain is a great place to “people watch” on a crisp autumn day. Not only can you take in the beauty of the nature surrounding you in every direction, you’re most likely to catch some other interesting action in the general vicinity. The magnificence of this area reminds us of the importance of preserving public spaces. I’m interested in checking out Ken Burns new film, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, devoted to the history of national parks in our country. Of course, Central Park is not a national park, however, one can appreciate this idea of preserving the natural beauty of our country (and city) when taking a stroll through Bethesda Terrace.

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Monthly Theme: Nature

Weekly Content: Art in Central Park

Daily Subject: Sculpture

This week, we’re going to shift from looking at nature depicted in art to focusing on art displayed in nature. We New Yorkers are so lucky to have such a beautiful park in the center of our city. Central Park is a peaceful oasis that balances the hectic pace of life here in NYC. There is so much to appreciate about a stroll through the park. This week will highlight a few of the works of art that are on display amid the natural beauty of this historical park.

For Baby…

Just looking at a picture of this sculpture is interesting to baby.  Can you imagine how much fun it would be to climb up next to this statue of Hans Christian Anderson? My little guy is really into imitating the sounds of animals. When looking at this statue, we’ll probably be doing a lot of “quack quack”ing. I think he’ll also be interested in the big book and hat as well. What a great pic this would make of baby looking up at the huge Hans. There’s nothing better than art you can climb!


Hans Christian Andersen

"Hans Christian Andersen." Getty Images. Getty Images, Inc., 1999-2008. Answers.com 28 Sep. 2009. http://www.answers.com/topic/hans-christian-andersen-large-image

For Mommy…

Hans Christian Andersen (Danish, 1805-1875) is the author of many of the fairy tales we grew up watching as kids – “The Ugly Duckling,” “Thumbelina,” and, my favorite, “The Little Mermaid,” just to name a few. How important is it, as our kids grow up and fall in love with these stories, to share the origin of these beautiful tales? This statue by George Lober is a reminder to appreciate the history of children’s literature.

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Mama Goes to the MoMA

At some point over the next few months, it’s really worth stopping by the MoMA to see the current exhibition, “Monet’s Water Lilies.” The exhibit includes a group of Monet’s paintings completed later in his life. Monet’s paintings are very interesting to study because much of his work focuses on the same content, specifically, the pond life on his property in Giverny, France. For example, the two paintings below seem to focus on the same bridge but were completed 20 years apart. To the average observer (which I consider myself), the second painting obviously doesn’t capture the form of the bridge in the same way as the first. However, after visiting the MoMA’s exhibit, I feel that I have a better understanding of the significance of Monet’s later paintings. To me, these later paintings almost seem like they were submerged in water, the paint bleeding together. Maybe Monet is teaching us that things in this world are not as formed as our senses lead us to believe, that everything in nature is connected in such a way that you can’t really tell where one thing ends and another begins. The math teacher in me is thinking in terms of numbers, how we know 4 comes after 3 but how actually there are an infinite number of possibilities between the two numbers (think of pi). Ok, I know, I’m getting a little too philosophical here. Well, maybe Monet just wants to show, in one still image, how things can change before our very eyes. Every parent watching a child grow can relate to that!!

“I want to paint the air in which the bridge, the house and the boat lie. The beauty of the air in which they are, and that is nothing other than impossible.”

Claude Monet

Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926). Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies. 1899. Oil on canvas. 36 1/2 x 29 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.H.O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer. http://www.metmuseum.org

Claude Monet. <i>The Japanese Footbridge [Le Pont japonais].</i> c. 1920-22. Oil on canvas. 35 1/4 x 45 7/8" (89.5 x 116.3 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Grace Rainey Rogers Fund

Claude Monet. The Japanese Footbridge. c. 1920-22. Oil on canvas. 35 1/4 x 45 7/8" (89.5 x 116.3 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Grace Rainey Rogers Fund. http://www.moma.org

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Monthly Theme: Nature

Weekly Content: French Art of the 19th and early 20th Centuries

Daily Subject: Art History

"Young Woman Seated on a Sofa," ca. 1879 Berthe Morisot (French, 1841–1895) Oil on canvas 31 3/4 x 39 1/4 in. Partial and Promised Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Dillon, 1992 http://www.metmuseum.com

For Baby…

No matter your baby’s stage of language development, there is plenty to work with in this painting. My son is still learning the parts of the face and body, so I may have him point out the woman’s arms, hair, eyes, etc. Although the woman is obviously the focus of this painting, other aspects, such as the hat, flowers, and sofa are also good vocabulary words to introduce or reinforce with baby. I was talking to a fellow mommy friend recently about her son climbing and jumping on the sofa. She was telling me how she constantly needs to stop what she’s doing and teach her toddler that the sofa is for sitting and not for standing and jumping. My son hasn’t started jumping on the sofa yet (fingers-crossed) but maybe having a conversation about how the woman is sitting on the sofa (or couch) wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

For Mommy…

I was lucky enough to be a part of a good friend’s wedding today. This painting reminds me of all the pictures the photographer took of our beautiful bride before she walked down the aisle. Just as every detail of a wedding is carefully planned out, I can only imagine the time and care Morisot took in placing her model for this painting.  Morisot’s choice to include flowers in the portrait adds a certain softness and freshness to the painting, highlighting the youth and beauty of the model. For most brides, flowers are an essential accessory. The beauty of a flower seems to symbolize the radiance of a bride on her wedding day. Morisot’s portrait demonstrates how we, as humans, are a beautiful part of nature.

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Sky Blue

Monthly Theme: Nature
Weekly Content: French Art of the 19th and early 20th Centuries
Daily Subject: Art History

"Cypresses," 1889, Vincent Van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890), oil on canvas, 36 3/4 x 29 1/8 in., Rogers Fund, http://www.metmuseum.org

For Baby…
Van Gogh’s paintings are full of bright colors. What an interesting way to introduce baby to the names of colors. Associating certain colors with parts of nature will help your baby remember their names. For example, you and baby can point out the green trees, the blue sky, and the white clouds.

For Mommy…
Even though Van Gogh is Dutch, I decided to include his work in this week’s study because his art was influenced by the French Impressionists. It wasn’t until Van Gogh moved to Paris in 1886 that his style as an artist really started to develop. It’s interesting to see, in a time before the internet, how artists were able to appreciate and assimilate the styles and techniques of different cultures. Many of the Impressionists were influenced by Japanese artwork.

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Monthly Theme: Nature
Weekly Content: French Art of the 19th and early 20th Centuries
Daily Subject: Art History

"Boating," 1874, Edouard Manet (French, 1832-1883), Oil on canvas, 38 1/4 x 51 1/4 in., H.O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H.O.Havemeyer, http://www.metmuseum.org

 

For Baby…

My little man has a fascination with boats. He loves taking walks to the river and watching the boats drive past. This painting is great for early vocabulary building because you can not only point out the boat and the water, you can make a study of the people. In an earlier post, I spoke about the importance of emphasizing beginning sounds of words. It is also important to emphasize ending sounds such as the /t/ sound in “hat” and “boat.” After you look at this painting with baby, you may want to sing the song “Row, Row, Row your Boat.” My son loves climbing on my lap and pretending to make the motions of rowing a boat while we sing this song.

For Mommy…

Manet traveled in the same circles as Monet and Renoir (take a peek at Manet’s painting of Monet painting,“Monet Painting on his Studio Boat”). Slightly older and more experienced, Manet may have actually planted the seed of Impressionism. Manet was one of the first to use the technique of short brush strokes. From what I remember from my college art classes, the popular technique of the day was to use layers of paint to convey texture and shadows. A very time consuming process, this required artists to wait for each layer of paint to dry before applying the next. It would also seem to be an expensive process considering the amount of paint needed for just one painting. In today’s world, we can all appreciate a man who wanted to save time and money! By using short brush strokes, Manet was able to apply all of the paint directly onto the canvas and have the option of completing a painting in one sitting. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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