Monday, January 11, 2010

Don’t know much about… ART

Pretty much zip, actually.   Ted’s taken all kinds of art history and whatnot, but moi… none.  Which makes art a scary thing to have to share with my children.  Baking, yes.  Math, yes.  Geography, yes.  Art – nope!  (also history – shudder)

So when I found this book about Chagall in Value Village yesterday, I picked it up with curiosity:artbook 003artbook 004

99 cents!  What a bargain!

This book is part of a series published in the 60s, 70s and 80s (several editions) of books on art for children by an artist named Ernest Raboff.

The book features full-colour reproductions of several Chagall paintings, along with extremely appealing hand-written text by Raboff on the facing page.  Interspersed by snippets of sketches, the text explains Chagall’s use of colour, texture, symbolism, etc., in a way that’s easily understood by a five-t0-twelve-year-old, and consequently, even me.

artbook 001 artbook 002   artbook 005

Well, needless to say, me being me, I was so excited by this book that I had to go and buy six more, online:  Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Renoir, Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Picasso.  Not exactly $1 apiece, but not more than I would expect to pay for kids’ books.  (just over $30 for all 6, which, with the $1 Value Village book added in, will make around $35 for a set of 7, or $5 apiece)

Other books in the series include Klee, Gauguin (probably for the best with all those bikini women), Raphael, Remington, Dürer, Rousseau, Toulouse-Lautrec, and somebody called Diego Rodriguez De Silva Y Velasquez.  I wish there was one for Degas; though I know next to nothing about art, he is my favourite.  One simply must have a favourite, even in a field where one is toally ignorant.

It seems like these books are totally out of print, though Amazon claims to have a few new copies.  Pity.  If you can find them online, I highly recommend them for homeschoolers or any-schoolers who want a gentle introduction to Europe’s great art history.  Oooh, there’s that word again:  history.  Shudder.

My history phobia…. another nut to crack, for another day.