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Archive for the ‘French Art’ Category

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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“Le Grenouillere,” 1869, Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926), oil on canvas, 29 3/8 x 39 1/4 in., H.O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer, http://www.metmuseum.org

For Baby…

Monet’s painting, “Le Grenouillere,” truly tells a story. Baby will enjoy looking at the water and the trees but will also be interested in the people gallivanting about. This scene reminds me of The Boathouse in Central Park. Of course we are talking about a different time and place, but there is a similarity in that peaceful feeling of people gathering together on a calm body of water. Tell baby a story to go with this painting. Maybe it’s about the boys jumping in the water off the dock or maybe it’s about the boats floating away.

For Mommy…

Yesterday’s post about glittering water reminded me of another painting from my childhood. My mother had a small postcard copy of a boating scene that I remembered exactly as the painting shown above. I was always fascinated by the way the water almost seemed to have an oil-like quality. I guess it was from my own memories of hanging over the side of my father’s boat, running my hand through the black water.  I had always thought the painting was by another French artist, Auguste Renoir. Of course, once I came across Monet’s work, I convinced myself otherwise. After a bit of research, however, I found Renoir’s painting shown below. I guess I wasn’t going crazy!!  It’s amazing how these two artists must have had such a profound influence on one another, studying the same technique using the same view of the same scene. It must have been only natural that they compared their work. I feel we are often tempted to draw parallels in our own lives.  But, as my grandmother once said, “You can never compare two lives.” Our lives are woven with so many different, complex layers, that it is really impossible to compare them.  How can we strive to celebrate the values and commonalities that tie us together at the same time as learning from and appreciating our differences?

Picture: La Grenouillère by Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French 1841-1919). La Grenouillère, 1869. Oil on canvas. 26 1/8 x 32 7/8 in. (66.5 x 81 cm). NM 2425. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm. © The National Art Museums of Sweden, http://www.nationalmuseum.se


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Monthly Theme: Nature

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

Daily Subject: Art History

To kick off our monthly theme of “Nature,” we will begin with a week devoted to Impressionism. Claude Monet, known as the leader of the Impressionist movement, focused much of his artwork on the study of nature.

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

For Baby…

I can remember my mother hanging a copy of one of Monet’s water lily paintings in my living room growing up. I think it may have even been this exact painting (although this is from a series of 18 similar paintings). I loved looking up at the pretty green and pink colors and imagining taking a stroll over the bridge. When I looked at this painting with my son, he pointed out the “flowers.” My son has never had the experience of walking over a bridge, so I introduced this new vocabulary word and explained the definition in very simple language. I think he understood because he pointed out the “wawa” under the bridge. 

For Mommy…

There is nothing more beautiful than watching the light of the sun’s rays glitter down over a body of water. The light of the sun seems to dance across the water. The swift strokes characteristic of Impressionist art strive to capture the beauty of the movement of light. When I look at Monet’s painting, I can almost feel a breeze moving across the water, slightly shifting the water lilies and rustling the trees. This idea of representing movement or the passage of time in a still image reminds me of how our own lives are in constant motion. As much as we would want to remain still, time continues to pass on. I’m thinking of Monet observing this scene. From the time the painting is started until the time it is completed, he must have observed so many changes. It seems that Monet sees the beauty not only in the water and the lilies themselves, but in the changes that happen to the water and lilies. How can we as parents appreciate the constant changes that happen in our own lives and in our children’s lives without clinging to the past or rushing into the future?


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