Art History: Grade 1 Lesson 6
CHILDREN IN ART - Artists learn from Children
- The Juggler, 1943 Marc Chagall,
Russian (1877-1985), , Reproduction print.
|a) Children's art
- WASH DAY, Philippines, age 8
b) Children's art
- Yellow Elephant
c) Children's art
- Smiling Sun
d) Children's art
- Space scene
|The son of a poor Jewish fish merchant, Chagall was born
in a small city in Russia . Life in the Jewish ghetto was a
major influence on him. Distressed by the growing political
unrest in Europe, Chagall moved tot he United States in
1941. He was interested in all media - illustrating books,
designing stained glass windows, making ceramics, etchings
and even huge murals like the one at the Opera House at
Lincoln Center in New York City.|
"Our whole inner
world is reality," he said. "Perhaps even more real
than the apparent world." It is this thinking which
brings a child-like quality to his work.
world springs from Jewish and Russian folk tales, from the
Bible and the customs of his native Russian town (Vitebsk,
Love, death and suffering were his
reccuring themes. The dream and the reality become one; the
miracle becomes truth and the world becomes a happy place.
In the Juggler we seem to be partly at a circus and
partly in a small Russian village. There is music from a
fiddler and a girl dancing high on a trapeze. A horse
becomes a woman and the juggler, with his x-rayed
high-kicking legs, becomes a bird.
We are not at all
sure what this means, but it is unexpected and gay. Chagall
knew how to use colour to let us enjoy his fantasy.
Qualities which Chagall's painting shares with small
1. His bright colours.
2. His lack of perspective.
3. He tells a story which is a mix of fantasy and reality.
"If ever a man painted for himself alone, Chagall does. His
typical painting is a private reveri that he makes no effort
to explain, yet thousands of reproductions of his work are
sold around the world. It may be that the world being to much
with us these days we are especially glad to be taken out of
it for a while and that artists, for the same reason, find
satisfaction in leaving this world for excusrsions into worlds
of their own invention."
Canady, John, What is Art?,
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1980 pp.337 and 338.
Chagall has captured many ideas both in reality and from
hisinner self and expressed them on one canvas. Children often
draw from their thoughts and ideas and jumble them on one canvas
too. Who says that art has to be any other way?
Many of you have picked up a box of crayons or a set of flair
pens and created a picture showing a mixture of many images.
Sometimes you might draw a picture of what is happening, and mix
it with what has happened and what would be fun if it did
happen. You like to use many shapes and colours when you draw or
paint. Sometimes you might like to explain your pictures to
people and sometimes you just paint or draw pictures for
- Mural, Jackson Pollock, American
(1912-1956) William S. Rubin Collection, New York Reproduction print.
|a) Children's art
- Green pastel painting
b) Children's art
- Jungle - scratch board
|Jackson Pollock once said, "It seems to me that
the modern painter cannot express this age, the airplane, the
atom, the radio, in the old forms of the Renaissance or of any
past culture. Every age finds its own technique." But, like
other great innovators in art, Pollock absorbed the inventions
of earlier artists and then made his own unique contributions.
He invented the 'drip technique' using a stick dipped in
auto paint to 'pour' a picture onto a huge canvas spread on the
floor. It created a picture with living dynamic lines. He
developed spacescapes - space without beginning or end, with no
up or down, full of energy. he painted rhythmns, perhaps of the
tides or of our hearts. He painted our fears and our joys. He
painted the new regions discovered in our time - man's
unconscious and the world of the atom and of space.
you spread a paper on the floor and give a very small child a
paint brush and paint, he will often unconsciously paint in a
similar manner. In the sensual enjoyment of the paint, the
child's full body is used to paint a web of rhythmic lines - or
paint forms on top of paint forms. Often the edges of the paper
are ignored. There are no ups or downs; the child moves around
the paper. Just as Pollock sometimes cuts up the huge canvas, so
the child's painting could be cut.
The child does not
think about his work, but Pollock had to carefully think and
plan in order to acheive what looks like free movement. Notice
the thin black and white lines - the black thickens only where
Pollock wanted a strong beat or emphasis. Find repeating lines.
Notice the red and yellow - carefully placed to draw the eye
into the picture.
Children like the feeling of creating
and watching paint drip or splash. Here is a work made by a
child who was fascinated with the marks made by a crayon used on
its side. This child sat for a long time making one picture
after another using the same method. There is a rhythm to the
marks but it is not planned as Pollock's work was. It is more
flowing and free. The crayon work even seems like it was done in
motion, without removing the crayon from the paper.
Notice how Pollock dripped paint right off the edge of the
canvas. Children sometimes do that with their paint as well.
- Lyric (Man on a Horse), Wassily
(1866-1944), The Boymens Museum, Rotterdam, reproduction
Kandinsky was very
interested in folklore and legends which express essential
spiritual truths about man. The symbol of the horeseman may be
from the Bible's apocalypse. Besides the symbol, the colors too
were assigned specific religious and emotional meaning.
His art rejects the material universe, thus he thought that art
should not be a mere representation of nature. Instead his art
aspired to some heavenly or utopian existence elsewhere. he
wanted to reproduce some inner emotion.
Through the use
of the forms - the horseman etc. (He later used Pure form
introducing Abstract art.), the bright colors and the movement
of the lines, Kandinsky acheived what small children
Kandinsky has added many bright
colors and shapes to his painting, but you really can feel the
rush of the horse as you gaze at his work.
art - Skater. This is a drawing done by a small child. Do you
see the lines that give you a feeling of motion? It is the
figure skating on the ice. Can you hear the blades of the skates
scraping the ice? This picture is made with strong lines to show
motion just as Kandinsky has shown us motion in his painting.
b) Children's art - Children Playing Ball.
- Senecio, Head of a Man, 1922, Paul
Klee, Swiss (1879-1940), clay, Kuntsmuseum, Basel Reproduction print.
Paul Klee translated into visual images the
phantoms and strange visions that appear in our dreams and
nightmares. The wild energies of our unconscious were his
subjects and deserved to be painted as well as portraits or
His work resembled that of children because he admired their
spontaneity. Klee was fascinated by what man might be rather
than what he is. He peopled his paintings with whimsical
creatures and spirits of the earth, sea and air. As with
children, the process of becoming was more important to him than
the final form of things. But he always insisted that we dream
our own fairytales into existence, that his paintings were only
the start of a journey into ourselves where there are wonders
beyond our wildest imaginings.
painted with bright, warm, happy colors. Note: the pink cheeks
and geometric divisions of his face - bright red eyes - hint of
a mouth. Are the black rectangles at the bottom of the nose
a) Children's art Geometric form with Face
b) Children's art Figure on lined paper
Children often use shapes to draw or paint figures too. Here are two crayon drawings of figures made from shapes. Note triangles, rectangles and circles. Also the colors are warm and bright. There are pink cheeks, round blue eyes and hats to point out.
These pictures by children
are very simple crayon drawings and much like things you might
draw. Whenever you sit down and begin working, remember that
older people love your ability to create and that some artists
work their whole lives to paint and draw and express themselves
as simply as you do.
- The Children of Sylvanus and Rebecca Bourne
c.1803, Carolus Delin, Flemish (c.1780-1820), Heritage Plantation of
Sandwich Collection, reproduction
|Delin was probably a portrait
painter who originally worked at the end of the 18th century in
Holland. In America he is best known for his portraits of sea
captains done between 1783 and 1810. Sylvanus Bourne was
probably the American representative at the Hague at the time
that this portrait of his sons was painted. Do you think the boy
artist was imitating the artist who was painting his portrait?
Who actually painted the small picture of the blond brother? Did
Delin paint it as he saw the picture or as he imagined it should
a) Children's art
- Smiling Family
|Tape: selections of music|
stated, "Originality is simply a fresh pair of eyes."In their
attempt to be original, many modern artists have looked to the fresh eyes
of children. They have tried to see and paint like children in order to
find what is most essential in themselves.
In their efforts to rid themselves of the bourgeois art which they
regarded as a symptom of a crumbling cultue, a group of men began a
movement they called DADA. The name DADA is a child's word for hobbyhorse
and it was picked because it was a child's first sound and expressed the
primitiveness, the beginning at zero, the new in their art. DADA was not
an art movement, but its state of mind has influenced much of modern art.
Although from different countries and different art movements, the
artists represented in these prints were exploring ancient myths and
symbols. There is a suspension of the conscious mind to release
subconscious images. These images are expressions of basic human emotions
and the process of expressing is important to the individual artist.
We are going to look at some art done by people who have expressed
themselves in a child-like manner and see some of the similarities between
their work and the art of children, unconscious, uninhibited and original.