School is getting underway this week, but the vast majority of American children will receive no art education at all this year. Their history classes will teach them about war and politics, not peace and art. It breaks my heart when young people have never heard of Rembrandt, Renoir or even Warhol. (We won’t even touch the subject of Mahatma Gandhi in this post. Maybe a later one except y’all don’t want me to get started on world history in schools).
So what’s a smart parent to do but supplement their child’s education. How? Even if you don’t live in New York or Paris, you can visit an art gallery with your children now and then. Most of them have little workshops occasionally for kids. There are myriads of after-school art classes to sign up for if you have some cash and are willing to drive them to class. But I’m here to point out that there’s a simpler way to supplement on a daily basis, without paint fees, registration deadlines, and carpools across town. And you can probably get one for about $7, maybe $12.
I’m talking about an art book, preferably a large one with big photos. Here’s a video of a few sample pages from my art book which we keep on the hearth and turn the page once a week.
This book is almost 18 inches tall, 14 inches wide. It features at least one full-page image of each featured work, sometimes the images cover an entire two or four-page spread. And it takes us from the “Mask of Tutankhamun” through Henry Moore’s “Reclining Mother and Child” (1975). It isn’t perfect. I mean, there’s another 37 years of art after that, but hey, it’s a good start. The book is called Masterpieces of Art: From Ancient Times to the Present by Lucia Gasparini and Sarina Marabelli. I consider it a launching point.
If a member of the family expresses an interest in a work from the big book, we can check out a book on that artist from the library. I even ask my boys to do a report on an artist every now and then, preferably someone not in the book. And just as important, I find myself wanting to learn more about the artists, the art movements and the tidbits of history strung through the text.
And to think I bought this book as a “value” title at Hastings. With my employee discount, I paid about $7. At this time on Amazon, you can buy a used copy for under $12. Amazing.