Wanna talk art history with your kids? Then ballerinas and race horses are a good place to start, right? Edgar Degas has lots to offer in terms of work that is kid friendly and sure to spur a conversation.
Everything you need is right here for an entire lesson Degas lesson. Read some books, look at his art work, write, and talk. Maybe your kiddo will even be inspired to make some work of their own.
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Books, the easy way to teach….
I use books to teach anything and everything. You don’t know something order up a book from the library and in three days you can know it. Magic, right?
Art history is no different. Even if you are not a master of a subject you can teach your kids through the books on this list and you will learn right beside them. (Check out this list of books about different artists!)
Try it. Your kids will love knowing you are learning together.
Copyist, is that thing…
Degas started his art career as a copyist at the Louvre. Don’t we usually tell kids that copying the work of others is bad? What can a student learn from copying the work of others? Can an artist learn technique by copying the greats? Is it possible to be inspired by another artists artwork without “copying” their idea?
Impressionist or Realist…
Degas is often considered an Impressionist although he considered himself a Realist. I kind of like this play on labels because it is typical of the human experience. Kids will get this. Although people may see us one thing we may view ourselves differently.
He rejected classical subject matters and painted everyday life. Despite criticism of his low class subject matter he continued to paint it anyway.
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Over half of Degas’ body of work consists of dancers. His paintings of ballerinas sold well and he was financially responsible for his family. This might spark conversation about different careers artists have today. Being an artist can be a career, not just a hobby.
The other thing to note about Degas’ dancers is that they were usually captured at rest, inattentive, and from an unusual angle. These unimposing positions weren’t your typical posed “portrait.” Why might Degas have chosen a typical subject yet painted them in such a non traditional way?
Talk about it.
I threw this little word search in just for fun. You can grab it in my Resource Library too! Just subscribe to my mailing list and I’ll hook you up!
Where to look for great art….
Whether you’re a mom or a teacher (or both, like me) scrambling to throw together resources to teach with can be time consuming and daunting. Beyond children’s books here are a couple of sources I use to teach about any artist!
Local art centers and museums often have prints and other materials available for educators to borrow. Our local art center has “portfolios” of artists work that can be checked out by educators…for free! It’s worth a couple of phone calls to see what’s out there!
The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. provides digital access to a large body of “open access” work. This means there is a large body of work that is no longer under copyright and is available free of charge for download and use. The NGA can be a huge resource for educators looking for ways to expose their kiddos to great work!
Print and share these Edgar Degas printables. They are free for you to use in your home or classroom!
Wanna talk about an artist but I haven’t covered that artist yet in my talking and writing about art series?
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