When I was teaching second grade Art one of the parents asked if we ever talked about art appreciation. That’s a good idea I thought and so we made an art history book. I gathered postcards of famous works of art and dealt them out to the kids, face down. I then asked them to draw the work and write an essay about it.
Some suggestions for the essay were; first, name the artist and the work. Then, what do you think the artist was thinking about? What does this piece of art make you think about, or how does it make you feel? And, What would it be like if you were in this picture?
The results were fabulous and sometimes hilarious. The artist who wrote about The birth of Adam from the Sistine Chapel said; “You can tell which one is God because he’s the only one with clothes on.”
The student who chose the Portrait of Princess Alberte de Broglie was, happily, a girl. when she turned over the card her eyes popped, and she wrote in her essay; “If I were in this picture I’d be a princess and I’d have a new dress every day.” She is now an adult and I’m sure her ambitions and her achievements have far surpassed her early dreams. But it is a great dress.