Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winter Lesson: Marc Chagall

Please read the lesson to the class, and show the corresponding pictures using the document projector in each classroom.  Thanks!  Have fun learning along with the kids about a great artist!

Marc Chagall Lesson Plan
Grades K-5

Hello! I'm glad to be here today for Art-in-a-Box. We are going to learn about the painter, Marc Chagall. First we will look at some of his art, then we will make some of our own.

Over the Village
Marc Chagall painted colorful pictures from his imagination. His paintings often look like a dream world because he painted people floating through the air. Here is a painting of him and his wife Bella flying over a village. Have you ever had a dream that you were flying?

Paris Through the Window
This is one of his most famous paintings, called Paris Through the Window. You can see the imaginative and colorful way he painted the world he saw. There is a man falling down from a triangle parachute in the sky and a cat with a human-like face. Do you see the train that is turned upside down?
I and the Village
He often painted houses and people upside down. This painting is called I and the Village. There is a peasant coming back from the field, a woman standing on her head and a few houses turned upside down. Can you see the woman milking the cow? He placed things wherever he wanted to on the canvas, sometimes putting something inside of or on top of something else.
The Fiddler
Surrealism is art that looks like a fantasy or dream. Some people think Marc Chagall's paintings are surrealistic, but he did not think of his paintings as fantasies. The things he painted were real memories of his life arranged in creative ways. One of his favorite memories was of the violinists that played music in the Russian village where he was from. In this painting, a green fiddler sits above the snowy village and a person soars high into the sky.

Russian Wedding
His family and village in Russia were very important to him. Even after he grew up and moved away he painted the people and places he remembered from his childhood. This is a painting of a Russian wedding. Do you see the violinist that played in the celebration? What else do you see in this picture?

Over Vitebsk (vē-tepsk)
Many of Marc Chagall's paintings represent the symbols and stories of his Jewish heritage and culture. He painted people, places and things that were important to him, but he didn't like to talk about his paintings or say what they meant. Here we see an old man with a sack on his back and a cane in his hand, wandering through the sky over the city. Can you think of a story he might be telling?

Self-Portrait (with Seven Fingers)
When Marc Chagall was a young man he moved to Paris, France to work on his art. He loved the bright colors of the city, and chose to live most of his life in France. Here we can see that he is thinking of his village in Russia but the Eiffel tower of Paris is out the window. Do you notice anything unusual in this painting?

Bonjour Paris
Some of the first people to appreciate his art were poets. They thought of him as a poet-painter because his paintings reminded them of poetry. In this painting called Bonjour Paris, the Eiffel Tower has a human face and there is a giant rooster in the sky under the moon. Do the colors or things in this painting remind you of a poem or a dream?

The Juggler
Do you think this is a bird or a human? This painting is called The Juggler, and it is filled with his memories of the circus. He loved to go to the Paris circus with his wife Bella and their daughter Ida. Do you see the woman on the trapeze? He painted many pictures of acrobats, clowns and horses in colorful costumes and impossible poses.

Around Her
Not all of his memories or paintings were happy. Marc Chagall lived through difficult times of war, when he had to leave his home to find safety in the United States. Painting was a way that he could express both happiness and sadness. Painting is like telling a story without using words. Do you think painting helped him feel better?
The Dance
While Marc Chagall was in America, he was invited to make the costumes and decorate the stage for the Ballet Theater of New York. He worked with the musicians and dancers to create colorful scenes and costumes that expressed the feeling of the music and dance. Audiences were inspired by his large, colorful paintings, and his work for the ballet and theater was a success.
 Jerusalem Windows
Marc Chagall was a painter, but some of his largest and most colorful works of art are windows of stained glass. He didn't learn the craft of stained glass until he was seventy year old, but he was always interested in learning new ways to share his art with people. The beautiful windows look like jewels when light passes through them, and are special for their color, shapes and messages of peace. What animals do you see in this window?

Child with Dove
Marc Chagall lived to be nearly 100 years old. There were many changes in his life, but he was always an artist. He painted, designed sets and costumes for the theater and ballet, illustrated books, and created beautiful stained glass windows. His art was colorful and imaginative, and filled with images and memories like a dream.

Project: Dreams and Memories 
inspired by Marc Chagall

Project:  Students tell the story of a memory or dream using colorful images and symbols

Project Goal: To encourage children to express thoughts, feelings, memories and ideas in a visual way.  To explore combining meaningful images in unexpected ways.

Key Concepts: 
-Students discover ways of visual communication and self-expression by telling a story through drawings
-Students develop an awareness of color, composition and space by discovering new and creative ways to arrange elements on a page
-Students gain vocabulary as they learn about the artist's background and techniques

Crayola water-soluble oil pastels
watercolor paper
plastic cups for water 
paper towels 
mounting paper, glue (for mounting), labels

Project Steps:
1. First, talk with the class about what makes Marc Chagall's art so unique and dream-like.  Some good things to say might be:
His paintings are colorful!
Things are turned upside down
People float through the air
Animals have human-like faces
Objects are on top of or inside of something else
He painted what he remembered
He painted the night sky, moons, flowers

2. Hand out the watercolor paper and the pastels. Ask the students to think of a special memory or dream they have had. Suggest that they can think about a birthday, a special person, a favorite toy, a trip they have taken, a dream they have had, etc.

3. Have the students draw something from that special memory or dream. After a few minutes, tell the students to turn the paper a quarter turn (demonstrate so they don't flip the paper over to the back side) and draw something from a different memory or dream. Continue in this way, turning the paper 4 times until they are back at the first drawing.

4. When they are starting to fill up most of the white area of the paper with color, hand out the water and paintbrushes. Tell students to use just a little bit of water (they can dry the paintbrushes on the paper towels if necessary) to blend the pastels.

5. When the students are done, make sure each drawing is signed. Glue the artwork to the mounting paper and place one of the Marc Chagall labels on the back of the painting. If possible, place the pictures on a drying rack overnight, then staple up to display. Thank you!

This project is inspired by a lesson by Stephanie Corder, from the website http://www.princetonol.com/groups/iad/lessons/elem/Stephanie-Chagall.htm

Resources and Recommended Reading

Though I have researched the subject of Marc Chagall thoroughly, and every effort has been made for accuracy, if you feel that information is in error, please contact me at sara at sitkacoast dot com

Benjamin Harshav, Marc Chagall and the Lost Jewish World.  New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications, 2006.

Howard Greenfeld, The Essential Marc Chagall. New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2002.

Jude Welton, Marc Chagall. Danbury, CT: Franklin Watts, 2003.

Marc Chagall, Life is a Dream. New York: Prestel, 1998.

Jacques Lassaigne, Marc Chagall, Drawings and water colors for The Ballet.  New York:  Tudor Publishing Co., 1969.


Artist at a Festival, 1982; Private Collection

Over the Village, 1914-1918;  Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Paris Through the Window, 1913; Guggenheim Museum, New York

I and the Village, 1911; Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Fiddler, 1912-1913; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Russian Wedding, 1909; Foundation G.G. Buhrle collection, Zurich

Over Vitebsk, 1915-1920; Museum of Modern Art, New York

Self Portrait (with seven fingers), 1913-1914;  Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Bonjour Paris, 1939-1942; Private Collection

The Juggler, 1943; Art Institute of Chicago
Around Her, 1945; Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

The Dance, 1942; Illustration for Aleko

Jerusalem Windows, Tribe of Reuben, 1960-1961; Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem

Child with Dove, 1977-1978; Private Collection

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