Monday, January 7, 2013

Me and Magritte [an Art Project]


The art movement of surrealism can be tough for adults to understand (what's with those melting clocks anyway?). Kids are much more open-minded. To expose my son to the art of Rene Magritte, we read a few great books and then made our own Magritte-esque masterpiece.

Since my son is only seven years old, I let our artist study be self-guided, and didn't try to overwhelm him with a grown-up definition of surrealism. A few great authors brought the movement to life, and helped my son observe the oddities of this art movement.


Dinner at Magritte's is a wonderful story that any child can relate to. Young Pierre is bored so he visits the neighbor's house. He's invited in by the Magrittes and asked to share dinner there with another painter, Salvador Dali. The illustrations in this book imitate the art; my son loved discovering all of the oddities.

The other piece of children's fiction that we read, Magritte's Marvelous Hat, tells the tale of the painter (depicted as a loveable dog) whose new hat unlocks his imagination and gets his creativity flowing. Some of the book is see-through pages, which add to the enjoyment of the story.

When we were done reading, I grabbed a photograph that I'd snapped of my son.



I told him it was time to make a personalized version of one of Magritte's paintings (click hereto see the one we mimicked). This is a great activity to talk about positive and negative space.


Once my son's body was carefully cut out of the picture, we glued the empty silhouette to the right side of a piece of cloud-printed scrapbooking paper. To the left of it, we glued his body.



The result is just as curious as the original painting! 

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