The Tate Modern will be opening a comprehensive retrospect of Modigliani's work on November 27th, (one of my favorite places to visit) and Artsy is looking to highlight the opening while also highlighting was a great source of educational material it offers on it's website.
I personally love Artsy.net. Not only when I'm looking for comprehensive information on an artist like Modigliani but the site has also been a great resource in introducing me to an array of historical and contemporary artist to introduce to the children at my studio.
Not going to lie, it is one of the first emails I open in my inbox over coffee in the morning.
I have introduced Amedeo Modigliani in the past, once creating Modigliani inspired princesses and also Modigliani inspired self portraits.
It's been a long time since I explored this artist with children and so I was quite excited to bring him to the attention of the Kindergarten through Grade 3 afterschool class.
We spent some time debriefing his art. The children were quick to point out how long the necks were and that sometimes the eyes were left blank or even colored in.
Amedeo Modigliani. Woman with Red Hair, 1917
Amedeo Modigliani. Chaim Soutine, 1917
Amedeo Modigliani. Girl in a Green Blouse, 1917
I found all the artwork reference at Artsy.net and since I had a class of boys and girls found some subject matter of both.
As a group we went over the basic "rules" of the face and then looked at how Modigliani broke the rules. Kids love a rebel and they were quick to embrace the artwork of Modigliani.
I then brought out the mirrors and began to have the children study their own facial features. I love doing this with children as it is such a great opportunity to bolster their self confidence in complimenting each of their unique features that make them, well, them.
How the lines of their eyes and eyelids are each unique, along with the shapes of their face, the fullness of their lips, and the tips of their noses. They giggle as I take a moment to talk about how wonderful each of their own unique features are and at the same time there is great satisfaction for me as I watch each of them quietly begin to sit up a little taller as they proudly acknowledge their own interesting traits that make them special.
As they were looking at themselves, they began to use black oil pastel on grey paper to record what they saw in the mirror. They also channeled their inner "rebel" inspired by Modigliani's work and exaggerated whatever features they felt inclined to enhance.
Once finished I then handed out chalk pastels for them to use for coloring.
I encouraged them to create colors as unique as they are by blending two colors together. This bright and sunny artwork truly captures the sunny disposition of the child who created it. Along with the serious gaze I have seen more than once as she listens intently in class as I share artist and techniques with her.
This little boy is a sponge. He not only listens intently to what is said in the studio, he keeps it stored away and brings it back out at the most unexpected times. Here he has not only processed what we talked about with Modigliani's art but also brought back information from a prior project studying the Fauves using color to evoke emotion. He is a very calm and laid back child and creating his self portrait using greens certainly captures his personality.
The collar! This young girl really focused on getting it just right, along with the right shade of pink. And please note her placement of light source!! Done all on her own no less. This art teacher was duly impressed as it also extends to how she added white to the green in the background, heavier on the light source side. A choice she made after asking me what the complimentary color would be to the pink and red she chose in her shirt.
May I remind you she is grade one!
These children really enjoyed looking at Amedeo Modigliani. And I am grateful for the email Artsy.net sent me as a gentle reminder of what a great project his artwork is for inspiration with young children. Now I just need to convince my husband we need to make a quick trip across the pond to London before the retrospect closes in April......