Happy New Year!!!! I wish you all a fantastic start to 2015! May all your hopes for the New Year come true.
We have a fabulous series for you this January – a series we first started last year – entitled 31 Days of Love. It is a way, not only to bring you some fantastic Valentine’s Day Activities for you and the kids, but also to celebrate the blogging community that I am a part of. 40 (we aimed for 31, but ended up extending to 40) of my co-bloggers, share a post each day about Love with you this month. There will be Valentine’s Day Cards, Valentine’s Day Decorations, Valentine’s Day Treats or Valentine’s Day Gifts for you check out and enjoy!
Cindy Ingram was once an art teacher and museum educator and is now a work at home mom of two lovely daughters (ages 2 and 5). She is passionate about the power of art in people’s lives and writes about how to teach art appreciation and enjoy art history with kids of all ages at the Art Curator for Kids.
Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and what better way to celebrate love than to see how artists throughout art history have captured the emotions and complexity of love. Art can capture what words can’t, so I have curated for you a group of 5 of my favorite artworks from art history that capture love.
To help you share these artworks with your kids, I have provided a little bit of information about the artwork as well as some looking questions to help guide your conversation. For tips on how to look at these artworks with your kids, I have lots of suggestions on how to talk about art with your kids in the links at the bottom of this post.
- Auguste Rodin, The Cathedral, 1908
Photo Credit: Yair Haklai
Auguste Rodin is a masterful sculptor from the late 19th and early 20th century. You probably know him from his famous sculpture, The Thinker! Rodin has an amazing gift at capturing human emotion and vulnerability. This artwork is so simple, but the delicacy of the hands and position mixed with the symbolism from the title make this artwork simply moving.
Looking Questions: What is going on in this sculpture? What emotions are present in this artwork? What choices did the artist make to capture these emotions? How can the position of your hand capture different feelings?
Extension Activity: Practice conveying different emotions with your hands. Try drawing your hands in different positions to convey different feelings.
- Käthe Kollwitz, The Mothers, 1919
Another artist who is incredibly skilled at capturing human emotion is Käthe Kollwitz, a German Expressionist artist. Her artworks include humble and expressive scenes from all of the different stages of life. I especially like her pictures of mothers. She captures the exhaustion, the hard work, the protective instinct, and above all else the love the mothers have for their kids.
Looking Questions: What’s going on in this artwork? Who are these people? What can you tell about them from the artwork? What emotions are present in this artwork? What choices did the artist make to capture that emotion? How does the absence of color contribute to the mood of the artwork?
- Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, 1907-08
Of course I had to include The Kiss! This artwork is extremely famous for a reason. The pose and emotion on the faces of the figures, the luminous colors, and the intricate and colorful patterns capture people’s imaginations and the spirit of love and romance. The focus is on the main couple, but I love the brilliant textured background. To me, it looks like the endless night sky that symbolizes the eternity of love. I’m cheesy like that. This painting is beautiful.
- Indian, Shiva and Parvati, 13th-Century C.E.
This is such a lovely sculpture of Hindu deities and married couple Shiva and Parvati. They sit in a loving and calm embrace gazing tenderly into each other’s eyes as if completely unaware of the chaotic swirl of activity around them. Shiva is one of the primary Hindu gods and is responsible for the destruction and reincarnation of the universe. His wife, Parvati, is the mother goddess of love and devotion. Their son is the elephant-headed boy, Ganesha. Can you find him in this sculpture?
Looking Questions: What is going on in this sculpture? What emotions are present in this sculpture? How many figures are in this sculpture? What actions are the figures doing? What symbols can you find? What is the relationship between Shiva and Parvati? Describe the lines and forms in this sculpture.
- Marc Chagall, The Promenade, 1918
It was so hard to choose just one Chagall painting for the theme of love. His paintings ooze love and joy, and kids love Marc Chagall! I love this one because it captures the happiness that love brings. The man is smiling like it is the best day of his life, and the woman is so light with love that she floats. The picnicking couple encapsulate the young love we all either remember or dream of one day experiencing.
Looking Questions: What is going on in this painting? What is real about this painting? What is dreamlike? What emotions are depicted in this painting? Describe the lines, shapes, and colors and how they contribute to the overall feeling of the painting.
Extension Activity: See the related links at the bottom of this post for a link to an art project based on the work of Marc Chagall.
For more tips on exploring important works of art with your kids, check out these posts:
And new on the blog today – a round up of last year’s Valentine’s Day Card ideas? 14 in total – one of each Valentine’s “Day”….
Full listing of 31 Days of Love posts here!