Masterpieces for Kids: July 2019

Musee d’Orsay in Paris

This is the 3rd part of a yearlong series of great artworks to share with your kids.  Each month I share information about 3 great masterpieces to share with your children.  My goal of these posts is to create a parent-friendly resource to share great masterpieces with your child. I’ve decided on this monthly series because I totally missed sharing the beauty of art with my own children. Better late than never, I guess.

Each post contains a photo of the artwork, the artist’s name, an interesting fact about the artwork and a link to explore more information.  Last month’s post (May 2019) I shared 3 masterpieces: Mona Lisa (Leonardo da Vinci), The Starry Night (Vincent Van Gogh) and Oriental Poppies (Georgia O’Keeffe).  This month, we’ll look at: The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, Four Freedoms by Norman Rockwell and American Gothic by Grant Wood.

This month we are going to look at some French masterpieces: Water Lilies by Claude Monet, Irises by Vincent van Gogh and The Skiff by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Masterpieces from the French

Water Lilies (1906) by Claude Monet

Remember: You don’t have to “know” art. Just sit for a few minutes with your child, share the information listed and together talk about what you see. Enjoy!

Claude Monet was a French painter born in 1840.  He used oil paints and loved to paint outside scenes. He was the founder of the impressionist movement. An impressionist paints impression of what they see, even though it’s not complete. Monet was famous for painting in series which was to paint the scenes at different times of the day and in different weather.

Water Lilies was one of the last paintings that Monet did towards the end of his life.  It was a series of huge paintings of a pond at different times of the day and in different weather conditions.  When he put all the panels together the painting was over 6ft. tall and almost 300 feet long. Monet is one of the greatest French artists of all time.  He died in 1926.

Irises (1890) by Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh was born in the Netherlands in 1853. He painted many oil paintings and watercolors and is one of the greatest artists of all time He is a post-impressionist because his style was like the impressionists’ style, but he started painting in that style AFTER the impressionist style began. In addition to outside street scenes he also started to paint portraits of people.

In 1889, van Gogh was very unhappy.  He went into a hospital because he needed help taking care of himself.  At one time he cut off his ear and sent it to his girlfriend to show her how much he loved her.  He then painted a picture of himself (self-portrait) by looking in the mirror.  The painting included a bandage where his ear had been, but it was on the wrong side because of the reversed image in the mirror. 

 The “Irises” is one of the most expensive pieces of artwork ever sold.  The painting is of the flowers Renoir saw outside his hospital room. It was his last painting before he died in 1890. The painting is now in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California.  

The Skiff (1879) by Pierre-August Renoir

The painting above is called The Skiff The exact setting of the painting is not known but it is probably the River Seine since Renoir painted many boating scenes on the Seine.

Renoir was a French impressionist painter. He was born in 1841. Along with Monet, he founded the Impressionist Movement.  He too painted with oil and liked to paint figures, landscapes and scenery.  He used lots of bright colors and the subjects of his paintings were happy. He died in 1919.  The Skiff hangs in the national Gallery in London, England.

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