Art is a creative representation of the world we live in and one that comes forth from imagination. The Renaissance inspired realism and human emotion in art, while the romantic movement was a revolt against scientific rationalism.
Abstract expressionism may look like chaos to some, but to the artist, is a flawless illustration of how they see the world. In every stroke, there is a story; it may be a sad tale, or one filled with passion, but it is a profound one, nonetheless. Just as we would teach our children to read a book, we can also teach them to interpret art. This not only expands their imaginations, but their minds as well.
Taking a child to an art museum can be a frustrating experience for both parents and children alike. They are told not to touch, not to run and to keep their voices at a low level. Children need stimulation, so for many, a day at a museum can be tedious. A fun way to peak their interest is to search for family likenesses. Have them get up close to the paintings or sculptures and choose which ones look like members of their family. This encourages children to look past the initial glance and deeper into the work of art. Strike up a conversation regarding the time, the setting and what they believe the artist was thinking or feeling at the time the painting was created.
Have your child choose which works of art are their favourite. Ask them what they like most about a particular piece. Are they attracted to the colour, the subject, or do they like the way the artist used the brushstrokes? Ask them what story they think the artist is trying to tell by depicting this scene on canvas. Does it evoke a sense of happiness or confusion, or does it frighten or amuse them? Have your child invent a story of their own that goes with the image they are studying.
Many museums now have designated areas that cater to children under twelve. These areas can incorporate arts and crafts or interactive experiences to fascinate children and give them a hands on encounter. In these areas, children can be a bit more liberated. They can have fun with the art and express their creativity freely.
When you get home, research some of the artists your child favored the most. Together, learn about the time they lived in and what life was like for them. This is a great way for a child to learn about an artist, as well as a particular era. Once a child learns there is so much more to art than just looking at a pretty picture, you will open up and create a new interest by inviting them to look at their own world in a different way.
Have your child choose one piece of art that inspired or excited them on their trip to the museum. Since every artist’s interpretation of how they see the world is different, let your child create their own version of the subject depicted by the artist. Let them freely use their imagination; have them be as silly or as serious as they want and use any medium they feel best represents what they are trying to portray.